I had my hair cut on Friday lunchtime. I bet my hairdresser that the audience at the gig would be difficult. I said that if they were a dream, I would give my fee to Comic Relief. I couldn't lose. In the situation where I had to hand over the money, I'd have bought (from the comedy gods) a nice crowd. If they were a bunch of bastards, then I, at least, got to keep the money.
I kept the money.
The crowd didn't want comedy. They didn't want to listen. They wanted to be excited and shout abuse. They made me laugh. Hard. I laughed at the sheer ridiculous hopelessness of putting a comedy night on in that setting. Then I laughed with schadenfraude at the other comedians' deaths. Sorry, but it's often quite funny to watch this...
Then, after everyone had had a bad night, and I hadn't gone on, I was offered the chance to walk away. The landlady would pay everyone's fees and I didn't need to go on. I thought "Sod it. I'm here anyway." and offered to go on. I don't know why. I just did. I went on.
I reckoned I'd give it up after 5 minutes, or make it work somehow and last longer.
I was on for nearly 20 minutes.
It took a lot of energy that I didn't have, and I broke two guitar strings with the vigour I used to break through the wall of indifference and abuse. I even found a new punchline to throw at someone. It was bloody horrible... but my own death was, itself, funny to me. I left the stage and had a hysteria fit. I remember when such gigs used to depress me to misery. Now I think I know the value of comedy in a non-comedy situation and find it bloody hilarious to do something so ridiculous.
The combination of shouting my set to an audience and screaming with laughter on the way home - cathartic but vocally intensive - meant I had a very tight voice the following morning when I woke up.
And it was morning. Not early, but morning, nonetheless. I had to wait in for a guitar technician type of person to come and pick up my guitar, so I did some basic housework, which involved changing my bedclothes and tidying up a fair bit.
Then, after guitarage was sorted. I went out, got lunch, bought some DIY things and a printer (on a whim) and came back. The printer seemed to have an extra £5 deducted from the price, and I had a £5 off voucher for the shop. In the end, I think the assistant only applied one of these discounts, but given that I was unaware of the discount on the box when I picked it up, I can't say that I'm feeling particularly fussed.
The DIY things included light-fittings, one of which I managed to both install and break in the same go. It's just a bit of cracked plastic in a ceiling rose. I'll just have to buy a replacement. Not the end of life as we know it.
Then I was off to my gig in Devon. I'm sure I've been telling people that it was Dover, but it was Devon.
It was a competition, though I was there for the fun, not the competition. If there's such a thing as comedy karma, then I was there for that. The Comic Relief night had been tough on Thursday, but I'd made people laugh. I'd also upset some people, so perhaps Friday was my punishment. If both those gigs were tough, then surely a student gig, probably full of pretty late-teenage girls (i.e. 19, not 16!) was probably the remedy. I had a tough gig back at the end of last year at a particular club, and its promoter was one of the acts too, so perhaps I'd get a chance to be funny in her presence again (she was always supportive, but I wanted to feel like her last impression of me as an act was better than that night when it didn't really work well).
I didn't plan to win the competition. I was going to do some of the material I don't often do.
But it brought out the competitive spirit in me. So I did a set full of bankers.
I came second.
I drove the winner home. We talked. I talked a lot. He put up with it and also had stuff to say. We discussed racism and comedy - my two favourite discussion points.
Then I drove myself home.
The tinkling sound of girls' laughter is still in my ears. Bless the students. I have another student gig tomorrow night. Ahhhhhh.
Life as a comedian is fun.