Happy New Year! Yeah, whatever – with war with nuclear-capable Iran looming over oil (haven’t we heard this before? See Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) this 2012 armageddon thing looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyway, you can tell you haven’t gigged in a while when you have to check what number you got to – it’s about two months since I last did a set, and I’ve been busy since. I worked for the Royal Mail in the run-up to Christmas, it was a temporary job for a fortnight but they didn’t tell us that and I’m still trying to sort out the mess they left me in financially. I discovered that the dole pays more than full-time employment, which is severely fucked up, but the full story takes some telling. I might write it as a blog in itself, once things get sorted – right now, I’ve spent three times longer trying to amend my records with various government departments than I did actually working. I wish I could say this surprises me.
Tonight’s gig was presented over-tired and under-prepared. The two-month break from comedy was actually rather pleasant, and I haven’t chased up any gigs for this year – just taking whatever happens to fall at my feet for now. I knew that this gig would be my first ten-spot for Pop-Up Comedy, and that I could easily fill that time with tales of Buxton. On the day I dug out my old notes from last time, decided which bits to tell and which to omit, and figured I’d put in my Glasgow Music bit because I like it.
This set is still pretty loose – all of the tales in the Buxton bit are true (mostly), and so I’m really just telling anecdotes and every time is different. Ray Bradshaw had said to me at my Shack gig that he no longer writes verbatim, he writes the gist and elaborates on or deviates from it when he tells it live, and this is how this particular set works for me. I tell the anecdotes, and ad-lib as required to find laughs – introducing callbacks, emphasising points, whatever occurs to me in the moment. I prefer it to tightly-structured and routined written material, which I sometimes struggle to learn and remember, and might try to do more in this way instead. It is closer to how I am naturally.
There’s a video, filmed by Matthew Cowan of Production Attic as ever, so you can see for yourself how it went. Some bits that previously got laughs died silently, but there are some ad-libs that get good responses. Considering how comparatively little effort I put in to this particular gig, I’m happy with how it went.
Matt has been making short viral films for a new restaurant opening in Byres Road, which see various Wendies being taken out by a ninja. Here’s the latest one, which makes me laugh every time, starring Malky and his son.
The rest of the evening went well enough. Malky told Tony Hilton’s joke (credited) about Gary Speed, which gets no real response anymore. Every time he asks “Too soon?” and tonight I gauged the apathy in the room and heckled him by saying “Too late.” That got, as he didn’t hesitate to point out, more laughter and applause than anything I’d said while I was onstage.
One act got properly heckled, by someone she seemed to know. As she stepped onstage this drunk lassie was whooping and cheering, trying to engage in conversation, and throwing her completely. It was shite for the act , taking the wind right out her sails, and annoying for the audience, to the point I borrowed Bill Hicks’ putdown and told Malky to stick his dick in her mouth to shut her up. There’s a lesson here, folks – don’t heckle. You’re not helping and the act won’t thank you for it, the audience won’t thank you for it, and anyone you’re with will (should) be justifiably embarrassed. Malky gets heckled in the spirit of fun because he invites it, it’s his gig, and the regulars all know him. Everybody else on the stage is new and/or trying out new material, and it can be really easy to throw people. So just don’t.
Obie did a short spot to raise awareness of his planned trip to the Melbourne Comedy Festival – he has been invited to perform, but needs funds. You can help and buy his 90-minute headline show as a download here, filmed by Production Attic and a bargain at only three quid. That’s a lot of laughter for the price of a pint. He’s also running a stand-up comedy course in March and a short course in memory techniques in February, if either interest you.
While I’m plugging things on behalf of my talented friends, my good friend Sarah has set up in business baking bespoke cakes and cupcakes for all occasions. She’s got a range designed for Valentine’s Day, which you can see on Facebook. Please like her page, salivate over the pictures therein, and place orders with her.
My friend Lynne, a professional wardrobe mistress, has set up a wee business making decorative buntings and cushions for birthdays, christenings, and as new baby gifts. You can see pictures and place orders here.
So yeah, download Obie’s DVD, then relax with a new custom-decorated cushion and some tasty cake. I’m gigging again at the end of February, back at The Halt, so that’s when you can next catch me. I’ll leave you with this track, by DoublePlusTen. I discovered them over the holidays, and liked what I heard enough to buy the album. You can download it from various usual sites, or buy a CD copy direct from the artist. I’ve been playing it on repeat, it’s influenced by Underworld, Juno Reactor, Leftfield and Hybrid – if you like that sort of thing. Till next time…