Losing half the audience but doubling the enjoyment

It was the monthly Ruby Tuesdays gig last night and upon arrival I was informed that I would be MCing.

This was unexpected, as Langton was due to be hosting but due to a spell in hospital over the weekend he resembled a decrepit old man. I shouldn’t have laughed at his plight, but I’m afraid I could do no less.

The show went on and we had an audience of six people, which is not the smallest we’ve had in the two years we’ve been running the gig for, but it is some way short of the largest. Admittedly, it is only about one or two away from our average audience.

As you can imagine, it started quite awkwardly and my opening jokes were the sacrificial lambs, with a good 90% bombing. Despite me being off-form, the acts in the first-half all did really well and were rewarded with audible laughter for their efforts.

However, during the interval, we lost 50% of our audience (three people); they had come to watch a friend, the friend had been on, so they refused to come back upstairs for the second half.

But the show went on and the second half was actually a lot of fun. There was no pressure, everyone tried stuff out and it turned out to be really enjoyable, with some genuinely big laughs from our three audience and ten comics alike. I opened the second half doing some untested new material, or an untested version of a story I initially tried to perform twice 18 months ago, but dropped after I didn’t feel it worked. The revised version was pretty well received, which more than made up for my tried-and-tested material bombing at the start of the night; the new stuff still needs some work, but the signs are very encouraging.

After a quiet start to gigs this month, I now have three more on consecutive nights. One is student’s union, one is in a locals’ pub in South Norwood and the other is in the basement of a student house in Norwich. There will surely be some tales to tell.

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