It took me a year to get a spot at Angel Comedy Raw last October and it was a really good gig, so I’ve been looking forward to getting back there. It didn’t take so long this time, I applied at the start of December and they came back to me fairly quickly with the offer of a spot in January, last night.
I didn’t really know most of the other acts, probably because most of them seem to be a few rungs above me on the comedy ladder, but it was a nice surprise to bump into Helena Langdon, who I’ve met a few times before at gigs.
We were both on in the middle of the second half, so we lurked at the back of an absolutely packed room to watch the first half. When you’re used to doing gigs where the audience is made up entirely of comedians and the friends they’ve cajoled into coming along, Angel Comedy RAW is a real change of pace – a room full of 80+ genuine audience members who are there of their own free will.
Weird thing though. Even though the room was full and buzzing, the energy just felt low. The MC did a solid job of working the crowd and all the acts in the first half were great (especially Lily Philips), but it just felt like the audience weren’t making it easy for any of them. They laughed at A+ material, but not much else.
Most of them came back for the second half, and after a couple of other acts Helena went up, she did a did a brilliant job and the crowd really bought into her deadpan tales of social awkwardness. I was up next and, just like my last gig, I tried to put a bit of energy into my delivery, knowing the crowd was playing hard to get. This seemed to do the trick and from the outset they responded well to most of my material.
A couple of bits didn’t get as big a laugh as they usually do, but a new one I’ve been trying worked really well, and my closer did the job. I was disappointed that my normally reliable racist baby bit fell flat though. I should have guessed it wouldn’t go well since the audience was almost entirely white, and that kind of material only really works well in mixed rooms.
The headliner was professional act, Archie Maddocks, who knocked it out of the park for the most part, but even he struggled with some bits. After the gig we compared notes on the audience – he told me that some of his bankers just didn’t land either, and he gave me some nice feedback on my material, which is always welcome from a pro. In particular he gave me some ideas about how I could build out the racist baby material into an even bigger bit, which I’ll definitely experiment with.
My main takeaway from the night was that I need to be more ready to adapt my material to the room. I had a good sense that the room wouldn’t go for the racist baby stuff, but I didn’t bother changing it – in future I’ll be ready to replace it with more suitable material.
I’ve got a spot at Sam Rhodes Comedy Explosion on Monday – so I’ll use that to test out a few new bits that I can use for the semi-final heat of the Max Turner Prize on Wednesday if it looks like I’ll need alternative material. And on Thursday it’s Beat the Blackout, but I’m not even ready to think about that yet.