Gig no 10. Where? Downstairs at the Kings Head, Islington
Why? Asked for it.
Who Held My Hand? No-one. Did this alone.
Why Took My Body Back to my Parents? No-one. See above.
What Happened? I DIED. I WAS SHIT. I was shitter than an old dry shit on a shitheap that someone has done a shit on. I won’t waste more words. Coz I made a video describing the full horror when I got home. Click away:-
There. That says it all. However, if you want more agony, be my guest…
There’s a waiting list for Downstairs at the King’s Head because this night is famous. It’s being going for years and every big comic has played here. There are strict rules when to call the guy who books you. He stays on the phone long enough to grumble a date at you. Coz he’s had years of talking to shite wannabe comedians like me.
It’s a freezing basement so I kept my coat on. This completed my look as a ‘Mum Out of Place’. The space quickly filled up. With actual excited punters, not just acts. I recognised the Romanian Mr Bean from King Gong. He was still wounded from the experience but even more wounded when this gig bombed. Witnessing me being WORSE might have cheered him up.
I was literally crippled with nerves.
So, I’d made plans:
1. Just talk to them
2. Be still. Don’t wave your arm around like a nob
3. Don’t try to force the funny by being quirky, just say the material
4. Use the mic. Don’t project like you’re not holding one
5. Visualise them naked
How I utterly fucked those plans:
1. I did just talk to them. Like someone’s unfunny mum would.
2. I was very still. But not as still as the audience I comatosed.
3. I did just say the material. Shitly.
4. I was so quiet, I could actually feel my voice pulling back from the mic and trying to escape back into my mouth
5. Didn’t do this. They were half my age. And I forgot.
When the compere introduced me, I walked past her outstretched hand, realised what I’d done, pulled her back and SQUEEZED HER ARM. I then pissed about moving the mic stand for 8 hours, muttering about being over-polite. No-one likes comics that bugger about with the mic. The audience sat in silence. GET TO THE JOKES. It was downhill from there…
I’d even asked a fellow comic to film me incase I was brilliant. He obliged. I now have footage of me being really really shit. For over 6 minutes. We were asked to do a tight 5. The compere walked towards every act to indicate their time was up. She came nowhere near me. She was too ashamed.
And no I am NOT posting the video. Even I can’t get past the first 10 seconds. It would rob over 6 minutes of your life. You’re WELCOME.
The nerves didn’t give me adrenaline and make me extra good. They flatlined me. Then, straight afterwards, I wanted to do it again. But properly. What a waste of everyone’s time. Was I shit because I was on my own? If my husband had been there, would I have been as shit? Probably. And he’d have said his favourite line: “Women aren’t funny. Fact.”
Bottom line is, I fannied about. I pulled jokes back into my mouth, I devoiced my own voice. I didn’t deliver a single punchline. I wasn’t even possessed by the spirit of a shit comic. This was me. Just being shit. And I’m not being self-deprecating. It wasn’t coz I told bad jokes or was mentally ill. I was dull. Flat. I embarrassed the audience. My mind was wandering as a big parade of shits of different sizes marched past the mic. I’m aware I’ve used the word shit a lot. Because it is entirely appropriate.
All the other comics ignored when when I finished. There was a distinct air of “Why is this Waitrose woman wasting everyone’s time? Why hasn’t someone TOLD her?” The guy I’d forced to film the event was in shock. He handed me back my phone, repulsed. I think he was a little bit sick in his mouth.
I ran from the building. Missed the bus. AND lost an earring.
What Did I Learn?
1. Don’t rely on the Comedy Gods to shine on you. Gods don’t exist.
2. I am never going to Crouch End again. I’ve never been before but that was the last time. In fact they might not let me back. I think I’m on a list.
3. Dying onstage at least gives you material for your blog.
Good things about that night??
1. The women. The compere, Sally-Anne Hayward was great, perfect, a natural. I’m sorry I gave her pain.
2. And I discovered Andrea Hubert, a kind of Jewish Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She was truly excellent and her website is fun too. She is utterly and entirely better than me.