I don’t have a good track-record in comedy competitions. Of the dozen or so I’ve entered over the years I have only ever got past the first round one on occasion.
My most two recent gigs have been heats in different competitions on consecutive nights. For the first heat I began my set well, but quickly lost the audience with material that had served me well in Edinburgh. It picked up towards the end of my five minute spot but the damage had already been done and it was no surprise when my name wasn’t amongst the three read out to go through to the next round.
At the second competition I fared better in front of an audience of about 70 but still didn’t get through. It was a weird night and conditions weren’t ideal but I’m not going to blame anyone or anything for my failure to progress, instead I’ll take it on the chin and try to improve.
One act stormed his set, two acts did very well and a few acts who did okay, some went through and others didn’t. But the night was overshadowed at the end of by a dispute on stage between an act and the organisers which nearly resulted in violence.
I knew what to expect from these competitions – just not quite what happened at the end of last night – and obviously I’d like to get through, I wouldn’t enter otherwise, but I’m really not going to let the lack of competition progression get me down or stop me.
Comedy is not for the faint hearted and some days I do find myself questioning exactly what I’ve chosen to do with my life. But three and a half years ago, when I was gigging an average of once a month, I said that if I didn’t get through in a competition then that I would stop and I ended up taking 18-months away from stand-up. If I’d been gigging regularly back then and kept going then I’ll never know where I would be now.
Besides, when you’re making a room full of drunken people laugh in some corner of the UK, do you think they honestly care whether or not you got past the first round in a competition they’ve probably never heard of? I doubt it… I hope not.