Category Archives: The Stand

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.


How and Why I Got Up There.

It was a long time coming.

I realised earlier this year that one of the few things I know about myself, absolutely, is that I can make people laugh. Friends, family, work colleagues, acquaintances I’ve made in pubs, at gigs or on various shoots – ever since I was at school people have told me I’m funny. So I figured, in my unemployment and torturously bored, that I owed it to myself to find out if I could also be funny on a stage, addressing a room full of strangers.

The idea was first mooted by an old flatmate about four years ago, when he toyed with doing the Red Raw beginners night at The Stand. I’d joked about doing it myself on and off since then. Having written a screenplay set in the world of stand-up (and soap operas and ‘celebrity’ obsession), and failed to sell it, I lengthened it into a 70,000-word novel which I’ve also failed to sell, despite good feedback from numerous sources (including one editor).

Having also written pantomimes of varying length and quality for twenty of my twenty-nine years, and sketches, lyrics, poetry, short stories too, I figured maybe it was time to get up and say the things I wanted to express which nobody was interested in reading. The Stand told me to apply in two months for a possible gig in five, such is the length of their waiting lists, and so I was instead directed to Malky and Pop-Up Comedy. He runs a newcomers night at The Halt Bar in Woodlands Road, and since (having finally decided to get up there) I didn’t want to wait five months, I approached him. He was able to give me a spot three weeks from the date of asking.

I went away and wrote a six-page routine and six pages of one-liners, knowing that was too much, and eventually had time in my five-minute spot to do about one, maybe one and a half pages. And got heckled most of the way through it by some chick who seemed to think she was helping…

I’ll write about that next.