Gig 14. Where? Comedy Hideaway, Archway. Now a ping pong club. Not my fault.
Why? Someone answered my email.
Who held my hand? My LA mate, Evan, who filmed it. (Fancy, huh? And no you can’t.)
What Happened? This entire open mic night closed down the night I performed. Shut up. While I am rehearsing my act on camera, the Albanian owner starts measuring his basement for ping pong tables. At least I hope that’s what he’s doing. Yes, ping pong brings in more cash than comedy. ALBANIAN FACT. He totally asks my opinion on his idea and, after admiring the many tattoos on his arms and neck, I tell him in no uncertain terms that his is the worst idea in the history of themed bars and the British public will ALWAYS want stand-up over ping pong.
Then I double check that he is Albanian and not Russian as this is my first night of doing political material and I’m going to be talking about Russian attitudes to gays.
Yep, this night is my brave attempt to move away from stuff about dating. It’s so new, I am literally learning it in the pub garden before the gig. No matter how well you learn stand-up material, the LIVE EXPOSURE of the event will WIPE YOUR MIND, especially on the first delivery. There’s a rhythm you’ve not found yet, the ground anchors of your jokes are not in place. Funny thing though – after one single rendition before a live audience, it’s pretty much seared into your head with a blowtorch. Then you can shape, prune and edit and f*ck about. Tip for exam students: if you find learning shit hard, perform it in front of a pub crowd.
“Did you read the headline recently? “Fat women from Manchester are turning men gay!” A Russian Newspaper columnist came over from Moscow and visited Canal Street in the Gay Village in Manchester. And got a bit of a shock. She wrote home to the men of Moscow with a warning, she said “I’ve see fat woman and gays running around and I think I’ve spotted a link!”
I’m nervous of the next bit. It mentions Theresa May. The current 3 main horsemen of the stand-up apocalypse are : May, Trump and Tinder. Audiences audibly groan at them, they’re heard so often. I’m hoping mine is sufficiently different? I tell a true story about the time I saw a fat girl in Manchester sit on a guy who was beating up his girlfriend in the street:
“He never moved again. I think she forgot he was there in the end. She was doing a Theresa May with chips in one hand, drink in the other – but better. Coz Northern girls know how to hold their chips and their ale and fucking SORT OUT THEIR COUNTRY.”
Quick, phone HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU immediately, I am FRANKIE BOYLE.
Shame the footage of me delivering this cutting edge comedy GOLD is so BAD. It’s not filmed badly. My friend Evan is a proper film maker. He was born, lives and works in Hollywood. Oh no, Evan filmed it beautifully. I’m just so arrogant in it, I could swallow my own FACE.
I was dry-mouth-nervous AGAIN, so papered over it with cockiness. I come across as a middle-aged woman who loves herself. Funnily enough, the new material goes down best. I say that but the room is full of comics and most just arrive for their set and leave straight afterwards. I need to get used to this. You’re expected to laugh at others whilst getting nothing for yourself. BRING ON THE ALBANIAN PING PONG.
The other comics are a mixed bunch. One improvises about hating his sister. For 5 minutes. Brave. Another guy asks for a fictional character and a situation from the audience and does Superman at a job interview for 5 mins. 5 minutes is a long time. He struggles after 2. I see Kaviraj Appadoo for the first time and fall in love a bit. Mostly with his hair. He has instant likability, even when he fucks up a joke. One girl is extremely confident talking about vaginas and shows us her Mooncup (which Kavi insists later was used). It did end up in his face.
At the end of the night, we few comics who stayed (and Evan) are thanked by the MC who lets us all in on working for comedy-killing Albanians. On a live mic. You can see the penny drop and he suddenly shits himself and checks there are no staff downstairs.
Afterwards, Evan gives me LOADS of feedback. He’s an amazing director/actor/writer and forensic in his attention to detail. He directs me to put inverted commas round newspaper headlines in future. And he says I have to be more personal and not worry about being current. “Tell more stuff about your life, it’s hilarious.” (Hmmm). “Seriously, the most important thing is YOU. That’s material no-one else has.”
True I guess. The Manchester newspaper article is old now. It’s as dead as this comedy night. This was it’s one outing ever. I feel sad. It’s an EFFORT to make up jokes. Comics who do current affairs are obviously heroes. I guess thats what TV comedy panel shows are for. Disposable jokes for DAVE.
What I have Leaned:
1. Don’t cover nerves with arrogance. Use concrete. Much like an Albanian might.
2. What a Mooncup looks like. I must admit, I was slightly underwhelmed.
3. Current material dies overnight.
4. Don’t slag off your Albanian bosses on a live mic.