Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Show By Any Other Name....

Its funny how sometimes with certain elements of comedy, you can become slightly too accustomed to tradition. It took a long time for me to realise that you can't treat every gig as the same and I have horrific memories of returning to do a ten minute set at the Banana Caberet several years ago, after having stormed a five minute one a few months before. The previous set I had gone in full steam ahead, every ounce of energy like a tiny bearded Tazmanian Devil. I'm fairly sure the Tazmanian Devil has a sort of beard. Does it count as a beard if you already have hair all over your face? If not, that is a sad time. I guess bears and wolves have to make a special effort to get extra chin hair to look like druids or rock stars. Or maybe in mammal terms you have to shave around the chin? Anyway, I digress, and now gress is a different colour. Arf. Sorry. Right back on track, although I am in Starbucks in Muswell Hill and in the middle of typing this three Muswell Hill type teenagers have sat opposite me and insist on over elongating the ends of their sentences and saying 'like' a lot. I'm not sure how this will affect the blog but I expect through irritation you may notice anger and discontent appearing in the midst of its content.

So noticing the energy trick worked on the first attempt I burst onto the stage with similar energy to a thunderbolt with a hyperactive thyroid gland, only to find the audience all relaxed chilled and not impressed that I was more in their face than a deep set blackhead. This then lead to 10 very awkward minutes of silence until a man noticed I was wearing a Spiderman tshirt and asked why I dressed like a child and I stumbled off miserably. Anyway to cut that story that's ended even shorter, I learnt that night not to treat any gig the same. Over the years I've learnt how to make it seem like a gig hasn't thrown me in any way or figured out how to adapt to the crowd (not always but mostly), but I still get thrown completely by certain things.

Last night's Fat Tuesday was one of those ones. I know our Fat Tuesday crowd. I know several of them by first name, I recognise more as they pass through the doors of the Compass, and I know not to have to patronise them by telling them to turn phones off or stop talking through acts. They are lovely comedy savvy people and know how to behave at a gig. In the history of our 5 and half year run, there have only ever been two shit gigs and they were both just before Christmas. One featured an arsey loudmouth heckler, and one involved a Christmas party of human rights lawyers who stood up to pour each other wine despite being in the second row and talked all the way through. Since then, I refuse to hold an FT too soon to Xmas and nor do we allow groups. Last night's show didn't suffer any of these problems. Instead due to the excellent combination of Steve Hughes and Glenn Wool, we had a crowd with only 3 regulars in and all the rest of the 100 people were metallers. I like metallers. They are often awesome relaxed people, except when moshing. But what I didn't know is that they would be hugely impatient, fidegty and in need of drinks every two seconds. This meant after one act, instead of waiting for the next two to pass so they could get more drinks in the interval, they were up and racing around for cigarettes and lager within seconds.


Sorry. So I was suddenly in a difficult position. Due to various reasons we were away from our usual home of The Compass, and instead in the lovely New Red Lion Theatre, with a whole new audience that I didn't know how to control. I was stuck as the MC not being able to do too much between acts or the night would run on forever...


...but at the same time it was mean to the acts to throw them straight on to what appeared to be a busy airport lounge for private flights to a Metallica concert. In the end we ploughed on and all the acts rocked it, with the audience calming down as the evening went on. Many thanks to Julian Deane, David Schneider, James Dowdeswell, Glenn and Steve who were all ace. It just wasn't a Fat Tuesday. In name yes, but in nothing else. I know my gig and that wasn't it. No one's fault but you can't change too many component parts of a working night. If we'd been in a different venue with the same crowd, it'd have been fine. If we'd been in the same room with a different crowd, also good. But the two variables? I would make for a poor mark on a science GCSE hypothesis that's all I'm saying. We're not sure where FT will continue to be next year but I'm going to try my best to make it the gig it's always been again or I'll have to call it quits. Sad times.

And I lost my new hat. That's the second peaked beanie hat I've lost in 2 months. I think I am destined to have a cold head. Still, better than to be hot headed. That causes arguments.

This blog needs to end now before the schoolgirls discussions about how much they hated their year 7 history teacher are going to get interrupted by an old man telling them how little he cares and can they be inane more quietly. This is definitely a sign of age. I remember a time when three school girls sitting next to me would have been a highlight. That was about 15 years ago, admittedly. Now I'm honestly wishing all schools round here were boarding ones that denied their students any possible glimpse of freedom purely for my own sanity. Sigh. I'm such a horrible middle aged miser.

On a final note, Nat Luurtsema was on The One Show last night with her very funny musings on having to go and live with your parents again later in life. There was a tiny unnamed appearance by me too, where Nat kindly calls me a 'failure' which is why she's my friend. If you didn't get a chance to see it, have a look here:


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