I actually have a gig this week, making it my first gig of the year.
Since I finished my run at NZ Fringe at the start of March 2020, my gigging numbers still haven’t even broken double figures during the pandemic. As tallies go, it’s not that impressive. Still, it does make my run of five gigs between August and November last year look especially prolific.
I’m opening the show on Thursday, which always carries the extra responsibility of getting the night off to a good start. I am expecting some rust to be evident, although not built up quite so heavily as August’s comeback gig.
And while I’m being paid, I’ve been told that I can slip in some new material in the middle part of my set. Normally, I would appreciate such an offer. The problem with this is that I don’t know if I have any new material that’s ready. The new stuff I’d been trying out at gigs last year had been going pretty well, which you might say is no longer new material as it was first tried six months ago. Well, you’d be wrong. A handy definition is that new material is stuff you keep trying out until people laugh when you want them to.
Some new material can be ready to be dropped into a paid set with near immediate effect after one or two outings. Yet other new material can take several outings of honing and refining before it’s where it needs to be. Ultimately, the deciding factor is whether or not people laugh loudly enough for where you intend them to. However, there are occassions when the material just needs to be consigned to the scrap heap for all eternity.
And while the stuff I was trialling between August and November last year was getting laughs, the material definitely needed refining. And three gigs over three months wasn’t really enough to be certain that it works. This is just another reason why gigging regularly is so important. I mean, I won’t be doing so regularly after Thursday. And I don’t know when my next gig will be after that, but I do know the processes to follow even if I choose not to follow them at this exact moment in time.