Three gigs and life-changing news

It’s been a full on couple of weeks for me – this is my busiest time of the year at work and my mortgage-paying day job has to take priority over everything else, until Netflix offers me a deal. Aside from that, I’ve had some big stuff going on in my personal life; a long lost sister I never knew about has recently got in touch, which is exciting news but kind of hard to take in when I’ve got so much else happening right now.

So I’ve had a lot on my mind, but I’m still trying to make some sort of progress with the stand-up and I’ve done three spots over the past couple of weeks. Last week I did Rising Star at the King and Queen pub. I opened with a quick topical bit I thought up while reading the news on the way to the gig, which got a decent laugh despite being a bit weak in hindsight. After that I got stuck into my usual set, and that went OK but I still wasn’t able to deliver it as smoothly as I’m aiming for.

On the night I was thinking about how I was delivering the same material last year and absolutely killing more often than not with it, but now the same stuff seems to be getting a much more mediocre response. It’s hard to tell whether it’s because I’ve lost some of the meat while I’ve been trying to evolve and sharpen it up, or if I’m just not delivering well enough. Either way, the only real answer is more gigs.

This week I started with We Are Funny Project on Tuesday, and it seemed to go a little better. I didn’t try to throw in any topical material, and stuck with my best five minutes, but I still couldn’t quite make it all the way through the material without peeking at the set list written on the back of my hand. I feel like I’m getting closer, but I really won’t be happy until I can deliver the whole set without thinking about it. And again, the only answer is more gigs.

Tuesday was also a bit of a downer because my bringer was my comedy bestie, Pauline, and it was to be the last time I’d see her for a while because she’s heading off traveling before she’s too old. We’ve become good chums since we met on a comedy course eight months ago, so I’ll miss her while she’s gone.

On Wednesday I did a spot at the South Kensington Comedy Club for the first time – I think it’s a relatively new night and seems to be run collaboratively by a few acts I’ve seen around on the circuit. Wednesdays are organised and MC’d by Louise Bastock, who I’ve seen a few times before and been impressed by her utter depravity.

I broke discipline for my set and instead of running through my material I tried to do a bit about being contacted by my sister, but I hadn’t really thought in through and even though I think the premise was OK I fucked up my punchline. I was able to segue reasonably smoothly into my usual set and things went enough after that. Most of it got laughs and there were a few big hitters. As usual though, there was no consistency, it felt like the biggest laughs came from bits that usually only get a mediocre reaction.

On the plus side I think I got through the whole set with barely a glance at my set list. I feel like I’m making progress, just slowly. I’m starting to get really bored of repeating the same material, but I know I need to keep working on it and stay focused on my objective – working it up to a solid 7 minutes for the SYTYF competition in heat in summer.

I can’t do any gigs next week, which is annoying but unavoidable, but I’ve already got a few booked for April and should hopefully pick up the pace again soon.  I realised that this week has brought me up to over 30 gigs – a small milestone, but still a tiny amount, and I really need to step up my game if I’m going to hit 100 by the end of the year.

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