Archive for June, 2016
King Gong at the Comedy Store is known for being pretty brutal. The last time I did it in London, I was gonged off after 20 seconds before I could even get to my first punchline.
I’d put off doing it in Manchester for long enough, so finally took the plunge last night and was bracing myself for another ordeal. But it was a much more pleasant experience than my previous three attempts in London. For a start, the venue is about half the size and doesn’t feel as intimidating.
The crowd were mostly pretty nice. I can only assume that the usual ruffians you’d expect at these gigs were attending the Coldplay concert at the City of Manchester Stadium. In fact, the most hostile person in the audience was Shane from Boyzone. He was there watching one of his friends taking part, and took exception when another act pointed him out. He got quite aggressive, shouty and sweary. You wouldn’t expect this sort of behaviour from Ronan Keating.
I was on early in the second half, which I thought was a bad as you generally stand a better chance of lasting the distance if you go on earlier.
I started off well, but after about a minute I was heckled by someone who wasn’t Shane from Boyzone. The heckler was correcting my geography. I say my home town of Stroud is near Bristol, but someone shouted out that it’s actually nearer Gloucester. This is of course true, but I’m going with the assumption that more people know where Bristol is than Gloucester. The interaction got a big laugh and I went back to her later in the set, which got another good laugh. Later on, I was heckled by someone else and I said the geography heckler was still my favourite.
So then I thought I’d see what Shane from Boyzone had to throw at me. Just as he started shouting and swearing at me, the music played to say I’d gone the distance.
For the first time ever at a Comedy Store gong show, I lasted the full five minutes. Unlike my last gong show at the Frog and Bucket last month where I scraped through unjustifiably, none of the three card-holding audience members had one aloft. I think the key difference was that I was having fun last night, and wasn’t on the other occasion. I did well, but can do better.
At the end, the four of us who’d made the cut had to perform an extra minute. I did okay, but not as well as two of the others and knew even before then that I wasn’t going to win the audience vote. It didn’t matter; just lasting that elusive five minutes was enough for me.
But in hindsight, I really should have sung a Boyzone song in that extra minute. Still, I’ll be prepared for next time.
Since I last wrote, I have been on a road trip up to Scotland and north-east England. I had three gigs booked for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle and thought I’d make a semi-holiday out of it as I now have a car and it would break the drive up a bit.
As the Lake District was en route, i made sense to spend a couple of nights there. For all the locations I was going to, a quaint little town in a car park near the Beatrix Potter museum wasn’t where I was expecting to have anything stolen from my car.
When I returned to it in the morning, I discovered that someone had stolen the glass from one of my wing-mirrors. I never had problems with anyone wanting to take anything from my 16 year old, battered Nissan Micra. It was annoying, but could have been worse. I got a cheap replacement as a temporary repair, which I’ll probably have for the next five years.
If only I could use some Ant-Man technology to make my car tiny to fit on my key-ring, then it would save a lot of hassle about parking and people stealing things. But then people would be able to run off numerous carrying cars at once, so it wouldn’t be without its problems.
I also ate some really nice meals, which I didn’t feel the need to take pictures of and post online. The exception to this was a vegetable and stilton crumble that had a layer of water in the middle. Consequently, there were repercussions that I also didn’t feel the need to take pictures of and post online. This was the same day that my wing-mirror was stolen, so it wasn’t one of my favourite days ever.
The gigs were with the Stand venues and I’d wanted to do all three in a week for a long time, but geography and holiday amounts set aside for the Fringe never allowed this.
Edinburgh was first. When I last did it in 2014, it was the stuff of comedy dreams. This time, it was decent, but not as good as when I last did it. On the plus side, I was staying in someone’s house and not in a cheap hostel with nine very loud Brazilian men.
The Glasgow gig was the best of the trilogy. The crowd were amazing and although a couple of my line lines sank without a trace, this was made up for by bigger laughs for other stuff and crowd interaction. What made this gig even more of a thrill was that it was the very same stage where Stewart Lee filmed a couple of DVDs, including his first one with the Ang Lee routine.
As with most trilogies, the third never quite tops the second and the Newcastle gig was the hardest work. The crowd were great for the first section, but by the time I got on stage following what can only be described as an art experiment that went wrong, I could tell they’d had enough and were dire in need of an interval. By this point, the energy in the room was pretty flat. Even so, I still managed to get them some decent laughs out of them and people came up to me said some nice things to me afterwards, but I would have preferred performing in easier circumstances. Never mind, I will return and do better.
In other news, I’ve finally figured out a way I can write on my laptop and transfer it to my phone for upload. I am still without an internet connection in my flat as I don’t want to pay £20 a month for something I’m only going to use on the few evenings and weekends when I’m actually around. So this should mean I’ll be able to write more regularly.