It was properly raining when we left Rik’s gig, and by the time we’d walked down, crossed Princes Street, and got to the venue I was mostly soaked through. Quite funny walking past countless tourists in their cheap flimsy plastic ponchos while just wearing a t-shirt and an open shirt with the sleeves rolled up (I don’t like sleeves) – although slightly less funny by the time we arrived totally drookit. Thankfully, I’d brought my larger Broken Oath shirt with me for gigging in (it’s just a habit now to wear one of their shirts onstage, it means I never have to put any thought into gig clothes) so I was able to change into that. I’d also brought a hoodie with me (I don’t like jackets either) so was able to avoid pneumonia on this occasion. My hair gave me that “drowned rat” look, but I was far better off than Rik, who arrived soaked through and with another gig to do afterwards.
Pearse had messaged earlier in the day, asking us all to shorten our sets as he found the present format wasn’t really working for him. Instead of four people doing ten minutes each, he’d decided to try having six people each doing seven minutes instead. This suited me, as it meant I could again jettison the “Mortiis” bit from my set and go with the stuff I know, and know works.
The downside was that the audience was small and the room reasonably large, and on two levels. At most, I think there were twenty people there, half of whom were onstage or with those who were.
Pearse did a valiant job of opening the show, with Rik on first. His gig didn’t go too well, and with Sarah Short on second she had a tough gig too. She did material rather than interaction this time, material that went really well when I saw her at The Stand a few weeks ago, but which struggled here. When she asked how long she had left (“a minute”) she ad-libbed about having “another minute of dying.” This prompted one of the audience to ask her about an anecdote in her set and, as she put it, let her end on a Q&A instead.
I followed her (for real this time – see previous blog) and struggled a bit too. I benefit, just now, from the fact I’m doing a set that very few of the comedians have yet scene – I’m still mostly know for the fish-fucking bit I ended on for the first six months I was gigging. This means that they laugh too, which in an audience this small is helpful. Will Setchell was in, sitting right in my eyeline, and laughing louder than anyone else. He applauded some of my wordplay, twice. The second time, he clapped alone and I used a very, very old “ad-lib” and said “Never clap by yourself in case they throw you a fish.” That one’s so old, Dean Park uses it in pantomime every year, so it must have been on the variety circuit for years. I think I got it out a book easily thirteen or more years ago.
I was deliberately pacing myself, having rushed through the previous gig, and filling time by acknowledging things like “That usually gets more laughter, but that’s okay.”
The Gladiators bit, tried and tested and normally foolproof, has one line which combines the idea of repairing a household appliance while participating in one of their games. It usually gets a laugh, of some sort, but tonight drew absolute silence. I tried to recover by saying “No laughter – you must have all tried it and know it’s true.”
With about a joke to go, I noticed Pearse shining his torch at me, which I think signalled the 30-seconds-left mark, so I got my timing right at this gig, at least. As I walked offstage and up the stairs to where we were all sitting, I walked past two girls I didn’t know, one of whom just said “Genius!” as I passed. This is why I’m genuinely worried that someone will lift, steal, use, or sell my “Random” set – without wanting to sound big-headed, I know it’s good, and there are people in almost every audience who are nearly crying with laughter when I do it. I can almost bank on applause at the end of that bit too. It’s easily my favourite thing I’ve written, because it combines observation, annoyance/dismay and wordplay and that’s pretty much me summed up. Still, as ever, it’s always nice when someone takes the time to say they appreciate your work.
The next performer was Barnaby, the guy who’d asked Sarah about her set, and he opened by addressing me from the stage.
“Jordan, is it? I know you say it’s the new version of Gladiators, which nobody has seen, but I’ve seen it and was actually a writer on the second season of the new series.”
He then correctly guessed which specific Gladiator my set revolves around, although he told me later he doesn’t actually know her personally.
Will, too, referenced me from the stage during his set (which closed the show) – he has a new bit about adverts, which relates in some small way to my own take on them. It died though, and he said that while he’d liked it when he wrote it, he wouldn’t be using it again. Personally, I thought it might work and is probably worth trying again elsewhere, but since it is kind of close to the point I make and he is never short of ideas I didn’t say as much.
Even though it was a quieter gig, it was still a pleasant end to a good day, and I’m quite happy to walk away from it with a better sense of my timing, some applause (from however many people) and the over-used but still flattering “genius!”
Having not eaten all day, and now also in the company of my former co-Combichrist-crewmate Savage (who’d turned up just too late to catch my set), we set off in search of scran, settling on some pub, somewhere. By the time we left, knackered, full, but mostly happy, we were back down to just me and the two Sarahs. Walking to the train station, we passed a couple of people in bright yellow ponchos, the material heavy enough that they looked like they were wearing sou’esters. I casually pointed them out and said “couple of seafarers”, thinking nothing of it, but Sarah Short actually buckled with laughter, laughing so hard she could neither breathe nor walk and telling us it might be the funniest thing she has ever heard. Personally, I think it was end-of-a-long-day delirium…
Her laughter set me and Pavement Sarah off too though, and that was it, the trip descended into hilarity as we reached that point where just looking at each other set us off again. Over, and over, and over. I’m now laughing just thinking about it 😀 It’s not even that funny, but I blame a long day, tiredness, three adrenaline rushes and crashes apiece, and think it was just delirium kicking in. Whatever, it was still a fun and fitting end to what, after all my reservations, had turned out to be a great day out.
Next gig is in Edinburgh on the 25th, doing “Aberdeen vs Glasgow vs The World” at the Three Sisters, at 5pm I think. Going through early to catch the show that Darren Connell, Ross Main, Steven Halcrow and Eddie Cassidy are doing together – that will be worth seeing, trust me. Edinburgh is definitely a better place to visit when you have good company, so if anyone wants to join us, please do.
Finally, Pearse’s gig is running all festival with different line-ups every night, so if you’re free at 7pm of an evening, away down and see who you see.
That’s it for now. Three blogs for the price of one. 🙂