This gig was on my birthday, so I didn’t do much preparation. With the evening’s emphasis being on trying new material, I decided that I’d finally tell a couple of anecdotes I have about glassings I’ve seen in Glasgow. Coincidentally, a billboard advert that I saw in the week prior led me to devise a new joke to introduce the subject, along with an untested one-liner, and a third anecdote which I haven’t written for my Absurd blog yet. The anecdotes have all been told often enough that I can relate them well, and was interested to see if they remained funny in a stage setting. They didn’t.
I also told a couple of true stories about people who have accosted me in the town, and found out that those aren’t funny on stage either. I did have the foresight to jot down three pages of untried one-liners, my thinking being that I could make a humorous point of injecting jokes at any moments when the laughter rate dipped. It was a good plan. The problem was, I started with those jokes, and liked them, so I just did virtually all of them at the start. That left me nothing but my natural wit to fall back on, so I was fucked.
After a lengthy period of telling stories nobody laughed at, I tried to end with one of the few remaining jokes. It got a very lacklustre response, which I killed by remarking on it, and so I tried a series of three related lines to end on. The first got a single, solitary groan. The second got absolute silence. I just gave up then and said “Fuck it, I’m leaving to silence,” and walked off stage. I had the foresight of recording the audio for posterity, and one day maybe I’ll get round to posting it here. Until then, just imagine me talking and nobody laughing.
A friend who came to see me/help celebrate told me afterwards that I’m “getting better at being bad.” By that, she means I don’t give a fuck any more and just embrace the awkward silences to make them – well, if not funny, then at least bearable. Nothing is worse than seeing a comedian so bad that you feel sorry for him. You can fight back from silence, but not from pity.
Anyway, I’d spent the previous night at a music gig and then partying at an industrial club night in Edinburgh, which was great fun, so I wasn’t that bothered. And a few friends came and watched me die horribly at this gig and it was good to see them all. So who gives a fuck? You can read one of the glassing stories here, and the other is here.
My next gig has been and gone, so you can read that blog next.