Gig no 28. Where? Comedy Bin at T-bird, Finsbury Park.
Why? Never done it and they let me.
Who Held My Hand? Not a bringer night.
What Happened? It’s the last time I’m doing my 7mins before this bloody competition, then I never want to talk about Uniform Dating ever again.
Finsbury Park is scary. There are some BIG HAIRY men hanging out on Blackstock Road (see main picture, in less scary days). They look like mafia of some kind and each is twice the width of a normal man. I put on my detached serial killer face I save for such occasions and head for this T-bird bar place. It’s tiny and empty. I wait in a working men’s pub just nearby. It’s cash only and full of flies. I feel more comfortable here.
Near check-in time, I return to meet some acts I don’t know and our host Gwilum Argos, a man with a cool name. He tells me immediately that I’m “far too happy for a comedian” and guesses I’ve not been doing it long. I’ll learn apparently. It’s not a bringer night and he seems irked we’ve not brought anyone. Well, I’m not going to waste friends when I don’t have to. Yikes. He guilts a couple of us into flyering. Whereupon I discover there is nothing, NOTHING more depressing than trying to hand out stand-up comedy flyers in Finsbury Park.
On returning, we seem to have snagged three audience members who are treated like GOLD BULLION and despatched to the cellar. It is a strange but likeable room. Funny how even the weirdest unlikely places can have atmosphere. On first encounters, it looks like an abandoned cellar in a house in Stoke-on-Trent, now used for ritual torture. There is a mic in a stand which doesn’t work. I debate just holding it for fun – WHAT WILL I DO WITH MY HANDS???
One girl has smuggled a bottle of wine downstairs and starts dishing it out. Comics get pressured loads by venues to buy drinks when they gig, this girl is a genius. We strike up a chant of “Satan, Satan” just to freak people upstairs out. There is no-one upstairs but it’s a fun idea and keeps us amused.
My fellow acts are good this night, an American dude with a beautiful girlfriend who has done loads in the US but is on the bottom rung here with us. And a guy called Dave Black who is brilliant. Really original, poised and very funny.
Gwilum is a funny creature, he appears awkward and nervous but delivers jokes to the tune of songs suggested by the audience on his guitar. It’s really hard and fully under appreciated by the small cellar group. I like him.
My set is well-polished and strong. I follow my Brighton notes and keep it measured and don’t push for laughs. It goes down well. Afterwards, Dave Black asks if I’ve got a gig list and offers to send me his. Brilliant. I thank Gwilum who says: “You were really good. When I first saw you, I didn’t think you’d be funny.” Double brilliant. Still like him.
What I have learned:
- Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park is scary.
- The people who live there don’t like stand-up comedy.
- They don’t like people who flyer for it either.