Before long we were off to Rugby, the location of tonight's gig, which I was due to headline. I've played that gig before and it wasn't necessarily the easiest gig I ever did, but I recommended it to the other act and I was down to close it; I reckoned I'd probably learned enough in the intervening months to be able to do a better job. I think I've learned a lot.
Anyway, we arrived at the gig in reasonable time. We couldn't see any other acts, so we hung out. Eventually the landlord, who was responsible for running the gig and paying us, came over to say hi. He didn't know where the other acts were, but he had a write up of the gig in two local papers to show us. I, at some point, amused myself by reading the local paper and taking the piss out of the small-mindedness of the headlines.
Another act joined us within a few minutes. I've done a gig for him recently, and I'm doing another for him on Monday. It seems like you get multiple encounters with the same comedian in bursts in this business.
Anyway, we had a bit of a problem. The MC hadn't shown up. We had no means of contacting the promoter (phone off). We had no number for the MC. We had no idea how to proceed. I started texting round for his number: no luck. Then, at the 11th hour, someone sent me the guy's number. I rang him. He thought the gig was next week. Was he near enough to race over? No. He was in London.
Right. I decided that we'd do this gig tag team style. Three acts. A section each. Each act brings on the next one.
So we did the gig.
I'll be honest. I knew it was a tough room and it was. It needed a firm hand and I had a job on my hands at the end of the night. I had to ward off the alpha males and make the gigglers laugh and also break the ice with the starers. It was fun, though. It was fun because stand-up is always fun.
I negotiated a generally egalitarian split of cash for the other acts - thus making up for the way we'd changed the running order, and we parted company with the venue feeling like we'd given them a good night of comedy.
Hunger hit around Banbury and we went to the all-night Tesco there. A couple of local ASBOs in the making were pissing about on office chairs around the tills area. One of them, after I fixed her with a "don't do that stare" challenged me. "Oh come on, where's your sense of fun" she demanded. I pointed out "You're in Tesco. Go home."
If your life has gotten to a point where Tesco is your kiddies' playpen, then I suggest possible suicide...
...nah. I actually suggested that they should have clubcard points docked and that they should have their bags for life confiscated. A very Tesco punishment.
I drove my friend-comedian-person back to Southampton because I'm a very nice man and will do that sort of thing. Ultimately, though, this meant I became very tired after a long week. A lot of sleep was needed.