Gig no: 26. Where? Pick of the Fringe at The Quadrant, Brighton Comedy Festival BABY!
Why? Applied for it online and struck lucky
Who Held My Hand? My very tired husband, my glamorous actress friend and her Aussie partner.
What Happened? I’m performing in the very last gig of the very last day of the Brighton Festival. This has excited me for WEEKS. Then I get to Brighton and realise everyone’s gone home. Yep Lizzie Hopley’s arrived and Brighton isn’t interested in Comedy.
What’s the secret of stand-up again…?
I am BEYOND ignorant of Stand-up festivals. I’ve heard of Edinburgh OBVS but Brighton is new territory and their brochure is almost as heavy. I don’t have a show, I’m just hanging on coat tails so I can say “I’ve played Brighton”. My next trick is to do 5 minutes on the corner of Tropicana Avenue and the Strip and put “I’ve played VEGAS” on my CV. Soooo clever.
The Quadrant is cool. A weird shape and a grungy vibe with a great upstairs space seating about 50. There are about 18 audience in total when we start, including a very odd woman who talks throughout everyone’s act and a man who comments “that was a good joke” every time he identifies a deliberate cracker joke punch line. He is silent throughout my entire 10 minutes.
My 3 guests sit on the 2nd row. Which is the front row at a stand-up gig coz no-one sits on the front row. So they are sitting on the front row.
I am excited and chatty with the other men. I say men because they ALL ARE. None of them want to talk to me. They want to do their bit and f*ck off on the train back home. I have never felt more gimp-like. But I don’t give a shit, I’m doing comedy in Brighton. I’ve brought a suitcase coz we’re staying with my mates tonight and the MC accuses me of stealing it when I arrive. It always bodes well when the guy announcing your act thinks you’ve the face of a criminal.
Alex Petty is the booker from Laughing Horse, the comedy empire behind this gig. He sits at the top of the stairs signing everyone in. He looks ready for all this to be over. I don’t care. This is my Brighton debut. Always liked Brighton. It’s the place I always took my little sister when she came to stay (almost lost her in a dingy on the TIDAL SEAS which was not intentional). The pier is not the same. All my favourite things have gone: The Pirate Swing, the Donkey Derby, the Lost World Arcade Game. Bastards.
I get through 10 minutes with some laughter and am fairly happy. My companions give me notes afterwards. (I did solicit this. Is I deserved it). My glamorous actress friend says: “Use more power. I’ve seen you terrify an audience. I want to see THAT Lizzie.” Her Aussie partner says: “Yeah and do it slower. You were 2 jokes ahead of us and we were just playing catch up.” He is Australian tho. My husband just yawned. He’s been doing a lot of night shifts. It’s food for thought though. Maybe I need to terrify more. With jokes.
What I Have Learned.
- I need to work on my stage persona more, not just the material.
- On the last day of a comedy festival, NO ONE is funny.
- I have the capacity apparently to terrify an audience. It must be my criminal face.