A two out of three day today, which is an exercise in seeing the glass two thirds full, even if I did order a cheeseburger (c) Gary Larson.
The run went well – no superhuman identical twins today to put me off my stride, and I got round in 35 minutes which is very nearly the pace I had when I was doing 10k on the flat. Hey, I was never fast, but I’ve always been persistent.
Then in the afternoon to Whistle Binkies to MC the New York All Star Comedy Hour. It’s always a little awkward when I go onstage as I’m obviously not from New York, and the audience begins to question what else on the poster might be untrue: fair enough, we’re not all stars, it’s not precisely an hour but at least it is definitely comedy. Next year I will bring up my South-east Essex Two Star Tragedy Minute and set myself up in direct competition.
The NYASCH went well, I thought, for the first time, so kudos to Adam Strauss for giving me more second chances than I deserve. Afterwards I talked to Matt Richardson, who assured me that his first Edinburgh Fringe took a bit of getting into, but now he’s a very slick performer (my opinion, there). I have a rule of three on this, as with Brighton; it seems to take three goes at something before I get it good.
Mind you it’s possible to go backwards, and Everything is Purple was the victim of Lady Luck popping out in the evening and leaving us at the mercy of her camp neighbour, Outrageous Fortune.
The Dragonfly was heaving, and so too nearly, was the very drunk front row, who were in the venue before we were. They were six women celebrating a 21st birthday, had arrived late, and their reserved table upstairs had been given to someone else. By way of making amends, the venue suggested they sit in our space, which set us up for the nightmare that is performing a show to people who don’t want to see it.
My stuff is warm, friendly, inclusive and after a while, once the audience is on-side and relaxed, it all gets very subtle and personal. I didn’t get to any of the nice stuff that I really enjoy performing, because the front row were chatting and texting and doing all the things you do on a night out. I think the biscuit was finally taken when a bartender came in with a tray of drinks, and there was some controversy over who had ordered what.
It’s a venue intimate enough for me not to use a mic, but this evening just became an exhausting grapple with the front row, trying not to make them the centre of attention, and playing to the people appreciating it at the back, who, Raph assures me, were loving it. If only they could’ve swapped places at the start of the show, then we could’ve done the unicycle, 5% doubt and riot stuff, but it was not to be.
To the party’s credit, they did leave half-way through the show, and they left at the best possible time, ie. between me going off and Raph coming on. Raph had the rest of the audience clapping their departure, got people settled, and I reintroduced him so he could start fresh and fly with it, and he did. I stood at the back, laughing and thinking, ‘Well at least one of us is giving this crowd a good time!’ The moral question worked really well, and there was a palpable sense of relief when the room was all audience and no party.
Afterwards, Raph described the situation as me ‘taking a bullet’ and very kindly filled me with anaesthetic.
So, a bit of a disaster. Still, Laughing Coyote tweeted afterwards to say it was a ‘lovely show’, and if you can call it that under those circumstances, I’ll take the compliment and count myself lucky that at least they didn’t come close to the Worst Gig Ever I talk about at the top of the show. I’m a much bigger target on a much smaller stage…