The home of the haikulator

 

Links

My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman
BurberryAndBroccoli
MarkInventions

The Musical!
Incredible Productions

apostrophell
backlash
incredible
haiku


Previous Posts

All Change
It's Not How I Remembered It
Happy Memories
Hello, I Missed You
Let The Streets Stream With Shit
Maybe Just Getting Old
Make Something Happen
Jolly Good, What What
De-Moat-Ivated
Stick it in the Family... Album

Blog Archives

January 1970
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
August 2009
September 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
October 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
May 2014
July 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
July 2016

Global Domination

Locations of visitors to this page

Tuesday, August 3

Do These Rituals Work?

A lot of comedians have a special ritual that they do before the gig. I could construct some sort of a hybrid ritual from comedians I know if you like. For example, it might involve doing 20 minutes of specialised vocal and physical warm-up (not necessarily a ritual, as it can help with performing, though it can form part of a ritual if the reason for doing it turns out to be more psychological than muscle based), sipping a can of Red Bull, washing your hands thoroughly, applying lip salve while looking at yourself in the mirror and doing smiley faces, and being sure to have a certain something in your pocket as a backup plan, or for luck.

I'm not sure I really have a ritual. I do a mini vocal warm-up, where I try out the low and high registers of my voice, just to make sure they're working and have broken in a bit. I only do that if I'm worried about it. I have to make sure I have a plectrum in my pocket, but that doesn't really make for a ritual; it's practical. I have the pseudo-ritual of the sound-check to worry about, and this usually focuses my mind. Setting up the guitar isn't complex, but it's a process that's as soothing as ironing can be (unless you hate ironing, in which case this is a bad example). If I'm feeling in the mood, I might hop around a bit, and I certainly pace the floor a bit, whether I like it or not.

There may be some anti-rituals, though. There are things you should not do. You shouldn't touch an act who didn't go down well, in case you get "shit gig lurghi". You shouldn't allow yourself to hate the audience in any way - this won't end well. You shouldn't be seen too much by the audience before going on. These things are meant to protect you from bad things happening, possibly.

Last night's gig was a bit of a surprise, to be honest. I think I discovered what's behind some of the rituals, and I broke a couple of the no-no's into the bargain. For example, I shook the hand of an act who didn't do so well, because I felt he deserved respect for holding his own against the odds. I also shook the hand of the act before me, who'd left the stage, while doing rather well, on the basis that his time had been called, to which the audience moaned. If an act that the audience like is pulled off and they're not happy about it, then following them can be hard. Doing a handshake with him might well have been a talisman against them not liking me, and a prophylactic against "shit gig lurghi" taking root, maybe even a way of transferring "good gig genie" onto me. But it wasn't. I shook his hand and told him he had done a good job (he had) and I said something lame like "Fuck yeah!" because it put me in the right frame of mind.

This is the secret to a good gig, more than anything else, being in the right frame of mind. Some of these rituals are nothing more than a "superstitious pigeon" route to finding the right frame of mind for doing the gig. When I'm funny I'm spontaneous, fast-talking, quick-witted, assertive, hyper-aware of what's going on around me, positive, cheerful, larger than life, loud, and a great big fat YES. That's where I had to get last night, and I did it by focusing on why the gig had been going mental, and why that was actually rather amusing (it sort of is... in a "oh dear, I'm going to be battered" sort of a way), and then making the most of the fact that it's only a game and the only way to play is to jump in at the deep end.

Here's the secret to the success I had last night, where I had it. I went off script. I did it deliberately, a lot. I also delivered different words to those on the virtual page in my head. I re-crafted my stand-up persona so that it had more alpha male in it too... I'm not normally a big sweary guy on stage; my Fringe show can be done without a single expletive. However, sometimes you can slip swearing into conversation to make out that you're the big man. This is done by using swearing as punctuation, not as the substantive of what you're saying. I'd also read the audience, and their laughter button began with a C. Well, kids, today's gig is brought to you by the letter C and the french number "un" and the letter t. Say no more.

Cunt.

The audience in that room needed something big that was happening right in front of them. There was no use hiding behind the script, and no use in asking them to do the work. This is not incredibly atypical of that particular audience, but it was the most extreme case of it that I've seen there. Did I enjoy blasting out my set in that way? Hell yeah! Why not become a bombastic caricature of yourself from time to time. It works for Brian Blessed... in fairness, he's stuck that way.

Note to self: write a hilarious song about wanting to have sex with Brian Blessed... it can only be funny.

So what happened at the gig? Well, the audience were in attendance at a free comedy event, that's usually well attended, but by people who don't expect to give much, and can just treat the space as a cafe. Indeed, everyone seemed to be eating something very similar in appearance to a Findus crispy pancake (well, in shape). People could just as easily chat as listen to the comedy, so you had to reach out and impress them. It was actually as simple as that. If you were uncertain in any way, it didn't work. If you expected them to help, it didn't work.

So some acts did their schtick and the audience didn't care, and some acts used their schtick as a stick to stick it to the stuck up sticklers in the crowd. That, to me, was the dividing line. If it were a different sort of gig, it wouldn't be necessary to have to adapt. In the case of one particular act, who did rather well, I think he was born to play an audience that wants a powerhouse performance, and I've only ever seen him give his all. He made me laugh. I'm not going to say his name. Screw him for being so good, I'm not his publicist; he can put his own name around.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly at the gig, and I can only put it down to my "Fuck yeah!" attitude. I gave myself permission to be as big and silly as I like to be, and I got some laughs. Job done.

Or maybe I got my ritual right. Maybe the correct ritual for getting a gig to go well involves stressing over CD production techniques, rebuilding your spare room into a more practical (and it's bloody great now) office space, and falling off a ladder causing small but rather painful minor abrasions. That was Sunday's job. The ladder was only about 7 foot off the ground, and I wasn't so high up it... but when it went, I was left clinging onto the ledge I was climbing up to. When I let go (almost instantly) I thought two things - "I'm going to fall" and "It's only about 2 feet from my feet to the floor". It still hurt. Oweeeh.

I've strayed from the point, which is this: performing stand-up comedy to an audience who have been total bastards all night is a lot more fun than falling off a ladder.

Fuck yeah!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

All content ©2001 - 2012 Ashley Frieze