MCing We Are Funny, and some other stuff

I’ve done a few gigs since my last post, but I’ve been lazy about posting, so I’ll try to cover them all in this one.

I’ve been at We Are Funny Project a couple of times. The first spot was just five minutes, and I used it to try polish some newer material I’ve been using in my longer sets. I think I’ve got a pretty decent five minutes, and a very woolly 10-15 minutes – the first five minutes is stuff I’ve been polishing for a long time, while the rest of it is a mixed bag of newer stuff that still needs work.

I was supposed to be doing 10 minutes at my second WAFP gig of the month, but a few hours beforehand the promoter asked me if I could help MC the show because he wasn’t feeling well. I’d do the first half of the night and Luke Terry would cover the second half. I jumped at the chance, even though I was feeling pretty ill myself and had been thinking of flaking out of the gig earlier in the day.

It’s been about two years since I MC’d a show, and I didn’t have a lot of time to mentally prepare myself for it (especially since I’d been focusing on memorising my 10 minute set) so the whole thing was a bit of a train wreck. But it was a fun night all the same and the audience was very forgiving of me flailing around like a complete amateur.

Next up, Sam Rhodes is running a new Comedy Explosion night every Friday at a cool little bar called Malt in Maltby Street Market near Tower Bridge, and I did a 10ish minute spot there. It’s a great little venue, with a proper stage and a nice crowd of locals, but my set was kind of mediocre, I have to admit, because I hadn’t really thought properly about what material I was going to do.

In between each act everybody in the bar would shuffle themselves around a bit – some leaving, some taking their seats, some getting drinks from the bar, and when it was my turn to go up, a large chunk of them left. This meant that I went up to a half empty room, so the energy suddenly dropped a bit, and I wasn’t feeling as confident as I should due to lack of preparation, so it was all a bit awkward.

I limped through with some laughs at my best bits, but it wasn’t my finest hour. Fortunately Nick Everritt (who I’d seen smash a 10 spot at WAFP earlier that week) went up after me as the closer and did an incredible job.

I’m back at Malt next week and I’m feeling better prepared, so hoping to redeem myself. Right now my biggest objective is to be more consistent; I want to be certain that if somebody offers me a spot at a proper gig, I can always deliver the goods, and not be dependent on whether I’m in the right head-space for it on that particular day.

Still having to remind people that I’m using a stage name now…

And that brings me onto the most recent spot, five minutes at Angel Comedy RAW in Islington. This is always a great new-act/material night with a decent sized audience. Their room holds about 60 people, and they never seem to have trouble filling it. I’ve been there three times now, and it’s been packed every time; this week was no different.

It wasn’t just a busy audience, they also had a full line up of 10 acts, compared to eight or nine on the previous nights I’ve been at Angel Comedy RAW. I didn’t know any of the other acts, apart from the wonderfully revolting Louise Bastock who I know from bumping into her regularly over the years.

This is one of those gigs where you want to do well, because it’s so hard to get a spot there. My plan was to open with a couple of my very best, punchiest bits, and then roll into some of that newer stuff I mentioned, and I made sure to spend some time practising it all earlier in the day.

So by the time I got to the gig I was feeling confident and well prepared, but on the journey over I suddenly had a bunch of ideas for new bits I could add into that material and I scribbled a couple of notes on my hand to make sure I remembered to do them. This probably wasn’t the best idea, but in the end the whole thing went really well, and everything worked as I’d hoped, even the new stuff.

The only small problem was a disruptive audience member, a drunk woman who wasn’t really heckling, just shouting out random pissed garble. I tried to handle it gracefully, and even got a decent laugh from the first couple of times I responded to her, but she wouldn’t shut up and I started to lose patience because I’d run out of funny things to respond with.

Fortunately the MC quietly dealt with her while I finished my set – I’m not sure if he removed her or just told her to STFU, because I couldn’t see past the stage lights, but I didn’t hear from her again. Her interruptions cost me time though, and I didn’t manage to get through all of my material, but I was able to finish on a solid laugh so I’ll take that as a win.

Right now I’m feeling happier and more confident with my longer set, and I feel like I’m coming up with new ideas again, after a bit of a dry spell.