I first did a spot at Funny Feckers (every Thursday at the Constitution in Camden) back in September and I’ve been itching to go back because it’s a great night. I’ve tagged along to support friends there a few times and it’s always hysterical.
I finally got another spot there this Thursday, my first of 2018, and the plan was to deliver my more polished material in preparation for my Max Turner Prize heat. I definitely needed the practice. Last year I was able to deliver this set pretty confidently and it usually worked well, but this time around I felt rusty and struggled to do it as well as I have before.
I wrote my set list on the back of my hand and that was probably a mistake because I kept looking at it instead of relying on memory. Also I tried new twists on a couple of bits, which messed up my flow and didn’t really work well.
All in all the audience went along with it and laughed enough to make me feel like it wasn’t a complete disaster, but it felt like an uphill battle. It was quite a young crowd, and this set is largely about parenting so it’s no surprise they didn’t lap it up. Thankfully there were a couple of older people in who were buying into it and sometimes you just need one or two cheerleaders who like you enough to get the rest of the audience laughing along with them.
A couple of bits which usually kill didn’t get much response, but I can’t feel too hard done by because a bit I’ve been thinking of dropping from the set worked better than it ever has before.
I’m a little disappointed in myself because Funny Feckers is one of the nights where I really want to do well, and in the end I don’t think my performance was that much better than when I first went there as a completely raw newbie in September. But it was good to get back on stage after Xmas, and to practice that set at least once this year before the competition.
A couple of other acts really stood out, Patrick Spicer did a nice set of rambling whimsy and has the kind of affable likeability I can only dream of. Also, Scottish American act Martin Graham really impressed, despite being almost as new at this as I am.
I also saw Martin the night before at a Max Turner Prize heat where I’d been supporting m’chum Pauline Stobbs. She delivered a good set with strong laughs all the way through, but it was a very competitive night which was won by Kathryn Matter and Stephanie Browse. They both absolutely murdered the crowd, so I don’t think anybody could feel bad about losing out to them on that heat.
My heat for the competition is next Tuesday – I’m mostly in it for the experience. There are so many strong acts performing that it would take Trumpian levels of narcissism for me to have any expectation of winning. I’ve also submitted a video entry for the Amused Moose national stand up competition, so I’m hoping I’ll at least be offered a place in one of the heats.