I did two spots this week, the first at Heavenly Comedy in Shepherds Bush on Wednesday, and another at Battersea Power Comedy on Thursday.
It’s been a while since I did a spot at Heavenly Comedy, and this was the first time I’ve been to the new venue, The Princess Victoria, a really nice pub with a big upstairs function room where they host the gig. I got there early, so I had a burger in the bar which was pretty decent.
Apparently there was some trouble with the Tube, so a few people couldn’t make it, including whoever was supposed to bring the mic. Without a mic it’s not a comedy gig, it’s just a bunch of people taking it in turns to shout at a room full of randoms, but we powered through regardless.
It was a weird night – it kind of reminded me of some of my early open mic gigs where half of the acts were deluded, deranged or just hopeless. It’s not a bringer so there was almost no audience other than the acts, but a couple of locals had wandered in, a twenty-something woman and her mum. The mum clearly didn’t understand that she was at a comedy night and spent the whole time trying to join in the conversation.
Clearly the night was going to be an uphill battle, and any small reaction you could get from the audience was a victory, but it’s all good practice. A bunch of people who’d just been through the Amused Moose comedy course showed up to do their first gig after their showcase night, and to be fair most of them did OK.
I went on first, which was a struggle under the circumstances, but the MC (Maltese guy with dreadlocks, didn’t catch his name) did a solid job of injecting some energy into the room. I ploughed through my current set, steamrolling over the mum when she tried to share her thoughts, and got a few laughs out of the audience. It wasn’t exactly a legendary performance, but it’s always good to rehearse, and in the end I was glad to just get my turn over with so I could relax and watch everybody else.
A woman on roller-blades who seemed to be completely shitfaced rambled on about dick-pics and slut-shaming without any punchlines, and seemed genuinely taken aback that nobody laughed. She completely derailed one of the better act’s closers by falling off her skates and dropping a drink just as he was about to land the punchline. After the gig she tried to start an incoherent conversation with me and wanted to give me a badge with a photo of a dick on it. I politely backed out of that discussion.
I didn’t really know anybody, apart from a Portuguese guy I’ve seen around recently, and Don Biswas, who was very friendly when I first met him last year at another gig.
The next night I went to Battersea Power Comedy, and my wife tagged along to see me for the first time in over a year. It was a good night with some great acts, and it’s a bringer so there was a reasonable audience.
The opener was a Kiwi Paralympic gold medallist (Liam Malone) who had some great material to work with and set things off to a good start. I went up second and did a slightly tweaked version of my current set. I took a risk and dropped my usual opener, instead starting with a bit that takes a while to get to the punchline but always delivers, and that gave me extra time to try longer versions of the middle bits. Also, I’ve been closing with the racist baby bit, but even though it gets good laughs it’s not been working as a closer because of the way it kind of tails off, so I kept it in but finished on a punchy, reliable one liner that always gets a big laugh.
It all worked well and I got some good feedback after the gig from the MC and some of the other acts.
As well as Liam, some other acts who really impressed me were Dave Muller, who took dick jokes to a whole new level, and Aussie, James O’Connell, who absolutely murdered the room with his alpha big-dog schtick.
Feeling pretty good about it all at the moment. I’m getting much more comfortable with my material, and that’s helping me to improve my delivery, and I’ve been getting some good feedback from people, with a few of them telling me I’m looking a lot better up there. My wife seemed surprised at how different my material was from a year ago, and impressed at how much more polished I look on stage – but it all comes down to practice, if keep going up and working on it you can’t help but get better at this.
I think my current goal is to keep polishing this stuff, make it even tighter, but try and build it up to a solid 15 and then 20 minutes.
Next week I’m at Sam Rhode’s Comedy Explosion in Shoreditch on Monday, then the Cavendish on Wednesday.