Category Archives: Malky

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 96: Podcast Recording, Halt Bar, 12th May 2013

I arrived to find the other acts and the few regulars all sitting around a notebook in the main bar. It seemed we had no audience, not helped by the pub’s blackboard advertising the Sunday night quiz rather than making any mention of comedy. Some of the regular panel members had also been waylaid, and so there was an impromptu meeting to decide on ways we can improve the format.

As I said to Chris, one of the driving forces behind this project, if I could think of an entertaining and engaging take on the panel show format, I wouldn’t be pitching it to him – I would be trying to pitch it to BBC Scotland.

My wee cousin and her boyfriend came along, the pair of them being our audience. They are former regulars of the Tuesday night comedy, and as we are all friends and the room was otherwise empty, I invited them to sit on the stage with us. Our opposing team had not shown, and so we had the most streamlined set-up yet – Malky hosting, and me sitting with my usual team-mate, Jimmy McKee.

I had, as every week, gone through the script and jotted down two or three answers for everything. A lot of the news stories angered my moral and political sensibilities, and I had decided to announce this week’s podcast as “the one where Jordan gets angry.”

I always write two or three answers for everything, and then move on. I put in running gags where I can too, and try to put in absurdity and silliness as much as any political or salient points. Nobody remembers every thought they have, and as I move on as soon as I have jotted down my first thoughts on each topic, some of them are still new to me when I come to read them back from the stage a few hours later.

I found out tonight that Jimmy hadn’t realised the script was published online in advance, which helps explain why every week I turn up better prepared than most of the other three panellists.

We ran through what we had, which was a truncated version of the show we record – no headlines round, and no photographs to caption. The camera crew were unavailable to film this evening either, and so it was a short and very informal gathering. It has been decided to use many of the same questions again next week, when we have cameras and – hopefully – audience.

To that end, the plan was hatched that we will try and arrest the attention of shoppers by staging the panel show – now called the Scottish News Quiz, in a further change of name – in the middle of Buchanan Street on Sunday afternoon. I think we said 2pm.

This is a terrible idea, absolutely awful, and so I agreed immediately. The last time I did comedy outside, I was heckled by four mounted police and nine riot vans (Kelvingrove Park, the day of the Royal Wedding/riots.) The last time I said something was a bad idea while simultaneously agreeing to it, I ended up compering the London headline show of my favourite band.

This week has a lot to live up to.


Gig 94: Podcast Recording, Halt Bar, 5th May 2013

Finally, at the fifth attempt, we produced something decent. Acts, audience, crew, equipment and script came together well.

I sat with Jimmy McKee, as in previous weeks, and faced Andy MacKay and Mick Clocherty. Mick proved to be a good foil for me – equally able to take any topic or tangent and run with it while making it funny. Malky hosted, his desire to avoid being seen to be reading (rather than addressing the camera) leading to a few verbal stumbles.

 

We filmed for about ninety minutes, which was later edited down to fifteen or so. After four weeks of fucking jokes about panda repopulation, none of that made the final cut. Never mind, it is good experience to try and write topical jokes on a weekly basis. I could reuse soem of this stuff in my stand-up, except I have decided to try and be a little more political now – based on my recent experiences of protest marches.

The podcast is still a work-in-progress, we are still refining it and finding out what works, what doesn’t, and what can be made to. In this video, you can hear a horrendous chat-up line, hear big Andy’s ad-lib highlighting a possible continuity error and the huge laugh it generates, and see me get owned by the “yer maw” joke that I deliberately set up. Whatever else might be said about Malky, and there is a lot, he is good at making the leap and coming back pretty damned fast.

Watch it, you will see.


Gig 92: Podcast Recording, Halt Bar, 25th April 2013

This proved to be the final Thursday night of the podcast, as it will be moving to Sunday nights starting later this same week.

Tonight wasn’t filmed either, due to availability issues with camera, lighting, or personnel. Instead, we had another run-through to acquaint ourselves with format and content. I was with Jimmy McKee again, playing opposite Andy MacKay (if memory serves, some weeks later) and Chris Stephen. We began as last week, with a little bit of stand-up comedy. This was thrown on me last minute, but I had brought my stand-up notes just in case, and managed to get through it.

One of my friends had come along, for the first time, and she joined the small audience. It was unfortunate, and I still feel bad, that I had to abandon her for the bulk of the evening. Despite this, it was a good night with lots of jokes, ad-libs, and interaction.

So good, in fact, that it was decided to do it all again on Sunday – using the same script – and film it.


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 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 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.