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Pay and a pint

On Tuesday night, I was on MC duties and actually got paid for once.

Getting paid to do stand-up is not that easy in London; outside of the capital, it’s more common to receive something for your efforts. And getting something does at least help take your mind away from the thousands of pounds a year this ridiculous dream costs to pursue, but then I stopped listening to common sense a long time ago.

The MC gig wasn’t too bad; we had seven people in the audience in the first half, which included three friends who were just there to have a chat and some people happened to be doing comedy. Thankfully, they were friendly and willing to get into the spirit of things.

There was also a very nice couple who are apparently regulars and their laughter was particularly heard. The first half was ticking along fairly nicely, then at the interval, the lady from the nice couple appeared very upset about something and had been crying.

I didn’t ask what it was about, I just checked that she was okay and I am very appreciative that, despite whatever was going on, they stayed until the end; although their audible laughter was understandably muted.

So the second half was a bit harder work, but we ploughed on through and I received thirty whole pounds as payment from the bar.

The next night, I was performing at Comedy Cafe in Old Street. I don’t normally namedrop venues (see above), but this one is a particularly high-profile one, especially on the London open mic circuit as it has a waiting list of about five months.

I had my fifth ever gig there in November 2005 and I did pretty well. However, the past two times I’ve been there haven’t been so great and the last time, I properly died on my arse. They’ve had a pretty radical refurbishment since then and the comedy is now upstairs, instead of in the main bar as you come in.

The format of the night is that there are eight new acts doing five minutes each. Three people in the audience have judging forms, giving the performers marks out of ten, then they total them up and the winner performs a ten minute headline spot the following week. Now, I have a particular aversion to competitions in comedy, mainly because I never do particularly well. So, instead of worrying about all that, I just wanted to have a good gig and then that would be enough.

And that’s exactly what happened; I did have a good gig. A promoter in the audience I’d never met before booked me for a night he runs and his friend brought me a pint. And then I was thinking I may actually have a chance of winning; I left before the results were announced, as I had to be up for work in the morning. I didn’t end up winning, but I at least made up for dying at the venue last time I was there.

In Edinburgh news, the previews are coming together nicely, with six booked so far and more to follow. Tomorrow night our first one and it takes place at the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green from 8pm. So come along if you’re in the area or are a particularly dedicated stalker.

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