This week, I have been mostly trying out a new routine.
It has been the second and third time I have tried this material out; and based on the responses from both gigs, it is apparent that more needs to be done before it is up to scratch. At both of these gigs, the audience were there for the taking as they had been very responsive to other acts but most of my respective sets fell flat.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to break-in new material; sometimes you get it right first time, but these occasions are rare. It is often a case of failing several times and making changes as you go before you have that breakthrough; keeping the bits that get laughs and either rewriting or culling the bits that don’t.
If I believe something is funny, I try and stick with it using this process. Although, sometimes trialling new material and dying a total death can be such a painful experience that I have been known to drop it completely immediately afterwards and denying it ever existed; as well as burning my clothes and washing myself in bleach to try and cleanse me of the bad gig stench.
The first time I did a now tried-and-tested routine about charities, I died a death; but there was one thing I said about a head-set that made one person laugh loudly in a small audience of about 15 people. Had it not been for this one laugh, I would have probably been reaching for the paraffin and Domestos. I stuck with the material, tested it at several more gigs, died a few more times but made some progress and eventually had a decent routine. Nevertheless, I would hardly say that this routine is perfect; it still fails me from time to time and even though I’ve been doing it for the better part of a year, I’m still making changes to it.
To paraphrase something Richard Herring said about stand-up: Try and fail, try again and fail better.
This brings me conveniently onto my next topic, which would ordinarily be ‘in other news’. I saw Stewart Lee’s Carpet Remnant World show on Tuesday. It was brilliant, probably the best I have seen Mr Lee for a number of years. I would definitely recommend it.