Category Archives: Malky

Malky’s Leaving Night, Pop-Up Comedy, 17th December 2013.

After five years of promoting his signature gig, Malky decided to hand the bulk of duty over to his regular compere, Chris Henry.

I have been attending gigs at The Halt for three of those years, and have seen it go from strength to strength. Dozens of other gigs have sprung up and died by the wayside, including nights Malky himself ran in other venues, and so it is something of an achievement that the weekly free Tuesday night event continues to pack out this west-end bar. Whatever your opinion of the man, or of the reputation his stage persona has, he managed to consistently find an audience and keep them coming back regularly.

Although I have been absent from the scene for months, through comedy fatigue and a loss of love for performing, it very quickly popped into my head that perhaps I should try and write Malky some kind of send-off poem. The precedent had been set when Chris himself left, bound for London to pursue his career. No sooner had the thought hit, than rhymes and couplets suggested themselves. There was such an abundance of ideas that eventually I sat down and wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Three hours, two pages, and ten verses later, the first draft was complete. The second draft was mostly restructuring, making edits and choosing the best order for the verses to flow, and I contacted Chris to arrange things.

The first section would be a normal gig, a series of open spots performing material. Then there would be an awards section which, despite my reservations, was comparatively entertaining to witness. Finally, Chris would get Malky on stage in the third section, present an award to him, and hand over for his headline spot. I would be introduced to the stage just prior to Malky’s act, and I spent much of the evening – when questioned by friends and fellow comedians – lying through my teeth about having nothing planned. In total I confided in two, or at most three, people. The following, therefore, came as a surprise to almost everybody.

“The Malky Way.”

We’re gathered here tonight to say
Farewell to Malky, who’s on his way.
I’ve watched him gig two-hundred times,
And never seen him commit any of those crimes.
(So he’s clandestine.)
(Like a Lostprophet.)

I asked him why he’s leaving, folks.
He says work has left no time for writing jokes.
That left me buckled on the floor –
It’s never stopped the cunt before!

He’s promoted gigs near and far –
We’ve played the Bier Halle, and The Vicky Bar.
Buff Club too, and you cannot fault
The effort that man’s put in to making The Halt.

He’s been very fair, given everyone a shot.
He let Hobbit compere, and that says a lot.
He let new acts practice, he gave them the floor;
Some who got good now refuse to walk through that door.

Always on first, weekly, after the break,
He’ll do one joke, and a news stock-take.
You could never truly call him bitter,
For he delights in saying he’s been blocked on Twitter.

Whenever he compered, don’t be fooled –
As a warm-up man, he left the room cooled.
Amazingly, for all the deathly silence,
There were precious few gigs ended in violence.
(One or two.)

He took all our abuse with only good grace,
He’s been a great friend and a familiar face.
It’s gonna be weird when he’s not here –
But at least the girls can drink without fear.
(Unless Chris steps in.)
(Which is a possibility.)

Malky’s one of those old-fashioned guys.
Rohypnol? No, hoods and cable ties.
The infamous mating-call of that man
Was “Just eat the sweets, and get in the van.”

I say that he’s funny and, seriously, though,
He gets lots of laughs when he’s not here in Glasgow.
I’ve seen him do well in various places –
He’s not allowed back, but he did crack their faces.
([a smile])

But will the acts who now open our second half
Tread in his footsteps, and not get a laugh?
Perhaps in the New Year we’ll all get a shot
At killing the room in the famed “Malky spot.”

This heartfelt character assassination
Is in fact a celebration.
He’s given humour to the masses
And so I ask, please raise your glasses.
(To Malky.)

I think his girlfriend recorded my recital on her phone, but whether the video is any good or – crucially – the audio coherent, I don’t know.

Pop-Up Comedy continues to run every Tuesday night, featuring new acts and an experienced headliner weekly. You can check line-ups on the Facebook page, or continue to troll Malky on Twitter.


Gig 97: The Halt Bar (Friday Show)

The Halt management decided to start a comedy night on Fridays, without (as I understand it) committing a budget to book the calibre of act who can attract, control, or hold a Friday night audience.

Malky is an experienced promoter, and I do not wish to do him down by speaking badly of this gig. The first of anything is usually questionable, that is how we learn – by doing, failing, doing again, failing again but failing better. There’s a reason it’s called a Learning Curve.

There were six open spots on, five of them were shite. I include myself in that. Booked on the strength of recent gigs, most of the acts deviated from the tried, tested material and did new stuff. Almost all of us over-ran. I did the second part of my “Fuck The Tories” material, which I had begun at my last Tuesday gig, and found it to be less funny than intended and more political than the audience wanted.

