Gig No. 11. Where? Comedy Virgins, Cavendish Arms. Again.
Why? Coz I WON A TROPHY there and after last week’s UTTER DEATH I’m hankering after past glory.
Who Held My Hand? My writer mate, Joe. He quite likes being a +1. He’ll learn.
What Happened? I DIDN’T DIE. What more d’you want?
Last time I stood up in front of an audience, I shovelled myself into a well-deserved grave using my own MOUTH. This is my chance to re-mount the pantomime horse. Most sensible people would run for the hills of normal mic-less life. But I’m hooked on this shit now. It’s addictive. I’m an addict.
My unsuspecting mate Joe comes along for the ride. Before we go inside the pub, a pigeon shits on his jacket which is obviously an OMEN.
Comedy Virgins is a looooong night. It’s also massively entertaining as the standard of acts range from the sublime to the sectioned. There’s a new compere tonight. Adrian Tauss. Instantly likeable, the audience love him. I have Dry Mouth again. What is UP with this dry mouth shit?? I am so boooooored of having a dry mouth. Water’s useless. It washes away spit. Beer’s equally useless but takes the edge off. I’m doing the Rob Brydon tongue bite* so often now, I have permanent scarring on my taste buds and can’t distinguish sweet or sour on one side of my mouth.
*This sounds disgusting but refers to a tip from Rob Brydon’s Small Man in a Book for when your mouth gets dry onstage: bite your tongue hard and your mouth will water. From the pain. It kinds works but your eyes water too. Result: you look nervous AND upset. And can’t taste food properly. And he made 3 series of The Trip…
Comedy Virgins seem to have dispensed with the random name-call now(??) and I’m up 9th. It’s a rocky start, there’s some fine tuning needed but I nicely reference a girl who been on before me and claims to have a shallow vagina:
“Imagine dating a Ryan Air trolly dolly. Imagine the hidden extras. You’d have to buy your own meals, buy your own drinks. Pay to stay over, pay for the extra cock-room. (I point to girl) You’d be fine.”
Big laugh. I notice if I put a slight pause between ‘extra’ and ‘cock-room’, I get a bigger laugh. What’s comedy again? —- Oh yeah.
Watching over 20 new acts in one night is a mighty learning experience. A girl in a yellow jumper wins the audience over by literally failing to remember lines. Another guy wins the trophy by having no material at all. We love an underdog in the UK. I know nothing about performing overseas. Do they feed the underdog? Or eat it??
The amazing Russell Kane does a turn about how vocally supportive US audiences are throughout your act, whereas British audiences, despite being more welcoming when you enter, instantly hit a deathly silence of “now be funny, jester.”
I am learning this quickly. Your opening few seconds during that healthy lull when you take the mic is CRUCIAL coz that’s when a British audience decide whether or not to STONE YOU TO DEATH.
At Comedy Virgins, if the crowd shout “Buy them a drink!” at the end of your 5 minutes, you go through to a cheer off to win the trophy. If you’ve won it before, AS I HAVE MOTHERF*CKERS, you don’t go up onstage. I get the shout tonight and, when Tauss asks everyone onstage, for some reason, I get up too. Then have an embarrassing walk back when my name’s not on the list, watched by the audience all thinking: “Look at her. Look at her trying to win another trophy coz she thinks she was so funny with the vagina joke. Let’s stone her.”
Joe has notes at the end. “Don’t mention your age,” he says. (I’ve been self-conscious since I started doing this that I’m not a keen, eager 20-something. So whenever I can, I reference being ancient.) Joe culls that habit. “We’re confused when you say it. Your energy isn’t old, you don’t look old. Being old isn’t your thing.” I want to have sex with Joe.
His second note is about the Acronym Sex Code.
“You know in the olden days when, to get a date, you had to put an ad in a newspaper and pay by the letter? So the Acronym Sex Code was born. WLTM: would like to meet? SWF: single white female? SOH: shags own horse… I dunno, I liked guessing. Of course, it’s gone online now, it’s grown up. AL: animal lover. That’s changed. As for W/S…”
“Don’t use W/S,” says Joe. Everyone knows what that means and have done for a million fucking years.” I feel old.
What I learned:
1. Getting back on the comedy horse is essential, easy. And nice.
2. Pigeon shit is not always a bad omen. But is does bleach fabric.
3. Being old isn’t my thing mofos.
*If you don’t know what W/S in the Acronym Sex Code means, ask your mum.*