I had been amused when I read the marketing blurb which read that they've finally managed to get hold of me and secure me for their gig, when the truth was much closer to "they've finally stopped ignoring my requests for the gig and let me come back". Having said that, it's a monthly gig, so returning even after a year would be a bit soon. I had last been at this gig almost exactly 2 years previously. Not quite to the day, but certainly to the week. Then I'd managed to both screw up the trip and turn up on the Monday instead of the Thursday, having to then re-appear some 500 miles of driving later on the right day, and I'd also managed to have some improvised-song-based heckler handling.
Though I got my arrival timed to perfection, the audience needed some work. This was a "mexican-stand-off" audience, who had tired a bit when I went on. They had a slight uncertain patch when I did one bit of material, but I brought them round. Again, I felt the gulf between the laughs I can get by ad-libbing and those that come from tried and tested material. Are my ad-libs getting better than the set? Who knows?
Anyway, after a forced encore (the MC did it, not me), I got heckled by someone at a critical moment in a song. The mexican-stand-off audience weren't sure if to scorn the heckler or laugh at his bravado. I watched from the comfort of the stage. This is a good phrase. I felt comfortable up there. I know what they don't... that it's easier for me to look funny than it is for a heckler, who is risking a lot more when he heckles. Sure he got the laugh. I watched... then I diverted my song into a sugar-coated whipping of the heckler... this got a laugh and I finished up and left the stage. Somehow, playing games with the audience is more fun than just trotting out the same old shit.
Then I went to my hotel room in Carlisle and played on the internet via my mobile phone. Broadbandy.