Category Archives: Obie

Gig 98: Vespbar (Saturday Show) 25th May 2013

I was out for dinner when, finishing up, I happened to see a message on Facebook from one of my comedy friends, asking if I could do a gig in Glasgow  that evening.

With about ninety minutes’ notice, I settled the bill, went home, changed, grabbed the notes from my last couple of sets, and headed into the town. Vespbar was reasonably busy, being an intimate venue and one currently running a deal that includes pizza, drink, and comedy for two for about a tenner.

Johnny Thompson was compering, and did a commendable job. I gigged with hime, as I recall, at one of my Stand gigs a couple of years back. Obie was on the bill too, and a couple of guys whose names I didn’t recognise byt whose faces I did.

I had agreed to open, a slightly daunting prospect, and had jotted down what i thought would be about ten minutes of material. I didn’t get through all of it before being flashed off, which suited me – it meant I did pretty close to my time. The material went okay, although I prefaced the whole thing by apologising about the short notice I’d been given and for the fact I was having to keep checking my hand to see which order I had decided to do the jokes in. Obie told me off for that afterwards, and not for the first time – better to be confident, even arrogant, than to apologise. Embrace the failing, address it head on, but don’t be meek about it.

I found out that my “Running” material is, as I knew it would become, less funny with the passing of time. One specific punchline works less well now that I need to follow it by reminding people about Oscar Pistorius.

My gig went okay, people laughed either at the material or at the ad-libs off the back of the occasional punchlines that didn’t hit. I put in an effort to entertain paying punters, and to justify the beer voucher that was mine in return for my time and abilities. I felt I largely did both, as best I could.

Vespbar has comedy every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Check it out online if you’re interested in the deals and promotions they have going on.


Gig 90: Podcast Recording, Halt Bar, 11th April 2013.

The idea for a podcast has been a while in gestation. It is a collaboration between Pop-Up Comedy, Hard-Copy.co.uk, and DualFan Productions, and will be filmed weekly in the Halt Bar. It began on a Thursday night. We filmed for about ninety minutes, planning to edit it down to ten or fifteen.

Malky hosted, sitting between two teams of three – Obie and John Sheppard with me, and Sandy Boutell alongside originators Chris Pettigrew and Andy Mackay. It was a learning experience.

We learned that we need microphones, and have to warm the crowd up beforehand. They sat so far from the stage that it made it difficult for them to hear us, which impacted on their enjoyment and also ours. Three people per side is too many, and we should see the script in advance in order to do some minor joke preparation.

I much prefer this to stand-up, engaging in casual chat and relying on my ability to make mundane things funny by simply interacting with others. It feels far more natural and comfortable to me than trying to remember a scripted list of ordered one-liners. That said, I was conscious of dominating the conversation, and found myself deliberately stopping myself from talking so others could get a word in. As much as I had fun and enjoyed myself, I am wary of being an overwhelming presence – given half a chance, I can talk a lot.

Anyway, this should be seen as the first step towards something polished and honed, and viewed as part of a learning curve. You will see what I mean from the video. Very little begins perfectly-formed, and this is no exception. We are, however, learning from it and improving.


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 http://www.glasgowsocialcentre.org.uk/ – 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.