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Confounding expectations

This week, I had my first gigs of 2013 and they were a good example of how with audience sizes, you can never really predict what will happen.

January does tend to be a quieter month than most, particularly the first half of it.

On Monday, at my first gig of the week and 2013, there was an audience of ten people, which isn’t a bad sized crowd at all for a Monday night in January. I enjoyed myself, particularly in talking to an audience member who had told me downstairs before the gig that he had been out in the day and bought some new bath towels; but as he had come from work, he had no time to take his towels home, so had brought them with him. He hoped that having this massive bag full of towels wouldn’t lead to him being picked on by a comedian. Little did he know of my true identity, as when it came to my spot, I was onto it.

Well, ‘picked on’ is a bit strong, I prefer the term ‘talked to’. My set wasn’t entirely about towels, but that part did go well and suggested that I might have a future in a solely towel-based act, although that would require having someone in the audience who had a bag of new towels with them. Even so, it would certainly be a niche that few other acts are exploiting.

The rest of my set all went well enough, with a few new bits I tried evidently needing some work on.

On Wednesday, it was time for the gig I now co-run in Walthamstow. We were out putting up posters and building our following on Twitter (Follow us @yeOlde17Comedy. Am I on Twitter as well? Thanks for asking. I am, actually: @thisalexlove), so I thought that with it being the re-launch night, we might be able to defy the January odds and get in a decent sized crowd.

Unfortunately, my optimism was misplaced and we had an audience of five people, which is still an audience nonetheless and we gave them a show that both the audience and acts seemed to enjoy. For next month’s gig, we definitely need to up our promoting game. I am on MC duties and we are in a different room in the pub. The last time I was on hosting duties in this particular room, I was flashed at by an audience member and had to deal with some very drunk people, with some having genuine mental illnesses. So the masochistic side of me is hoping for more of such chaos.

Then came Thursday’s gig, which left me astonished. All the assumptions about low audiences in January were left in tatters when I arrived at the venue, because I couldn’t get to the upstairs room easily because of people queuing up down the stairs. I managed to squeeze my way through and checked in. The room comfortably holds about 60 people seating, but it was utterly crammed with people standing in any space they could find and even spilling out of the door. If only a handful of these people had been at my gig the previous night, it would have been a different story.

My set was fairly well received, with a few lines not getting as big a laugh as others. I am trying to get my punchiest five minutes together because not only have I stupidly entered another competition, but I have also booked myself in for the notoriously rabid Comedy Store Gong Show at the end of the month, which I am actually looking forward to.

It should also make interesting reading.

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