It’s been a busy couple of months for me as far as stand-up is concerned, and I feel like I’ve improved in a relatively short space of time, which is exactly the opposite of what I expected so soon after lockdown.
The catalyst has been doing a bunch of Sam Rhode’s pop-up gigs around south and west London, where I’ve had 10-15 minute spots. To begin with this was terrifying, because even five minutes felt like a stretch after getting so little stage time since lockdown began, but I found I was soon able to comfortably fill 10-12 minutes with prepared material and, once I got confident with that stuff, just riffing and improvising for a few minutes became much easier.
The Croydon gig I covered in my previous post really gave me a confidence boost, and since then it’s all felt a lot easier.
Until recently I had to spend a lot of time mentally preparing for shows, figuring out what bits I’m going to do and rehearsing the whole set over and over to try and memorise it. But these days a five-minute spot is a walk in the park, and the longer sets still require a bit of planning and practice, but I no longer go into them feeling on-edge and stressed about remembering all my stuff.
It’s so much more fun this way. Because I’ve got the safety net of 10+ minutes of tested material that I can reel off any time I like, I’m now free to improvise, have some fun with the audience, and generally dick around on stage a bit more.
So long story short, I’m feeling pretty good about it all right now, but I’m still unsure about what to do next other than keep on gigging.
As well as Sam’s gigs, I’m still regularly doing We Are Funny Project in Dalston, which is increasingly bringing in a solid audience most nights and is always a fun show. I’ve also spread my wings a bit and done a few other open mics worth mentioning:
Crack Comedy – these guys run pro comedy nights around SW London, and do a monthly Sunday-night open mic at the Ram Jam club in Kingston, close to where I live. Had a great time here, there was a decent audience for a Sunday night open mic, and the club has a really nice, intimate vibe. It’s only a shame they can’t run it weekly, because I’d go there a lot.
Whole Lotta Comedy – another local comedy promoter which runs pro gigs around SW London. They host an open mic every Sunday night at The Castle in Surbiton, which attracts acts from all over London, and usually seems to draw in a reasonable audience. It’s a fun, laid back night. I’ve been there twice recently, and will hopefully show my face a bit more often since it’s so close to where I live.
Comedy Cabin RAW – despite the fact that this night has been running for years in Hoxton, close to where I worked before lockdown, somehow I never got around to asking for a spot there. I remedied that recently and was very pleased to see Ania Magliano hosting, who I remember seeing at the Cav back in my earliest days. It’s a really small venue, but they managed to squeeze a decent audience in there, and although I was worried the young urbanite crowd might not be into my material, it seemed to go down well and I had a great night.
I haven’t got much booked for the rest of December, apart from one spot at We Are Funny Project – so I’m hoping one or two last minute spots materialise on Facebook on nights that I can do, otherwise I’m not going to be gigging regularly again until January.