Gig No 16. Where? Word of Muff, Horse & Stables, Lambeth.
Why? I answered a FB ad.
Who Held My Hand? No-one. If it’s not a bringer night, I don’t waste friends. I’m learning.
What Happened? Another great example of Lizzie Hopley trotting off into the UNKNOWN to do godknowswhat for godsknowswho. Still, I like the name Word of Muff and I’ve not done an all-women comedy event before so I’m all for it.
Word Of Muff is produced a by a group of comediennes called 20% Less referring to the gender pay gap obvs. (Although this gig could be called 100% Less as I’m getting FECK ALL).
I actually have a friend called Muff. Its not her real name. It’s not even a nickname referring to her front bottom. The reason is long-winded and involves a trip to Scotland and some knitting. It’s just a funny word. Word of Muff does sound like we’re all going to be talking from our vaginas. I don’t really feel ready for this. I only saw my first Mooncup at a gig the other week. Still, “Walk into the room like a comedian” is my advice from the last gig so I do.
Upstairs at Horse and Stables is like a Queen Vic Set. The last show is over-running, an improv sketch show. It’s not really my thing. Impro is hard to get right at the best of times and this one is not going well. There are 4 people pretending to be in a car. None of them know what story they’re trying to tell and no-one’s listening to each other. It’s got 3 men in it. The Muff-stuff hasn’t started yet. The tiny spattered audience slump in leather sofas like stragglers at a public torture – horrified into mass coma. One breaks off from the front row to come speak to me. It’s one of the 20% Less girls who booked me. She’s lovely, if a bit anxious. Everyone watches us as the car sketch is still going and our conversation is the only interesting thing happening in the room. I’m told our Muff bit is a mixture of character comedy, improv, stand-up and sketch stuff. I’ll have a mic AND a timer. Cool. I slip out to drink more and wait for our Muff bit.
Small interjection: Stand-up is hard to do without DRINKING. London bar prices are making me POOR. And FAT.
I’m still using the Russian Reporter article “Fat When in Manchester are Turning Men Gay”. I need to try material more than once to make sure any of it works:
“What I want to know is how did she got so close to the Manchester Ship Canal and no-one pushed her in? That’s what Canals are FOR. Shopping trolleys, unwanted pets and Russian fucking fascists. Any kind of fascist for that matter. London is full of canals – I’m just saying.”
It gets a weak laugh. From the 9 people in the room who are AWAKE and still crying. The atmosphere is flat and faintly suspicious. If I was experienced, I’d comment on it and plug the room into the mains but I’m not so I just start my 5 minutes about being a Northerner…
The timer is a giant stopwatch counting down at the side of the stage. It looks like my life is running down its final 5 minutes. The room is long dead and I don’t do much to liven it up to be honest. I slightly want to kill myself. DURING my set. What’s good is I’m not nervous. But is this because I get the feeling it doesn’t matter? That’s awful. It should ALWAYS matter. I entered the venue like a comedian, I walked onstage like a comedian. I communicated with my dead-eyed audience. Tried to walk the line between fully engaged and working too hard. It’s as flat as f*cking ROADKILL.
The other Muff women are good and work hard, one impro group especially. They know the rules and are generous, inventive and funny. The other improv team sit silently on the fringes of the room. I guess this is payback for the silence during their car sketch. One of the 20% Less Team, Kemah Breon Bob, does her own stand-up set and has a killer line about birth control. I liked her very much.
What I Learned:
- F*ck London bar prices.
- I need my own hipflask.
- Be nice to other comics. Even shit ones who improv in imaginary cars.