Again, we’re speeding through some here to get to Edinburgh… In this batch, I experience jazz comedy, get ROBBED in Shoreditch, am taught comedy by an Octogenarian and go home coz there’s no audience. (SPOILER: actual video footage in this post).
Gig no: 36. Where? Famous First Words @ The Gunners Pub, Arsenal
Why? I asked.
Who Held My Hand? My Wino Director Friend. Poor cow.
What Happened? I do 10 minutes of my Brixton-storming gig and it BOMBS. Well, it’s ok but it doesn’t bring the house down. I am performing to a small trickle of comedians again and that’s probably why. They haven’t PAID to see this, they have invested NOTHING. Shagging Mr Men is not funny to this crowd. F*ckers.
Famous First Words is run by the awesome Dylan Dodds. Immediately I arrive, he asks me to do 10 minutes instead of the planned 5 as he’s seen me and needs more stuff from women. LOVE positive discrimination. Dylan is funny and likeable and can cope with anything. This is the 1st Monday of the month and Jazz Comedy Night which means after the break, all comics perform their material to jazz music. I am completely fooled by his claims that the band are late so he will have to fill in not he drums as it turns out this is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS EVERY WEEK. I’m opening the 1st half as I’ve never done the gig before. As ever, it’s mixed night but after the interval things get interesting.
I spot Sean Sellers who headlined We Are Funny a while back. I like him, he dresses in a suit and looks professional. I need to do the female version of this. He rules at talking over jazz. His set is anecdotal and about the porn industry and he knows how to time it over the beat. It’s not punchline stuff but it works really well. The guy before him does punchlines and totally his jokes to Dylan’s drums – different but equally good. I’m fascinated. I want to do this gig. The whole challenge of timing delivery over jazz (a musical form I don’t listen to and don’t understand but which I am weirdly drawn to) appeals to me and I want a go. Another month.
In the interval, I experience that thing of saying “Well done” to less funny comics and them saying NOTHING in return. This happens particularly with one girl who has been merely ok and her friend. Both of whom don’t even acknowledge I’ve been onstage.
Gig no: 37. Where? Comedy Cirque, Old Street
Why? It’s on a gigs list Dave Black gave me and I’m working my way through ‘em.
Who Held My Hand? Not a bringer.
What Happened? It got cancelled. No audience.
I’ve only just met him but I feel really sorry for Gersch, the guy who’s running this night. It’s a lovely little room too, tiny and beneath the most EXPENSIVE BAR in the woooorrrrld. I’ve just been charged £8.50 for a gin and tonic and I want to puke on the barmaid who KNEW I couldn’t afford it.
I meet a lovely girl with multi-coloured hair called Leslie McJagger who gives me a tip off about a guy booking Edinburgh gigs and the wondrous Sikisa AKA Twix who I’ve seen at Comedy Virgins and who I now owe a cigarette. Sorry mum.
I did a last minute FB post about this gig as Ellie Taylor was billed at the last minute and it’s a rare opportunity to share a photo of me AND a famous comedian on the same flyer. Moments after the gig is meant to start, Gersch is on the phone to her, leaving messages not to come. It’s hot in London, it’s July 4th and not even papering the pavement with notes is bringing in an audience. One by one the comics bale and so do I. He’s not phased. It happens.
Gig no: 38. Where? We are Funny Project @ Farr’s Dance Studio, Dalston.
Why? I flyered for my supper.
Who Held My Hand? Not a bringer.
What Happened? I love this gig. It’s for Alex Martini, my current favourite Italian. I pulled out of a gig for him recently as I double booked myself. I figured I owed him some free flyering. He gave me 5 mins as a result. I HATE flyering but I’m good at it when I’m in the zone. Get one or two killer hook statements and shout them bravely at everyone passing, trying not to judge or cry when they ignore you or are rude. I’m fully in the zone tonight and fortunately so, one guy I flyer at is the guy who employs Alex Martini. He asks my name and thanks me. Thank god I didn’t smart my mouth off at him.
