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Archive for September, 2011

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A barren September

September has been a poor month for gigs, I have performed a measly three compared to my normal monthly average of 12-15-ish.

The most recent addition to the September trilogy was on hosting duties at the night I co-run on Wednesday. The previous week was not too good in terms of audience numbers, so I was determined to rectify that. I went out flyering for a couple of hours at the weekend and had a feeling that the gig would be a massive improvement. I don’t know where this feeling came from but I’ll learn not to trust such feelings in future, because flyering brought in exactly no people.

Last week we started the show with nine audience, this week we started the gig with… drum roll… five.

In the bar there was a big networking event for people who worked for a charity and they turned up in the middle of the first half. There must’ve been about 40 people mingling, so at the interval I did my best to convince them to come and watch the second half. I was unsuccessful, but most of them were at least willing to have a conversation about it. However, one of them was perhaps the worst person I have met in my entire life, not only was she deeply unpleasant but she also sneezed on her hands and then carried on as if nothing had happened.

This one woman removed any guilt I may have had about basing the bulk of my Edinburgh set about the awful world of telephone fundraising and the questionable dealings of charities. So thanks for that, Jar Jar Bint-face

So despite failing to recruit any new audience, we continued the second half performing to just three people. It was at least proportionally better than last week when we lost seven people and were left with two. I’ll take it as some sort of victory; and no, I won’t let go of these straws I’m clutching.

Thank you, former housemate Andy for being the only person who answered my distress call (text message) for audience and turned up. Thanks must also go to Nick and Jo from Margate who had a great time. So although it was small, the audience satisfaction rating was 100%; I am assuming this anyway, I didn’t actually ask.

It was more fun than last week but still not a great night for the soul. I think the night is definitely worth persisting with, when the gig is good it’s very good indeed.

October is when I will get properly back on the comedy horse; I had been suffering from writer’s block up until these past few days when I’ve written a chunk of new stuff. So this is a clear sign that my comedy fatigue I sustained from Edinnburgh is nearing an end.

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A hard night

My first gig for two weeks last night was hard work and not an enjoyable experience.

I’m still not feeling totally with it. My Fringe-lag has been prolonged by a stag-do and then a wedding less than a week later. So I wasn’t feeling entirely energised when I took to the stage on MC duties. In my opening gambit, I managed to get some titters but nothing substantial. I knew it was going to be a tough night.

We had nine audience members at the start, but following the first act we lost four. Thankfully just as I was padding in the hope that more people would arrive, two more did and I brought the second act on. It got worse before it got better, so I had work to do before bringing on act number three. But by the end of the first half, the acts were doing pretty well in the circumstances and there was some audible laughter.

However, during the interval three more audience members left. So we carried on with four audience and it was hard going. Then just as I was about to bring on the penultimate act, two more left. So we had just two people to perform to for the rest of the gig. Thank you Mike and Juan Pablo from Columbia, without you there would have been no show by the end.

And this is the problem with getting people in as audience who weren’t there to see comedy, they often have other plans already so will stay for some of the night but often won’t feel any obligation to stay for the duration of the show.

As a promoter you have to take responsibility if a night is not a successful one, equally so when you are on MC duties and I acknowledge that I didn’t get the promoting side or running order totally right. I have some flyers due to arrive any day now, so hopefully a couple of hours of that a few days before the gig should get some people in. There are also issues with the bar which need addressing and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go into detail about on here.

We will carry on, the other option is admitting defeat and that would be far too easy.

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A period of inactivity

I feel I should write something before my small readership dwindles further.

The entries on here are now linked to the number of gigs I do (not in a tech way; that would be weird), so every time I have a gig I will write an entry, just not necessarily about the gig. So you could assume by the lack of activity that I have not been gigging since the last entry and you would be correct in your assumption.

My lack of gigs is partly because I have been working in an attempt to fill the financial vacuum left by Edinburgh and I have also been up in Leeds for a stag-do. But mostly the lack of gigs is because I was focusing for so long on the Fringe that I neglected to book ahead for the Autumn.

When you’re starting out in stand-up and before people offer gigs your way, you need to be in a constant state of booking them. If you don’t then you’ll find yourself in a few months with very few gigs, which I am currently experiencing. This is somewhat deliberate as I knew I’d need some time out following the exhausting month up in Scotland and October is looking healthier.

Tomorrow is the wedding of the best friend from my childhood who lived opposite me for the first ten years of our respective lives. I am on Best Man duties, so am currently putting the finishing touches to my speech. I am approaching it to how I would approach five-minute stand-up set, it is mostly jokes. It should be fun.

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Getting back on the horse

I had my first gig last night since getting back from Edinburgh.

It was our first Cantaloopy of the new comedy year and it was one of our best ever. It didn’t get off to a smooth start, MissD – who was down to MC – sent me a text yesterday afternoon to say she had been admitted to A&E. Thankfully she defied doctors orders and made it. It was the first gig we’d had there since 20 July so I arrived to find that all the sofas in the room needed to be rearranged, which felt like a really sweaty game of Tetris. Then it turned out that we had no microphone, the previous one we used, supplied by the venue, was rented by the previous management or something. But a massive thank you to Rufus Penzance and Stretch Howard for saving the day and not only letting us use theirs but also figuring out how to get it working in the old sound-desk.

So the show went on and it went unbelievably well, we had some excellent acts on and a brilliantly receptive audience. It felt good to return to the comedy stage, since returning from my four weeks in Scotland I’ve not had any other gigs booked in and have been too exhausted to turn up to other nights to see if I could get on.  I didn’t feel fully at 100% but had a good gig and a new line went down very well, which is always nice. I still need to work out a stronger ending to my set, so that is something I shall be working on.

Now having got back on the horse, I am dismounting again for about another ten days because of work commitments, stag-do commitments and best man commitments. The horse isn’t going anywhere, though.