Yesterday, I travelled for three-and-a-half hours to a small town on the outskirts of Norwich, to perform at the top of a staircase to a pub with 15 people spread far apart over quite a large space, who weren’t even there for the comedy night nor had much interest in watching one.
To make matters worse, we had to use a radio mic that initially had the house music playing when you stopped speaking, and just before the show began, we were asked to censor our material so to not offend the family with young children enjoying a meal together in the corner of the room.
It has all the ingredients to be an utter disaster and a waste of everyone’s time. Yet incredibly, it turned out to be a hugely enjoyable night.
In such situations, I find the best strategy is to try and some fun with the weirdness of the situation and the environment you find yourself in. It is a strategy that has served me well and last night proved no exception. And after all, the show must go on.
As I said, we had to perform at the top of a staircase, which was about 12ft and led to an additional seating area on a mezzanine that overlooked the rest of the pub.
In these circumstances, when you have no option but to adapt, you can sometimes you can find out a way of delivering your material that actually works and improves it. This time, to avoid offending the family with children, replacing certain words in my set with ‘wee’ and ‘poo’, these are high-brow options I am now considering using permanently.
Something else I had fun with was the four people sitting at the bar with their back to me. I said it was like being on The Voice and kept trying to will them to turn around. They didn’t, which got a big laugh.
I also managed to tick something off my comedy experiences check-list, which wasn’t ever on there and shouldn’t be. But I walked down two flights of stairs during my set, which I’ve never done before and very much doubt I’ll do again. There was a pool table area underneath the mezzanine and I wanted to experience what it was like performing down there. I said it was a bit like being on Noel’s House Party.
So, it was a fun trip Norfolk. I got to bed at 2am, had four hours sleep and then was in work for 9am. The exciting double-life I lead.