Gig No: 42. Did this before Edinburgh and FORGOT. (i.e. wiped from memory).
Where? King Gong @ Comedy Store, London
Why? It’s my birthday.
Who Held My Hand? Writer Mate Joe & His Boyfriend, Blogger Mate Ian & Wino Director Mate.
What Happened? Everyone says this night is cruel. And it is. A social experiment in mob rejection. Over 20 wannabe comedians thrown before a drunk baying crowd who try at the earliest opportunity to SLAUGHTER THEM. You read the horror of the last one. If not READ IT. I put EFFORT into it and it’s a better blog than this. So why am I doing it again?
Honestly? I never lived through Ancient Rome, Medieval Britain. I’ve never witnessed a public execution. (I’m not really sorry about that). And I like horror films. I also like learning about human behaviour at a primal level, especially mass decisions. It’s not all base, sometimes mass decisions are clever. But usually cleverer than the mob thinks at the time. Coz they are instinct-led. And this is clever. And it interests me. Especially when I’m in the middle of it and not about to be beheaded. Or burnt. Good enough? Coz I’m on in the first half.
The place is packed as usual and I recognise a few faces – comedians wandering about looking dazed. Scouse comic wonder, Jamie Allerton has turned up with a mate in support. It’s always good to take mates to say: “Look. Look what we do. Look how brave we are.” For brave, read unhinged and needy. My lot seem already pissed and at least one watches through their fingers. Wino Director Mate has brought me birthday flowers. I stuff them under the seat. The last thing I want are people recognising me after I’m voted off as a failed-comedian-LUVVEE.
I’m on late in the first half. Is this good? The audience won’t be as pissed but they’ll be setting standards. At least the night flows quickly. And in a nutshell, most people DIE.
I try to detect some kind of pattern to the audience’s decisions. It seems that if one person gets a good response, they slaughter the next one regardless of what they’re like. The support comes in waves and sometimes they just get bored.
A Japanese guy gets through. He is literally adored from the moment he opens his mouth.
Then a woman. She starts by telling everyone she’s a professional so they’re ok, she knows what she’s doing. I close my eyes – she’s walking dead. But no, she gets through. They allow it.
Then a black guy who talks about how racist his mates are. It’s pretty impenetrable stuff. They simply can’t get him.
I’m hoping that, by opening with my fetishes line, sticking to my strongest material and punching out the laughs early, they’ll see I can do this and let me last 5 minutes. They don’t.
WHAT AM I THINKING? King Gong is another PLANET. They see a women up there for a start and you’ve already given them one reason to vote you off.
Let’s break down my failure shall we?
My first line: “Let’s get political and talk about fetishes.”
Nice laugh. They seem relived. Maybe I’m not what they expected.
Second line: “Now, I don’t have a fetish for uniforms… but.”
I don’t get to the “but”. A guy on the front row says: “Yes you do”. in such a brilliant tone, it brings the house down. I laugh myself, stressing the “but” and carry on. I’ve acknowledged the heckle, it’s ok. Going well so far. I continue about the stigma of online dating:
“People stop you in the street, they point the finger, they’re a little bit sick in their mouth…” I make the sound of being sick in my mouth. It gets good laughs. This is actually going well. My Fireman Sam bit – great. The line about not fancying Postman Pat: “As soon as a man gets a cat…”
That’s it, I’m voted off. 1 minute 18 seconds.
Are they a bunch of cat-lovers? Or Postman Pat fans? Or did the mob just collectively think, yeah she’s ok but fuck her.
Who TF knows.
I’m disappointed but get off quick. In the interval, the MC comes over: “Unlucky,” he says, “you had funny stuff. Sometimes it goes that way, they give someone before you an inch and you pay the price.”
That cheers me up. I still lost.
In the final cheer-off, the mob realise they are bored of the Japanese guy. It wasn’t his jokes, it was his funny accent and broken words. They’ve seen that now. Mass disappointment rolls off in waves. They want a new toy. There’s no clear winner and they settle on the black guy who at least is solid. The solid guy is crowned King Gong. Long ago, many a king was chosen this way.
What I Have Learned?
- King Gong is an fascinating experiment.
- That perhaps doesn’t need doing again.