We get a good audience and I feel well proud as at least 8 of those are people I flyered. Believe me, that’s an unusual result. Three Turkish guys have turned up, it’s their first comedy gig and I direct much of my fetish material to them. I make another Edinburgh contact, Pauline Eyre who does a strong 5 mins of feminist stuff, says nice things and offers me 2 of her gigs with Njambi McGrath’s compilation night. I gigged for Njambi last week and beginning to see this comedy lark as one big spiders web of brilliant girls who are looking out for each other. Yippee.
I’m on early which is fine, it does mean the headliner never sees your act and tonight, our main turn is a woman I’ve never heard of and definitely should have. Lynn Ruth Miller is at least 100 years old and one of the funniest comics I’ve seen in ages. She does a tight, friggin funny and brilliantly pitched 20 minutes and wipes the floor with all of us. Its actually a good night for us girls, loads of us and really good.
Annabella Forbes is annoyingly young and good and one to watch out for.
Gig no: 39. Where? Lions Den, Shaftesbury Avenue. Again.
Why? Like this place. I get 10 mins and it’s tough.
Who Held My Hand. Blogger mate, Ian. Sorry Ian. This was a looooong dark night of the soul.
What Happened? I’m still perfecting my Mr Men stuff. I’m slightly losing the Acronym Sex Code stuff. It’s sounding old and doesn’t really have a rise to it, it just piddles out.
Wondrously, Ian gets to experience the girl who was there the first time I gigged at Lions – I won’t mention her name but I’ll call her Victoria’s Secret model. She’s amazing. Her act is all about how beautiful she is and how she doesn’t care that we don’t find her funny. And it’s not an act. She actually means it. Again, the men in the audience are confused. They want to fancy her but the blood just won’t rise as much as the bile.
I, however, will adore this woman forever as the guy on just before her told a few rapey-type jokes and the first things she does when she comes on is tell his to go f*ck himself and then lay into the women in the audience for laughing at him. She is a legend.
While I’m practising my set behind the curtain, rapey-guy walks past and apologises to me. I’m not sure how I feel about any of it, he came across rather anachronistic, even the MC tonight (who is fat, faintly misogynist and appalling, says how brilliant he is as “you don’t get much of that stuff nowadays”. Ahhh nostalgia.
The standard of this night is lower than usual. There are about 100 comics and the atmosphere is raw and testosterone-y. Just how I like it. I do this gig coz Tim gives me a regular 10 minutes (for some reason) and I LEARN. It’s practise for all the Jongleurs gigs I’m aiming pointlessly for. If I can storm this, and storm it by being ME, rather than end-of-the-pier Canterbury me, I will survive stag dos and thrive in comedy. I don’t storm it. I struggle. I’m boiling hot and knackered from lack of sleep. I feel a distinct dip in the middle of my Acronym shit and pledge never to do it again. There’s a table of girls at the back who just stare at me, waiting for me to finish. They owe me NOTHING. I realise later they are the hareem for one of the male comics who they suddenly come alive for. However, he is good so there you go. My hareem, Ian, deserves to see some different material and I need to write some more.
Surprisingly, as I drag my tired ass to the exit, a few blokes from the audience stop me to say well done.
Gig no: 40. Where? Funny Feckers @ The Constitution, Camden.
Why? It’s brilliant and you get filmed.
Who Held My Hand? My Wino Director Mate. She fancies the Irish MC.
What Happened? One of my best gigs yet. Totally new material about DNA testing. I wrote it that very day in my kitchen. It’s gonna be tight to fit it into 5 minutes so my brain has to pay attention.
I’ve thought more about how I present myself too. Less scrappy. More Sean Sellers. Without the suit. Have a look, see what you think:
More in control? Polished? Trustworthy? Finally some stuff not about dating at least.
