Here is an old joke that is told between comedians;
Two comedians; A and B are having a coffee and a chat, one says to the other;
A: “Did you hear about the great set i did on Live At The Apollo?”
B: “No i didn’t hear about that, but I’m glad it went well”
A: “Did you hear that I’ve been commissioned to have my own series on BBC Radio 4?”
B: “Naw, I hadn’t heard but well done”
A: “I had the worst gig ever last night…
B: “Yes! I heard about that”
With it being December lots of my shows are in comedy clubs full of work’s dos, and christmas parties.
These can often be quite challenging places to perform as the audiences tend to be a bit more drunk than usual, with very short attention spans.
Lots of comedians totally hate these gigs and just take most of the month off, many comedians are totally not suited to performing at these gigs but do them anyway as they need/want to money.
Personally i like the challenge of a big room full of “merry” people, if you get it to work the rewards are great, and often result in some of the best shows that a club comedian will ever do.
But more often than not its just a battle to keep their attention.
I enjoy the challenge because its like a really high risk “improv’ show, where the performer has to use their speed of thought, and years of experience to deal with what ever the audience throw at them.
Think Whose Line Is It Anyway? crossed with the gladiatorial spectacle of the Roman games.
As in Roman times there is often blood, (even if it’s just metaphorically flowing from the shattered ego of a comedian), and the gathered masses get to make the decision about whether you live or die.
The worst thing about dying at a Christmas show is that the comedian can often see it coming a long time before the audience realise that it’s going to happen.
Years of experience have taught the seasoned performer what signs and omens to watch out for, and there is one particular sign that almost always means that the comedian is about to die on stage.
One omen that when it is spotted, it causes an experienced act to glance hopefully at their watch and pray that it will show that they have done enough time to leave the stage with their head held high, and their reputation torn into big enough shreds that it is possible to stitch it back together again.
What is this sign…?
What is this his omen of impending doom…?
It’s when the comedian glimpses in the corner of their eye that the waiting staff have gathered and …
…they are getting ready to…
…SERVE THE DESSERTS!!!
There are many great comedians who have been sacrificed on the altar because of a badly timed Black Forest Gateaux.
Anyway, back to the old comedians joke that I started this blog with;
Recently I opened a christmas show, then drove quickly across the city to another comedy club where I closed that show.
I walked off stage at one club, and 15 minutes later was on stage at a different club.
All in all it was a rowdy but fun nights work.
I walking back to my car when a young couple coming the other way stopped me on the street and said that they had really enjoyed my set.
As they seemed to be coming from the opposite direction than I was, and that show had only ended 5 minutes before, I asked them what show they had seen?
It was the first gig, the one that I had opened at.
They said that they had enjoyed my bit, but said that the other act* had done really badly as all the audience had gotten much drunker by then, and he had really struggled to get thru his set.
I wished them a Merry Christmas, thanked them for their kind words about my set, and walked on.
Of course I immediately phoned my mate, the last act at the first gig, and asked him how he had gotten on.
“Terrible” he said.
“I died on my arse for 20 minutes’
“Yes I heard that” said I.
*I’ve left out the name of the other act as professional courtesy, but if you have my phone number give me a call and I will definitely tell you who the poor fucker was.