This gig was a fortnight ago, but I’ve been alternately busy and insufficiently motivated to write about it since. Now that there is a four blog backlog I suppose I should really get on with it.
This was my first engagement at The State, barring my heat in the SCOTY competition, and I was looking forward to it. I was offered my choice of times, and opted to do ten minutes as I thought it would stand me in good stead for the two ten-minute weekend slots I’d been booked to do in Edinburgh later in the month. With the best of intentions, though, my time was tied up beforehand and I didn’t do as much preparation as I should have or would have liked.
After cajoling promoter Chris Broomfield, who knows me as “Obie’s pal”, into remembering my name (he got the middle initials and worked from there), I was introduced to Rhona McKenzie, the compere for this evening. She took note of my name, and immediately gained my respect by asking why I use my initials and not (as is infinitely more common) what they stand for. It genuinely made a really nice change to have someone just accept straight off that this is my name, rather than ask me to justify it in any way.
The night kicked off with an open spot called Jim, which is all I remember, and there were sets from Scott Reilly, Chris Scouler and Steven Halcrow – the latter having an excellent gig despite feeling under the weather. Due to a no-show, Sara Hunter, another of Obie’s friends, was offered the chance to do her first ever gig. She is on Viv Gee’s comedy course, and it is probably worth noting for those interested but unfamiliar that there are numerous comedy courses being run that will teach you the basics of stand-up. These vary in usefulness, and the general consensus is that you should do your research before signing up to any particular one – find one run by a comedian you have seen and find funny. The two I know of in Glasgow (there may be more) are run by Viv Gee and Charlie Ross, Google will fill you in on the details if you’re curious. There are also many books available cheaply on Amazon that will teach you the fundamentals, the best of which is arguably the Logan Murray guide.
With a set detailing an obsession with Doris Day, Rock Hudson, and Facebook “likes”, Sara’s set was delivered confidently. It was one of the better debut spots I’ve seen, and you can make her ridiculously happy by simply liking the fan page she has set up. I can’t now remember, four gigs on, quite how my own set went – but I used a new opening line that had occurred to me a couple of days previously. It went down poorly with the audience – which numbered nineteen – but reflected my mood at the time of writing:
“Hello, my name’s Jordan, and in a continuing bid to do nothing of consequence with my life I’m here on a Saturday night, talking to a room full of strangers about things that don’t matter.
In a bid to distract myself from the growing realisation that I have done nothing of consequence with my life – and not even with my Saturday night – good evening!”
I related the tale of habitually wearing four pairs of handcuffs and a wallet chain with everything else that completed that “look” in my twenties, which ended with a new addition to the punchline that I came up with to avoid coming across as one of the many casual “rape” comedians that are in abundance – and whom I don’t find particularly funny. This segued into my bit about signing on, and that in turn led me to talk about a job I held for two consecutive summers, working in Buxton. The Buxton bit has only recently been written, although it has existed as conversational anecdotes and stories for four years, and I think it went okay tonight. I haven’t learned it as written (with elaborations) or structured it properly, and told it in the order it came to me. Most of it. There is so much to tell, I keep forgetting aspects of it, and suspect I should try and tell it as one or two anecdotes and then add to it, building it up over a period of time rather than trying to recall the whole thing in one go. As it is episodic, it would probably work that way.
To finish, I related something that had happened the week before, while my friend Hannah was crashing and alone in my flat as I was in Sheffield. She revealed herself to be the most Southern-English person I’ve ever met, in a way which cracked me up so much I couldn’t keep it to myself. Unfortunately, with the aggression that exists in the context and the inherent threat of violence, the story didn’t go over quite as well as I’d hoped – it will require work in order to make it more palatable to an audience. Living and learning.
Obie headlined, after an extra ten folk suddenly turned up at the break, and did as much improvising as he did material. His material is great, but as someone who has seen it several dozen times I am now more interested and excited to see him leave it in favour of interacting with his surroundings. Tonight, he accused an American student of being Superman(!) which meant that when he asks if anybody is scared of anything irrational he could ad-lib “Kryptonite for you, obviously.” He also got a brilliant response from a guy up the back who revealed that he is scared “of dying on the bus.” Good stuff, and an entertaining end to the evening.
My next gig is (at this point, was) in Retrospect at 99p Comedy, so read on and let’s see what I can remember about that one. It was properly fucking mental.