My Wino Director Mate (who is currently directing Desiree Burch’s new Edinburgh Show) says it’s “intelligent, original and finally says something.” As a new comedian I’m getting used to these backhanded compliments. Wes, the Irish MC, is pleased and more importantly, so is the audience. I don’t know if it’s posse bee to fail at Funny Feckers, the atmosphere is so strong but I know personally that this was a good one. DNA is the first strong 5 minutes I’ve written since the Effing Competition.
Thank Feckers for that.
Gig no: 41. Where? Comedy Bin @ T-Bird, Finsbury Park
Who Held My Hand? Not a bringer but you still get told off.
What Happened? Ahhh Finsbury Park. Big scary HAIRY men all over the place. Love walking back from this gig on my own. Every time I say it’s the last. But there’s something about this gig that keeps me going back. It should be shit. A devil’s dungeon, no mic, not much audience and a guilt trip every time for not bringing 200 people even though it’s not a bringer night.
But I’ve not had a bad time yet.
Gwilum Argos is MC’ing as usual, telling jokes to songs that the audience requests. The audience is precisely 2 Italian men. That’s it. Which is fun as I’m doing my new DNA material about my husband being a surprise Italian. It goes down well.
If you score highly in pure English DNA, you’re pretty much sitting round a swamp in Wessex saying: “Please don’t shag us with the rest of the world saying “We don’t want to.”Of course, these results don’t go all the way back. Or we’d all be getting the same score: 100% fish based.
It’s a whole DNA thing.
Again, Gwilum seems surprised I’m good. But I like Gwilum, you can’t not like Gwilum. He’s called Gwilum.
Rick Kiesewetter is headlining tonight. I’ve seen him at Nice N Spiky and he’s brilliant. He arrives after I’ve done my gig which is a shame. I always want comics I think are good to think I’m good.
Pam Ford is here too. She’s doing a show in Edinburgh about pants. I like Pam Ford. She’s a bit loud for the dungeon but looks great in gold hot pants too.
The Italian guys like my Italian stuff. I have International approval and that’s good enough for me.
Gig no: 41. Where? Famous First Words @ The Gunners, Arsenal.
Why? I wanted to do Jazz Comedy but it got cancelled.
Who Held My Hand? Wino Director Mate.
What Happened? I was all set to do Jazz stuff here but Dylan Dodds the organiser got ill so I got rebooked on a non-Jazz night. The Jazz version of the Acronym Sex Code will have to wait. Tonight, I’m extending the DNA material from 7 to 10 whole minutes.
FFW is tricky. It’s a nice pub, great MC, you get a mic and a stage (not great lighting) but somehow it’s all a bit hostile. Not a bad crowd but it’s mostly comics and they watch mostly in silence. Dylan Dodds is great at laughing. He doesn’t mind laughing on his own. And he is. I decide to have confidence anyway. The DNA stuff is not gag-a-second, it’s just funny, interesting and different. It needs work to make it tight and survive a night like this.
Kaviraj Appadoo is here. I’ve masses of time for Kavi. He gigs like a maniac and is now filming himself every time so he can learn. “Be a teacher not a dick” is his new mantra. Meaning: criticise yourself positively, keep what’s good and bin the rest. Don’t just give up and say: “that was shit.” Decent words. Tonight he is trying new material, unformed, still at raw anecdote stage. Like mine. Still, that’s what Open Mic nights are for. Proving to yourself that you need to WORK AT THIS.
I spot Rick Kiesewetter too but he leaves before I’m on. Good. My set barely raises a smile.
There’s much talk tonight about So You Think You’re Funny AKA That Effing Competition. Lots of people know people who got through despite having loads of experience, even solo shows. I don’t know what to think. Maybe it’s bitter comics talking, maybe it’s true. I still haven’t heard back from the judge. I doubt I will. She must have had 8 billion emails from wannabe comedians. Maybe she left the country…