Exploding Virgins of the Comedic Variety

Another two gigs this week, starting on Monday at Sam Rhodes Comedy Explosion at The Cornershop bar in Shoreditch. This night is normally run in the main bar area, so as well as people who’ve turned up for the open mic night you also get random drinkers in the audience, which is a mixed blessing.

On this night, however, the bar was busier than usual, so the gig got moved down to the basement room where there were no random drinkers, but a decent turnout all the same.

I’ve been opening with a bit about anti-vaxxers, but I recently decided to drop it because it’s not as punchy as an opener should be. I’m glad I made that call because one of the other acts did a very similar bit, which made the decision to shelve it easier.  It sort of worked OK sometimes, but it was never as strong as I would have liked, and now that I know somebody else is using a similar joke I’m happy to just abandon it entirely.

My set went as well as I could hope for, given that I was on second to last so the audience had thinned out and the room’s energy was flagging. Most of it worked as expected, a few bits fell flat, but it’s all good practice. And thanks to Aaron Shipper who snapped that new photo of me over there in the sidebar.

On Wednesday I was at Comedy Virgins which, being one of the best known bringer nights in London, is always pretty busy for an open mic. Twix was MCing, and Akin Omobitan was on too – I feel like I haven’t been to the Cavendish for a while, so it was good to see two of the regulars doing some new material.

I went up early in the show, third or fourth I think, and I reckon I did a good job – the audience gave me solid laughs all the way through and it felt like a lot of them shouted for me to go through to the clap-off. I think I’ve been in the Comedy Virgins clap-off about five or six times now, and it’s starting to bug me that I’ve never managed to clinch one of those little plastic trophies – always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

I’ve been working on this set a lot over the past couple of months, and that’s really starting to pay off because I can deliver it with confidence. A few people have told me recently that I look like I’ve stepped up a level, and I got similar feedback at this gig too.

I’ve replaced the anti-vax opener with a reliable old bit that I usually follow it up with, and with a bit of tweaking I’ve realised that it works perfectly well as an opener in its own right. The setup takes a while, so it’s about 30 seconds to get to my first punchline, but I messed around with the language a little and now the setup is funny too, although not so much that it derails the bit before I get to the punchline.

I feel like I’ve got most of my current material nailed, and now I need to start trying out new stuff so I can build my set out into a solid 10 minutes. I’m back at Comedy Explosion on Monday, so I’ll be propelling a fresh load of excrement at the brickwork in order to assess its adhesiveness.



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