This was an interesting gig. Around 6.45pm I received a call from Five Burroughs' producer Karl Chandler informing me that headliner Fiona O'Loughlin was unable to make the show. Having run rooms in the past I realised that this is not the best of timing. Take this into account: Karl promotes his rooms very well and had paid for printing and spent time promoting that Fiona was headlining. There's always that mild panic that most of your audience that turns up will leave if the comedian they wanted to see doesn't show.
As luck would have it Wil Anderson was in town and wanted to try some new material. I had a chat to Wil and we decided that we'd share the headlining position by doing this: In the headline spot I'd do the first 20 minutes and then Wil would bring it home with his new material, which could range between 10 to 2o minutes depending on how it would all go.
Five Burroughs is the new name for Softbelly Comedy. It can be found at 68 Hardware Lane in Melbourne.
I arrived early to work on my longer set. As you know I am easing back into performing so now I just have to do a little extra to be properly prepared. When working on my set I flip through a little book of notes that I carry with me. It is full of ideas and previous set lists. Some of the ideas mean nothing to me now, just scribblings that at one point held potential but now seem like the ravings of a mad man. Example: "People who do bad things: over eat, grumpy, kill squirrels." I'd love to know where that idea was originally going.
Michael Chamberlin is again the host with Xander Allen and Ciaran Lyons in the open mic spots. The second bracket is Harley Breen doing the support spot which I am pretty happy about as I haven't seen Harley for a while. It turns out if Fiona is going to be unable to do the gig it has turned out to be a pretty handy night to do so. Sometimes when you run a room you have no one around that can come in at the last minute to pick up the slack. Tonight Karl has four headliners spread out over the night: Chambo hosting, Breen supporting, Wil improvising and me doing my best not to fuck any of it up.
The show sold out and the audience is great. Since there were so many punters who turned up at the last minute the show begins a little past the scheduled starting time. Later in the night I ask Karl if he wants me to do a little less time to help get everything back on track. I offer 15 mins instead of 20 and Karl is happy to go with that. This changes the way I am putting my set together so I decide I'll try an idea I had while heading into the city. I had written some loose notes so I could follow the idea when I arrived home but now what I'll do is sandwich the new material between routines I know work. That way if it doesn't go well it can be easily glossed over. It also gives me time to find my groove onstage before working out the jokes and rhythm to this new idea. My set ends up going really well and the new material appears to have some strong legs, it already feels like the type of material I'd enjoy performing in the future.
Here's the setlist:
Car Crash in Adelaide
Fix Your Flaws: I Over Think
Invite Who You Want To Parties
Being An Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
The "Fix Your Flaws" material is the new idea. I also notice that I left out a previous joke from the Felix Bar gig that usually slots into the "Car Crash" story. It just popped back into my head and I quite clearly remember thinking "Why did I forget that?" while still performing. I was glad I remembered it as it is a fun piece that to perform and revolves around me doing an act out as Jason Bourne. That is the closest I will ever get to being an action hero.
In the end the night is a great show with Wil bringing it home with some excellent improvised story telling. A good example of how, no matter what stresses are going on behind the scenes, a night can still come together and work perfectly in the end.
11th of January, 2013