Last night's gig was close to home. It was in Reading. I was so close to home that I was even able to hang around after the gig had finished, chatting... on a Sunday... near midnight... and still not fear for my bedtime.
At the start of the night I was asked if I wanted to open or close. Without missing a beat, I opted to close. I felt a bit of a prima donna doing this, but I guess I was playing the odds fairly. I was probably the most experienced act and could, therefore, roll with the punches better regardless of how the audience were going. Opening, I might have a difficult job warming the room up, but I wouldn't necessarily be helping the rest of the night... plus there was a likelihood that a number of the audience would have left by the end of the night (which they did). So I opted to close. I don't regret it. The promoter left a message on Chortle saying that she was glad I chose this.
I still think it's a bit presumptuous to declare yourself the headline act.
It was a new material night. Free entry. No fee (not complaining - it was local). We were in a side of a pub - not a separate room, just a separate area. There were noise-distractions from the rest of the place and there was a fairly small audience, many of whom were acts.
The gig radar had predicted smaller numbers and a more quiet night. In addition, some of the murmurings from the young churchgoers at the back of the room had even made me fear that the audience would tail off quite drastically after the first section of the show. As it was, there was an attrition rate, but it wasn't too bad.
When I took to the stage at the end, I had dithered over what I would do and I even took a notepad with a vague running order on it. I mixed stuff about a bit and did my Britney Spears song, the one I'd forgotten the other day. It's amazing how a bit of time to internalise a song, coupled with some rehearsal (I've rescued a guitar to have in my bedroom) can really improve your chances of performing a song without screwing it up. It wasn't incredibly funny, but I've yet to learn how to make it so.
I had a really good time and by combining three things I think I made a good gig of it. It went well enough that people who had been ignoring the comedy came from other parts of the bar to see what was happening and then they laughed along too. That's good. The three things were:
- Seeding amusement by faking merriment
- Throwing myself totally into the performing of the material (I did that more so than usual, though not consistently)
- Remembering to enjoy it when it was genuinely going well, thus building a momentum of enjoyment, requiring less faking
I think that my previous night watching Bill Bailey give a cracker of a gig that he enjoyed doing had reminded me that part of the secret of comedy is finding funny and enjoying it.
I did about 32 minutes. It's the longest set I've done this year. I've done longer sets and I can't remember for the life of me what I could possibly have included in those sets that I didn't include last night (AND last night I had two new songs!). I probably need to go back over some old recordings and find out what material I've forgotten.
I recorded this gig, as I do with most gigs these days. I listened to it this morning and the recording didn't sound like it was going as well as I remember it going at the time. I guess you had to be there. :)