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Crowd control

My gigs on Thursday and Friday this week have seen plenty of interaction with vocal audiences.

On Thursday, I was performing at a venue in Hertfordshire, which is about ten minutes walk from where family of mine live. Conveniently, I forgot to tell them I was performing so close by, ensuring that my dignity should still be intact for future family gatherings.

There must have been about 40 people in the audience, in quite a small room and many had been drinking for a couple of house, so they were quite lively.

My set went pretty well and for another thing I can tick off my comedy experiences list: someone threw some fruit at me. However, it wasn’t because they were expressing their displeasure, they threw the orange because they wanted me to catch it as I was already holding another one that an audience member had been given as a prize earlier in the night.

I sensed that there was more fun to be had, but alas, there is not a lot of room for manoeuvre or too much interaction in a five minute set.

Then last night, I was performing in central London. I last performed at the venue about 18 months ago and to put it mildly, it was a weird night. Punters were often walking on the stage to on their way to the toilet and I was heckled by a man, who shouted: “Haven’t I seen you in my garden?”

And I won’t name the MC of that particular night to avoid embarrassing her, but she was asked by someone in the audience to finish the gig by singing Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to me Now and she obliged.

So I knew what to expect, but had heard that it’s much better run now by a new promoter, which turned out to be correct. But the audience were still vocal and kept chipping in throughout the night; I thought I was going to do badly but ended up really enjoying myself, but then I do tend to revel in the weird.

It was a great experience for learning how to handle an audience, there was a lot going on and a lot to react to, with people still coming in and out to get to the toilet, just not in front of the stage area now. I got at least three rounds of applause for things I said, including two for audience put-downs. And at the risk of blowing my own dust-covered trumpet, several punters told me afterwards that had done a very good job, which is always nice to near.

Tonight, I am off to do a gig near Southend.

I have managed to get through a whole blog entry without mentioning: Edinburgh, my throat, or the injuries I sustained in a collision with a cyclist on Tuesday. If you’re wondering, everything is fine and/or improving with all three, but my throat probably won’t like doing three gigs in a row. In which case, I’ll just ply him with aspirin.

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