10 Minutes of Death

I just did one spot this week, ten minutes at Sam Rhodes Comedy Explosion. Sam’s been kind enough to give me a few 10 spots this year and I’ve had mixed success with them, sometimes they go ok, but a lot of the time it feels like a massive step back.

This week was a bit of a mix. I did my usual set with extended versions of some bits, a couple of new bits and a few old ones to fill up the time. They laughed at the best stuff, but the new bits faltered, and because I’d restructured it all I struggled to remember the running order and had to keep checking my set list, so it was all a bit awkward and choppy.

It’s easy to beat yourself up when it doesn’t go well, especially since I’d got to a point where my five minute set was pretty reliable, so I’d not bombed for a while. But I just need to remember that this is exactly how it felt when I was struggling to put together a strong five minutes – failure is all part of the process. If you’re not bombing regularly, you’re not trying enough new stuff.

The important thing is to learn from every gig. This week I got some good feedback on an already strong bit that I’m working up into something much bigger, and I worked out that with a bit of shuffling around I can open with a much punchier bit than my usual slow burn opener. The fact that it takes 30 seconds to get to my first punchline has been bugging me, so it’s good to have an alternative option.

The other thing I learned this week is that when material didn’t land well, I couldn’t help trying to address it – Sam was sat up and the front of the audience, near the mic, so I kept joking with him about how badly it was going. As he suggested later, the best thing to do is just style it out – if a punchline doesn’t get a laugh, then you act like it wasn’t a punchline and just part of your buildup to the next bit, instead of floundering and admitting that it flopped.

I’ve got another 10 spot there in a couple of weeks and I’m feeling confident that I can do a better job next time around, and I’m at Comedy Virgins the following night so it’ll be a good warm up.

Some good news this week – it looks like me and Mouch have finally got our shit together and come up with a plan to get the Basic Comedy Podcast back to life. We started the thing with high aspirations but both found ourselves suddenly a lot busier after we did the first handful of episodes, so it kind of fell by the wayside. But we’ve worked out how we can run the thing so that it fits into our schedules, and we should get started again in a couple of weeks.

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