This week I finally got to enter my heat of the So You Think You’re Funny competition, upstairs at the Signal Pub in Forest Hill. It’s a nice venue with a room that lends itself reasonably well to standup; they run regular pro nights there but I’m not sure if they also do an open mic.
Considering it was a hot summer Monday evening, they were charging £6 for tickets, and it was England’s first World Cup match, the room was surprisingly full. I had a couple of friends with me, but one of the acts (the lovely Indi Madray) brought a small army along for moral support. So against the odds there was a decent energy in the room.
The line-up was fairly mixed in terms of experience, mostly younger acts in their early twenties, and chatting to them in the bar I learned that a lot of them were very new, with fewer than 10 gigs under their belts. I recognised one of the more experienced acts, Bijan Barekat, from a few nights at We Are Funny, and Sam Eley had been on at Battersea Power Comedy the same night as me earlier in the week, and you could really spot the difference in class.
Acts I’d never seen before, but really liked, included Cydney Wood, and Jessie Nixon.
I was feeling comfortable about doing my set, having had the opportunity to practice the full seven minutes earlier in the week. I ended up scribbling just a few words on the back of my hand to remember the middle part of my set list, but I think my delivery was reasonably smooth.
At one point it felt like I was too far into my set for the time I’d spent on stage, and I realised that I’d skipped over chunky part of bit because I’d added some topical material to it at the last minute (wasn’t worth it, only about a quarter of the room laughed). But because the whole of my set is loosely based on the same theme it was easy to just drop in the joke later on in the set.
The audience seemed to buy into most of what I was doing. It felt like I was getting laughs all the way through, whereas some of the really new acts were telling rambling stories to silence. My closer didn’t exactly kill the room but it got a strong enough reaction, and I think I hit seven minutes almost exactly when I left the stage. I got some good feedback from audience members and a couple of other acts in the bar afterwards, so I’ll take it as a win.
I’ll find out if I’ve made it through to the next round in July, but I’m not pinning any hopes on it. I know there have been a lot of strong acts in the other heats, and I’m fairly certain that I’m not really what the competition organisers are looking for (i.e. another middle aged, white, hetero, man). But that’s all cool – I entered for the experience and I enjoyed it.
More than anything I’m glad to have finished with competitions for the time being. I’m bored of doing this material, but I’ve had to spend every gig working on it for the competitions, and now that’s over I can just move on and try other stuff.
Next week I’m at the Cavendish on Tuesday, and then We Are Funny Project the week after.