Some gigs, as I've said, are just fucking weird. But then some weird gigs are actually quite fun. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to this comedy wotnot I've involved myself in. Last Night I rocked up, with a hopeful spring in my step, to Laughing Horse Camden, on the off-chance I could get a spot. I wasn't the only one, as it turned out. Between the booked acts and the walk-up comics there was something like ten potential performers, and as it turned out about half that amount of actual punters. I'm coming to see a pattern to gigs like this. There are effectively three options.
a) The gig gets cancelled
b) The gig goes ahead, the comics perform to each other and it's weird and uncomfortable
c) The gig goes ahead, and everyone has a bit of a laugh.
Option (a) is actually the least appealing, particularly at my level when every gig is exciting regardless of the amount of people in the crowd. You spend your whole day building up to it, thinking about your material, mentally limbering, being excited about stepping up to the mic once more. Imagine spending several hours watching porn and thinking about every delicious sexual encounter of your life in preparation for a night of unequaled passion with a sexy blind-date from some sordid website, only to realise -just after you've necked the Viagra- that you've got the day wrong and have to have tea with your Nanna instead. The only hope is to ensure the old dear isn't looking while you pathetically yank one off into the biscuit tin and have a bit of a cry. Cancelled gigs are a bit like that.
Option (b) is a bitter-sweet affair, where the sordid blind-date turns out to be 40 years older and ten stone heavier than her picture. It's not quite what you imagined, but there's usually something to gain from forging ahead anyway.
Fortunately this was a (c) gig, where it turns out the blind-date is actually an old girlfriend using a pseudonym. It's a bit awkward, not as spontaneous, but in it's own way quite comforting and worthwhile because everyone knows what to do.
It was decided not to charge the guests, and that everyone would try and do new stuff and everyone would get a go. Seeing as there was a couple of chums involved (Grainne Maguire was MCing, the ubiquitous Alistair Grieves was lurking around a corner and Lou Sanders who helped me get my first ever gig, was in fine fettle) there was a nice supportive feel, and okay, it wasn't the most perfect of comic experiences, but there's always something to take from gigs like this. Grainne, who really is a delightful comic, gee'd up the crowd quite nicely, only to have them remain stoney faced for the actual acts. In fact most of them vanished in the interval, despite some impressive hard work from the comics. The lack of actual punters (now down to one) didn't damped the second half though, if anything it went a bit better. Now playing purely to the comics, Lou delivered some of the strongest gags I've yet seen from her (and I've seen Lou Sanders LOADS), Alistair had some cracking stuff (Warhammer fans should look out for his Ice Planet gag) and Grainne was waving her Guinness around with obvious enjoyment. It was an even smaller crowd but everyone was pretty cheerful.
I went on last, and got introduced as the 'Headline Act', which if you were a paying punter would be bit like going to a Beatles gig to find yourself watching The Pete Best Band. Brilliantly Grainne got the single last genuine audience member in the crowd (who as it turns out wants to try stand up himself, he later revealed at the bar) to bring me on by repeating what she whispered in his ear. She had to tell him my name twice, which pretty much said it all (and I said so.)I decided to just do new stuff and play with ideas, managing to work up some bits I want to develop further, which was nice. It was quite exciting to set myself the challenge of not using ANY of the material from my more rehearsed set, and I quite enjoyed myself despite about 60% of the gags falling flat. I even did the Spandau Ballet poem.
Not the most successful of Comedy shenanigans then, but a nice time had all the same. Still, it will be nice to get away from the open-mic and playing-to-the-other-acts affairs next Sunday when I do One Mighty Craic.
One final thought for you, Jerry Springer style. Proof if proof were needed that vanity will ultimately make you depressed. I was googling my own name yesterday and came across this:
I don't know who this other Marc Burrows is, or how he met his demise. But I hope, wherever he is, his T-Shirt and Westlife tribute makes him proud, and that he is doesn't think i'm sullying his good name with my low quality beginner comedy. RIP indeed Marc B.