I'm also writing jokes at the moment. Not necessarily good ones... but there are ideas coming up. The hard part is remembering them and having the nerve to try them. I've had a couple of gigs lately. Neither was ideal for suddenly coming out with new material, though, oddly, I'm always confident to throw off the cuff remarks at an audience, whether they work or not. Assuming I don't get spooked, I can usually turn them into something with a laugh. Sometimes that's because my off the cuff remarks are tension breakers... and sometimes it's because I make the off the cuff remark as a way of saying "by the way, I'm feeling funny at this particular moment - here are some words".
Sunday evening's gig in Southampton was an odd one. Bear in mind that I don't believe in gig excuses. So, if I'm disappointed with my performance, which, according to everyone else, I shouldn't be, then that's my fault, and not the circumstances. However, to describe the circumstances, it was a hot room - I sweated buckets, and the PA system wasn't up very loud. Consequently, I felt very much like I was inaudible. I wasn't. I wasn't booming either. But, there was a feeling that I was saying the words into a vacuum a bit. I couldn't judge how loud to go or how loud I was being. It was an odd feeling. Plus, whether it was down to a lack of confidence, a lack of recent practice (like it had been 8 days since my last gig), or an overdose of caffeine in my system, my words weren't quite connected properly between brain and mouth. This happens sometimes.
Still, I had enough experience on stage to make the gig work and the room was mostly with me. That the other acts spoke to me, some very kindly, is enough to make me feel like I didn't make a total arse of it.
Last night was another gig opportunity. This was in Westminster. It had the added "pressure" that a couple of friends of mine were present. They'd come all the way from the US just to see me perform... and while there were over, one of them (a friend I've known since school) thought he'd cram in some business meetings while his wife thought she might see some museums. On reflection, maybe their attendance at the gig wasn't why they bought the tickets. I've been had!
It's good when friends come to gigs. It's also a little extra pressure. I think that pressure is equally and, in some cases, surpassed by the support of friends. The worst case scenario for friends coming to a gig is if it's an intimate little thing, with virtually no other audience and shit loads of acts on, many of whom are very new. Last night's gig was in a small underground cellar bar with a handful of audience members, and about ten new acts, all doing 5 minutes. I got to "headline" this show. Yeah! Rock and roll. I closed the gig with a pretty standard club 20 from me.
I did manage to shoehorn in a couple of new/newer bits, and even saw some of my tried and tested material go a bit wibbly wobbly with this rather random audience. However, I'm one for speaking my mind while on stage, and I managed to play off the fact that I had friends in, and workshop the gags that didn't amazingly work "out of the box". Listening to the recording I made of the gig, it sounds like I was doing badly, but I think that it felt better than that, and towards the end, the room had loosened. I recall seeing the barmaid, standing at the back of the room, laughing heartily, and that's always a triumph.
I have an important gig tomorrow. It's important for my confidence more than anything else. I'm MCing a couple of cracking acts on, and I won't have my guitar. It's important for me to demonstrate that I don't need it. Plus, it's going to be a good show.
I'm looking forward to it.
I may even do my material about the woman who put, in the hobbies section of her CV, "slimming". Thing is, I'm not sure if I made her up. Still, I'll satirise her until she cries into her rice cakes.
Being on a diet sucks.