I accidentally had one of the best gigs I’ve had so far.
I got a message on facebook on Saturday asking me to post the reminder and line-up on the Pop-Up Comedy page for Malky, due to some connectivity issues he’s having, and with the offer that I could come down and do my new stuff from Tuesday (Gig 35) if I wanted. I stuck my name on the bill, figuring I could always bail if I didn’t feel up to it – I’d gone to a party at John McGovern’s on Friday night, planning to stay a couple of hours, but it ended up the pair of us were the Last Men Standing at 6.30am. I’d have continued drinking too, except it was my mum’s birthday party on the Saturday and I figured I should try and get a few hours sleep in before heading out to Hamilton to drunkenly help set the hall up. So it was fortuitous that I even saw the message, let alone had time to act on it and post the line-up.
The party went fine, I forewent a hair of the dog and didn’t drink, but after setting out the buffet and so on my hangover finally hit me about 10pm, so I’ve had better nights. My mum seemed to enjoy it though, which was the main thing. One of my friends from school has set up in business making cakes, so if you’re in Glasgow or Lanarkshire please look up Bakin Hot Cakes, check the pictures of her handiwork and place orders. Highly recommended and very tasty. Anyway, after a decent night’s sleep I felt more inclined to go and do some comedy on the Sunday.
Malky had specifically mentioned or “suggested” the material I should do, which makes up the opening half of my current set – I aired it for the first time on Tuesday. Since then, having been at two parties and chatted to many people, I have added to and extended the opening considerably. The second half of my set at the Halt was an anecdote which, frankly, I just couldn’t be bothered relating on Sunday. I realised this in advance. However, having related my anecdote about Kevin Bridges to a couple of folk since noting it in my previous blog, I decided to try it out on stage and see if it got any kind of reaction. Apart from the disdain that comes with dropping names.
Ross Main was compering, complete with his newly-acquired mohawk. That makes two of us, and Malky said if he’d realised we were going to be haircut twins he’d have shaved his in again too. I pointed out we’d have looked like some kind of Metal boy band, so maybe it was just as well he didn’t, but since Eddie Cassidy was talking of getting one done, and John McGovern has plans to get one done this week, maybe the Glasgow comedy scene is about to resemble Rammstein. I think there is definite mileage in creating a Scottish comedy version of Rammstein – we could call ourselves Jockstein, with reference to the legendary football manager. That’s my one and only football reference, but I think it’s a good one.
The Bier Halle is one of those unpredictable venues, which varies wildly between empty and hoaching. Tonight was pretty busy, and almost everyone was in for the comedy. The main thrust of the narrow pub is two long rows of tables which sit along the walls, with the mic positioned at the very end against a backdrop of curtains. Beyond these rows is the bar (on one side) and a series of booths on the other, which are set perpendicular to the other seats. Often, the people in the booths don’t pay any attention to the comedy and instead talk loudly enough to cause a distraction. But not tonight.
John McGovern was on, he’s an immensely likeable big guy and always brings down a massive posse of friends, acquaintances, and (tonight) family. So that accounted for 20 people, about half the audience, and then the other side was populated with acts, comedians, friends, and punters. My friend Marion made it along too, the first time she’s seen me properly, since the last time was in the Kelvingrove park the day of the royal wedding/riot, and while the experience was fun it was also extremely farcical. For one, the chances of my set being interrupted by four mounted police tonight were much slimmer. I have a blog about that gig on here, if you’re so inclined to read it. I’d link it, but then I get emails and “pingbacks” and it shows up as comments and shit and takes me so long to sort through and delete that I’m not going to. It’s probably four or five pages back from this, if you want to have a swatch.
Ross gave me the best introduction I’ve ever received, which referred to his nickname for me (Massive Cunt, delivered as nonchalantly as you like. I like this because it can be taken as either a physical description or as a reference to my attitude/demeanour); to our now-similar hairstyles; and to something I noticed online this week, when another comedian “tweeted” a joke similar to one of his. I pointed this out online, thinking such things mattered. I’ve since had it suggested by a third party that maybe they don’t. When Ross began telling this joke tonight he realised the girl he was directing it towards has heard it so often before (being a regular) that he invited her to cover it. She declined, but Malky volunteered. He got up, did Ross’s joke, handed the mic back, and Ross looked at me to register the in-joke as he said “That’s the second person to tell that joke this week.” Here is the introduction I was afforded:
Your next act is a massive cunt. He’s also the Joke Police. But he’s got my back, and I’ve got his haircut. Please welcome to the stage…
I again opened by saying “I hate people”, which got a laugh for the second time so I’m glad that seems to work for me. All my takes on language, its use and misappropriation were very well received – the delivery and indeed content have both changed since Tuesday, helped partly by conversations with friends since. I managed to sneak in my ad-lib from Tuesday which got a huge laugh, referring to my notes as I say “You think I’d know what I hate.” Talking to Marion afterwards, I called this my “Dean Park’s Wig” moment – we met working on pantomimes, and if you see Dean in panto playing a dame you will almost certainly witness a hilarious and (unbeknown to the audience) highly engineered “ad-lib” whereby his wig will “accidentally” come loose or fall off during some chaotic scene. If you are in the audience, you’ll see it once and laugh uproariously. If you are on the crew, as we were, you’ll see it 80 or 90 times and be able to predict it with tedious monotony – but it never fails to get an enormous response. So tonight I emulated that in some small way by having a prepared “ad-lib”.
The second half of my set was the story of giving Kevin Bridges my business card, along with all my self-doubt afterwards and inability to comprehend why I’d thought that was a good idea. I’ve come up with a few lines since that I feel really highlight the ridiculousness of the gesture, which I was specifically praised on afterwards, and now have a neat punchline courtesy of John McGovern and our 6am drinking. Whether it will still work when the audience aren’t personal friends of his I can’t say, but I’ll find out. Although I’d planned to do an all-new set at the Halt this coming Tuesday (the 5th), I’ll have just returned from pulling two all-nighters in four days travelling up and down the country to see Combichrist, and so it will be far easier to just present my reworked version of last week’s set with this anecdote instead of the one I told about The Stand. It’s still new and a work-in-progress, so I feel this is acceptable. Once it’s up to scratch (or dumped forever) I’ll work up the next in my growing list of ideas.
I thoroughly enjoyed my set tonight, I felt I got the timing pretty good and the new (at the time unscripted) ideas and lines went over well. I just wish I’d thought to record it. Definitely one of the best gigs I’ve ever had, and I feel that this new style of performance/material is edging closer to how I am in real life. Which makes it far, far easier to come across more naturally on stage. John’s dad came up to compliment me at the end of the night, which was really nice of him, and both Ross and Pearse James singled out particular lines they’d liked – which means a lot as I like them and respect both of their styles and opinions. And haircut theft.
Which, all-in-all, was pretty good going for a gig I nearly never bothered with.
I’m on at the Halt next, on the 5th, if you want to come along and see me in person. If not, go and see Fast Romance at the cinema instead, it’s out on 1st July and only on for two weeks and (as a feature film made in Glasgow for £41,000) it needs your support. Check the credits for my name, it’s in there twice…
Peace and jam. 🙂