After a long and painful couple of sections, during which (unbelievably) none of the audience left, it was time for the headliner. Malky called him to the stage, discovering that he was not in the room. If it is near your stage time, you are closing a gig, and you are not in the room at the time, then you are not a professional. As there was already a guitar set up for the closer, I was prejudiced anyway against watching him.

A girl left the room, Malky presuming that she had gone to find him. She returned alone. Asked if she had seen him, she informed us that “He’s outside smoking, chatting to some lassie about how he’s on stage soon.”

That was my cue to leave – it had been a long night, most acts died, and now this guy was nowhere to be seen but did have a guitar waiting for him. Not for me. I left.

I heard later that he, too, deviated from the set that had got him this booking, too drunk to make sense and too reliant on his Irish accent to coast him through a lack of material.

I am not sure if the Friday night gigs are still running, and I kind of hope not – as Malky was already aware, you need a budget to book acts on a Friday. It’s very different to a Tuesday night new-act crowd. maybe if the bar plough some money in and give it six months, it will fly. Personally, I don’t see that kind of investment coming from them.

Whereas the Tuesday night shows are going from strength to strength.

Gig 91: Podcast Recording, Halt Bar, 18th April 2013.

A week after the first one, and we gathered again in the Halt for a second go at our podcast. The camera guys couldn’t make it, and neither could some of the Hard-Copy guys, and it was decided to run this one as a practice session.

We introduced an element of stand-up for the first half hour, followed by a break and then the panel show part. As I recall, writing this six weeks later, the other team members were Chris Stephen and Jimmy McKee, and a third I now can’t remember – sorry. Malky hosted again, also acting as compere.

With a smaller audience, numbering about ten, they were brought forward to sit just in front of the stage. It created an intimate atmosphere, which was also kept very informal, and while we worked through the scripted questions we also invited participation from the audience. It was a very realxed and enjoyable evening, and a marked step up from the previous week when we were all very new to the whole concept.

There is still room for improvement, of course, but we can use some of the material generated tonight in the filmed show next week. In theory, anyway. I am definitely having more fun with this than I do with my stand-up.

Gig 5: The Vicky Bar, 15th Dec 2010

A very, very different gig to that a fortnight previous in the same venue. With no live music preceding the acts, there was a considerably smaller audience, and (on a more positive note) a lot less chatter. The audience numbered twenty or so to begin with, of whom 14 were acts, 2 were barmen, and the rest punters…

With Malky compering, the gig got off to a good start, but stalled slightly when the second comic on was interrupted by the door next to the stage opening and a potential punter shouting to ask if he could bring his dog in. This threw the act onstage, as the dog came in to bigger laughs than he’d obtained from his material…such is the way it goes, sometimes. We discovered the dog’s name was Mojo, which led to a few Austin Powers references (and the avoidance thereof), and a few more punters had filed in. One of them, claiming to be called Farquhar, revealed in conversation with Malky that he came from Hamilton – my original hometown.

In the hope of maybe getting the newcomers to listen (rather than chat over us, as happened a fortnight ago), I spoke to the man from Hamilton and proclaimed “Solidarity”, as both of us had managed to escape the place. I have no real fondness or affinity for or with the town, or “It’s shite” in modern parlance. This, I noted was just an observation. Observational comedy, without the comedy – just observation. It’s a new thing I’m trying… This got a laugh, and I launched from that into my rehearsed material – adding in a couple of extra jokes tonight: one I always forget to use despite writing it at the same time as my ‘middle initials’ bit, and a second which is just a conversational thing I’ve used a couple of times – but the last time was with Will Setchell, who laughed, so I decided to use it. I very much enjoyed my set tonight, I feel more comfortable with my material and don’t have to work so hard to remember it now – useful as it lets me work instead on my timing, lets me look around the room more confidently, lets me enjoy myself more – and I got a decent number of big laughs (as well as the obligatory groan again). Overall, very happy with the laugh-rate and size of laughs I get. A few comedians who hadn’t seen me before congratulated me afterwards too, which they didn’t have to do so that was appreciated.

Setchell did a new style of act tonight, based on an idea of Malky’s – the audience used the break to write down topics, which Will was given onstage and had to talk about, with no warning of what they might be. He did very well, starting with the Flintstones, then moving through topics as varied as Germans, the Gas Board (which he noted tied in well…), America, and the one that got him a massive laugh – “Hippopotamus Mating Rituals”. An interesting segment, and the kind of thing we expect from the Car Crash Comedy night on the 28th, but it has the potential to be very hit and miss.

