Open Mic #6 at the Lion’s Den

I’ve got a spot booked at the Cavendish next week with a few friends coming, so this week I really wanted to practice my set and try tweaking a couple of things that aren’t working well. The Lion’s Den Comedy Car Crash seemed like a good option.

I’ve been there a few times before (twice as an act) and quite like the place. Some people complain about it being pay to play (admission is a fiver for everybody) but it suits me well because it’s easy to get a spot if you can show up early and you don’t need a bringer. The audience always seems varied, I’ve been on nights when it’s reasonably busy but I also did a spot there a few weeks ago when it was dead.

Last night was great – an American guy (who did a routine in costume as a redneck truck-driver) brought a huge entourage with him and we ended up with a respectable audience for a Tuesday night non-bringer open mic, so the room had good energy. They all stayed until the end too, which was helpful because I was the second to last act of about 20.

I think I did OK – I’ve realised my opener is weak and my closer is a bit meh, but the middle four minutes of my current material is solid and got good laughs all the way through. I didn’t feel as comfortable as I did at Funny Feckers last week – probably a combination of going up so late in the evening and never really figuring out how exactly I was going to open and close – so I think my delivery probably wasn’t as confident as I’d like.

Still, it worked reasonably well and the MC, Boyce, told me it was a good set as I left the stage, so I’ll take it. The timing was spot on too – I managed to finish my full set comfortably close to five minutes. I’m going to make some significant edits before next week, so I finish on my strongest bit and move my current closer to the middle (I think it can still work with polish, it’s just not a closer), and I really need to think of a stronger opening line.

I’m feeling confident that I can get the material whipped into a strong five minute set with a little more work. I’m itching to try out some completely new stuff, but don’t want to do that until I know this set is working as well as it can.

The night was split into three sections and the first two sections each had a headline act, both of which were very strong. The rest of the amateurs were a mixed bag – two in particular stood out (forgot names, I’m afraid):

Youngish white woman with long blonde hair and nerdy specs did some clever bits, but the audience didn’t react as well as it deserved because I think she was almost too subtle with some of her delivery. Tough situation, because she had some great material but it was almost too clever for a five minute open spot where you haven’t got much time for the audience to figure out what you’re about.

Asian guy from Bradford, I think he said that he was new to the comedy scene in London but had been around for a while up north – great stage presence, interacted with the crowd well and bounced through is material with confidence, wasn’t fazed by stuff not working. Felt a bit envious of his confidence on stage and it made me wonder whether that’s something that comes naturally or if I’ll eventually get that good with experience.

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