7 Minutes at Battersea Power Comedy

I didn’t gig last week because I was in Nice with my trotters up, but this week I had a spot at Battersea Power Comedy. My bringer was Pauline Stobbs, another act I made friends with a year ago when we got started together. She’s currently spending some time in Australia, but was back visiting the UK for a couple of weeks so it was a good opportunity to catch up.

A few of the registered acts dropped out, but it was still a decent night because one guy brought a load of friends and a couple of people wandered in from the bar, so there was a reasonable audience. The night was a mixed bag of experience levels, a few very new acts and a few more polished guys – some of the people who stood out for me were Michael Eldridge, Kazeem Jamal Faturoti-Edwards, and Daniel Mahony.

At the moment I’ve got a good chunk of material (probably close to 10 minutes) loosely around the same theme of being a dad, and before every gig I decide which bits I’m going to use to make up five minutes, usually starting with the same opener and closer but mixing up the middle. Since there were a few dropouts the MC, Zach Dills, wasn’t being too strict with the time-keeping, so instead of sticking to the five minutes worth of bits I’d scribbled into a set-list on the back of my hand, I did as much of the stuff as I could remember. 

I think it ran to about seven minutes and it mostly seemed to go well, although I tried the riskier of my two openers which only seems to work about half of the time, and this was not one of those times. I rearranged my closer a little, because I’ve noticed that part of the story often gets a bigger laugh than the main punchline, and I want it to end on the biggest laugh. It worked well enough, but I should probably try properly rewriting it so that it hangs together a bit better. 

Because there were a few dropouts and the lineup was looking more sausagey than the Chariots Sauna Summer BBQ, Zach offered Pauline a spot. Considering she only had a few minutes notice and hadn’t gigged for over six weeks, she did a solid job of delivering some of her best material from memory. 

This made me realise what a bell-end I am for always relying on a set-list on the back of my hand – sure my brain is old and fucked, but I’ve got enough well-worn material now that I should be able to fill five minutes without needing notes. 

I’m challenging myself not to use notes from now on unless I’m trying out a completely new set. This starts next Wednesday, when I’m on at the Cavendish for my 50th spot.

In other news, I’m going to San Francisco with work for a week in September and I’ll have most of the evenings free, so I’m currently researching open-mic nights in the city with the plan of trying to do as many as I can while I’m there. 

Gig Count: 49

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