As for the other acts, Eddie Cassidy did material I’d seen before, and which had got him into the SCOTY final; Joe Hullait did all-new material, most of which was very funny; Jim Hobbit was fucking hilarious, as much for his style/mannerisms as for his actual material; and Chloe Philip also got a lot of big laughs, the audience bigger in size and paying attention by now, and it was an enjoyable second half.

The evening was punctuated with heckles and help from Marguerita, a sixty-something German woman who chimed in with non-sequiturs, comments, jokes, and whatever else took her fancy. A couple of the acts were a bit mean to her (“you look like what happens when you drink too many…”) – if people are joining in then certainly put them down gently, but there’s no need to be harsh when someone is joining in in good spirits. It’d be different if she’d been shouting abuse or “You’re shit!” at people. Anyway, that aside, headliner Obie got a big laugh by asking if she has sisters called Four Seasons or Meat Feast, saying it’s the first time he ever met anyone named after a pizza…

Obie was quite brilliant, it’s only the second time I’ve seen him, but he had the whole room in stitches with his reworkings of classic nursery rhymes. He followed that with his fear of, and impressions of, trees. He had a lot of audience interaction, and improvised a whole bit based on the gig posters on the wall by the stage. Very very funny.

So, that was gig five and I’m having fun. I got word today that I’ll be on at Red Raw at The Stand (Glasgow) sometime next year, just waiting on dates coming through for that. Meantime, I’m next on at a fundraiser on Saturday for – in Garnethill Multicultural Centre. I found out about this through the Comedy Forum, and have no idea who else is on the bill. Should be good fun though, whatever happens it’s all experience.

Gig 4: The Vicky Bar, 1st Dec 2010

Not quite sure how to describe last night, but it was a cross between a car crash and a mass comedy suicide.

Pop-Up Comedy is running a new night at the Victoria Bar on Glassford Street, which began last night in front of an indifferent, disinterested audience, and one very attentive heckler. Chris Henry compered, getting up and chatting to various punters. He asked one Irish guy what brought him to Scotland, to be met with a gruff “I’ve been here longer than you.”

So it began, as the first two comedians both cut their acts short in the wake of audience apathy. Being situated next to the door, people coming in or going for a smoke managed to ruin a couple of punchlines and set-ups, while the attentive heckler made himself known by joining in during every act. He was sat two tables back, with long hair tied back and an earring of the style that creates a hole in the lobe. He’d obviously had it a while, since he’d a good two-inch diameter (which Tony Hilton later threatened to coat in vaseline and shag).

Malky went up third, and did a full ten minutes – none of it really appreciated – but at least he enjoyed himself. Now we were running short, Tony Hilton went up to close the section (rather than open the next), and ended up doing some ad-libbing and singing for the crowd in order to keep their attention. The section closed, and some food was laid on – I was now in the unenviable position of both opening the second section and of following the food. You can see the video of my spot below. While the food was served, our heckler got up and stood in front of the stage and played a couple of tunes on the bagpipes he had with him, and so we tried to collectively think of some putdowns we could use based on that fact. I used a couple of my own when I got the chance, although he was strangely quiet during my set.

I have to say, I lost my fear before going up – ordinarily, I run through my set in my head in the break/act previous, but by this point it was clear we had nothing to lose, and so I decided to just get up and enjoy myself. Which I did, so much so I volunteered to play here again in a fortnight. When they heard that, both openning acts also asked to be put back on that bill – it should be a good laugh. Fuck it, we’ll just do the same material there every week til they fucking listen! 😀

Darren Connell, whom I personally think is brilliant (first time I saw him he got more laughs, more often, than anyone else I’ve seen on the circuit) also cut his act short – it’s quite disheartening playing to a room full of people ignoring you. Julia Sutherland got a big laugh from us when she lost heart halfway into her set, but delivered the line “Strap-on dildo” louder and clearer than anything else she said just to provoke response. Nothing from the crowd. Malky went up and did a second ten-minutes, since they didn’t care, and barely managed to capture their attention – except briefly when he just said “Celtic” into the mic.

Finally, headliner The Wee Man managed to capture their attention, based on his popularity via his viral YouTube videos. He managed to even get some audience participation, and finally they paid some attention. Well, some of them did. When he started grooming them.

So, it was a bit of a downer but we all kind of expected as much – we were playing to regulars, not a comedy audience, and it was the first ever comedy night there. Hopefully in time we’ll win them over, and get some silence (if not laughter…) during the acts. That said, I did my set in full (and faster than I realised), and got a few laughs. Like I said, I felt I had nothing to lose, and I enjoyed myself regardless. The 15th is my next gig, back there, so it’ll be interesting to see if they’ve warmed to us any.