Gig 7. Where? Blackout, Up the Creek. Again.
Why? This gig is my EVEREST.
Who Held my Hand? My husband, his Welsh mate and my Blogger mate, Ian. And guest photographer. You ‘eard. PHOTOGRAPHER.
What Happened? I LASTED THE WHOLE FIVE MINUTES!! I BEAT THE BLACKOUT!! Seriously, back off Wonder Woman, half my material was written on a piece of paper that fell out of my pocket in the BOG. (And thanks to Welsh mate secretly filming on his phone, there’s FOOTAGE of me actually realising this ONSTAGE. Wanna see it?? Read on… I’ve still not decided, while typing this, whether to post the link. I’m neeeerrrvous of it being seen by another human soul…)
If all this sounds like victory snatched waveringly out of the jaws of defeat, that’s coz it is. The night did not start well. I left half my material at work. So right before the gig, instead of posing for the paparazzi, I was scrawling out what I could dredge from my head in a Wetherspoons.
Bringing a photographer to a gig is a risk. You risk looking like a TWAT. Posing with a mic in view of early audience members, all thinking: “What a twat. I hope she’s on tonight so we can deliberately not laugh.” But I had NO pictures of myself doing stand-up. No proof at ALL in fact that anything I am telling you in this blog is true.
WHAT’S THIS BLACKOUT AGAIN?? You get 2 free minutes of stage life, then 3 audience members can vote you off, whereupon the lights go out and you’re dragged into the Thames. The first time I did it, I had the super-keen energy of a CBBC presenter and wore an orange polka dot blouse, almost to present a clearer target. The second time, nerves wiped my brain and I dried. Twice. This time, I dunno – some magic happened. I FLEW. I had superb energy, perfect timing, I was totally in tune with the audience, got big laughs, spouted ad-libs that worked, survived losing my material half-way through. I loved it, THEY loved it. Now I know what it feels like to soar onstage as a stand-up.
Problem is, I’ve no idea WHY or HOW it happened.
Want a really good football analogy? Well here’s one anyway:
I used to play football. Seriously. In Hyde Park. I f*cking hated it. It was a Women in the Arts team and I lasted 3 weeks. I was SHITE. I HATED running. I got angry when people kept taking the ball. And I got told off for kicking a fat girl in the shin. BUT I scored one goal. The only goal I’ve ever scored in my life. And it was a beauty. Most importantly, it was NOT an accident. Sportspeople talk about being completely in your body. I’m an actor, you’re totally supposed to do this onstage and it’s much harder than you think. Because of the distractions and the boredom and the ego and… just because. But this was one of those times I got perfectly aligned. Brain and body came together and time slowed down. I KNEW I was going to score. I saw Pythagorus drawing lines of alignment on the grass. It was like Divine Intervention. No wonder footballers think they’re gods and get paid squillions. For that moment, I was a GODDESS. With a neat inside arch sweep. (Dunno. I just made that up).
This Blackout was like that. The chemistry in my head was right. For NO reason whatsoever. Nerves, endorphins, serotonin, egg sandwiches? Who the f*ck knows but I wish I could bottle it and drink it daily. Because now I know what I can do when I’m like that. And I have no idea how to do it again.
Anyway, thanks to WALES, I now have proof that it happened ONCE. And I have to watch it, learn from it and sent it out to every promoter in the universe as proof that I’m not shit. Or at least wasn’t on one occasion. And then start, I dunno, being in my own body more? Taking notice of Pythagorus?? WATCHING FOOTBALL???
Wanna see this gig then?? Christ. Click away: Hopley Mounts Everest
Notice the red light? Yep, I get one vote off. From a woman who didn’t like the following on 80s telephone chat rooms:
“Of course, you didn’t phone a telephone chat room to chat, you phoned a telephone chat room to wake up the Chat Room Monitor. With things like: “Hi, I’m Mandy and I like Smash Hits and netball and being taken up the arse by the family dog.”
It was a bestial anal sex joke so fair do’s.
I didn’t win of course. Everest is still there. I was a runner-up. The management are smarter than that. They’re looking for people who can convince regularly. Who manage the 5 minutes like a professional. And don’t leave their material in the toilet. Some Northern guy won. I didn’t catch his name. He had the neatest timed 5minutes I’ve seen. The music went off right on his punchline. Beautiful.
What Did I Learn?
- Check your pockets when you leave the bog.
- ALWAYS learn stuff on paper. Part of my act was a list I thought was funnier to read off the page. So I didn’t learn it. Reminding me of that actor anecdote where some guy playing a messenger HATED the lead so handed him a blank piece of paper onstage instead of a letter. The lead handed it back saying “why don’t you read it to me?” Moral: from the big to the small, actors are c*nts.
- Gong Nights are a steep learning curve. A fellow comic warned me off, saying they’re cruel and can destroy a new comic. Truer of King Gong but if it works for you, why the hell not?
- Get gigs snapped and videoed whenever you can. You never know when you’ll do a Gareth Bale. (Totally had to look that up. Apparently he’s a footballer.)
- Be like Gareth Bale loads more.
THANKS TO THE OTHER STARRING NATIONS:
All Blackout photos taken by Kevin Murphy, a superb actor and photographer who knows how to snap comedians. He’s also one of the most upbeat Irishmen I know. Bordering on the annoyingly so. Nothing is a problem and there’s no time like the present. I asked him to maybe do some pictures later in the year as maybe I was trying to be a comic. He was in the diary within a week. F*cking Irish.
The Youtube footage by husband’s Welsh mate has led to me getting loads more gigs and qualifying for So You Think You’re Funny 2017. Welsh mate has asked for 30%. That’s more than most comedy agents right?? F*cking Welsh.