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Friday, March 26

I Survived

It's still tonight, but the date suggests that I'm writing about last night. How fickle is time.

Tonight had highlights and lowlights.

Highlight I got my car back.
Lowlight Just as I transferred my stuff back into the car, the rainstorm hit and I became drenched.
Highlight I got to my first gig pleasantly on time.
Lowlight The audience drizzled in, in smallish numbers.
Highlight The pre-show toilet visit was in a relatively well equipped loo.
Lowlight I left a bad smell... indeed, much the same could be said for the way I was received by the audience.

So I then jumped in the car and headed to gig two. Before I say more about the second gig, I should observer a few things. Firstly, double-up gigs are a tricky business. In my experience, it's the second one which seems to get the most attention. This is because part of your brain is already planning your way to the second gig while you're at the first gig. I really tried hard to avoid falling into this trap while I was on the stage and, although I went through the time on stage at one hell of a pace, I was also talking myself out of clock watching and not allowing jokes to settle. The bar staff, in the other room, were having time to laugh, so I don't think I can truly put my own performance in the role of "the scapegoat" for all of what happened in the first gig.

Secondly, I'd like to observe how comedians, even my own skeptical self, can be somewhat superstitious. It's like the superstition of a gambler. The last time the MC and I had worked together, we'd both had an uncharacteristically tough one in front of an awkward crowd. Tonight, back together again, and it was tricky. Again. Coincidence? No. Because it wasn't even the same. There's no specific cause and effect, though the self-fulfilling prophecy thing can kick in if you harbour such illogical mystical thinking.

I drove off to the next gig with a lot of worries. The promoter and I had agreed an arrival time, and it was just doable, according to the sat nav, but then I'd seen an email suggesting I would have been on stage for 10 minutes already by the arrival time I thought was reasonable/feasible.

With my nerves and driving licence being important things I wanted to protect, I hastened to the second gig as fast as was safe, but without watching the clock too much or trying to will myself to be there too soon. They'd have to wait and I wouldn't be too late. I also spent some time dispelling the fear that I'd have another similarly tough ride with the next audience. I know that sometimes the first gig is like a vocal warm up and that the next audience can get the cream of you for the night, and I also know that you can run your energy low on gig one and lose control in gig two. I was worried that I was in the middle of a run of mediocrity and that the audience would be similarly too posh for my stuff, like the first lot thought they might have been (but weren't).

As it was, I arrived at the next gig during the middle section. There was still a whole break and set-up time before I was due to go on. I got to see how the audience laughed and reacted. I read the room, rather than the superstition and all that tosh. The MC did about 10 before I went on, basically giving me an index on the way the room behaved. I wandered up there and did a 30 minute set (or thereabouts).

I had a really enjoyable gig. I could have done the encore. But always leave the audience wanting more.

Between you and me, dear reader, the second audience were there to have a good time and did all the work for me. I just gave them a big smile and a bunch of shouty bits that might or might not have been punchlines. The rest is just pavlovian. Probably.

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