Oh the joy of being ill when you have gigs. At the moment I have popping in my ears and shortness of breath, two things that do not lend themselves to a great time onstage. I struggle with humidity at the best of times and that is the one aspect of performing in Queensland that does not appeal. I often find myself sweating in the same way a fat man does when eyeing off the last piece of cake at an office function. I'm sharing an apartment with Mike Goldstein and find myself constantly apologising for sniffing and wheezing. As a younger man he must be inspired to know that one day he could grow up to be just like me. Boo!
Last night at the Sit Down Comedy Club it was the Valentine's Day edition of their Thursday night show and to celebrate they invited a bunch of single people to come and meet for the first time. Mike and I arrived early to have a bite to eat and watched as men and women circled each other trying to work out who would be their most likely future ex partner. I was particularly fascinated with one man who arrived just after us and proceeded to barely speak to anyone. He was breaking my heart as the more gregarious individuals found people to socialise with but my guy just sat at his table either looking about or playing with his phone. The killer was that his phone wasn't even a smart phone so he was either sending text messages to people far away or playing games that would be pretty poor quality. I would have invited him to join us but had a fear that he would come over and prove to us why he was alone and then he would become our responsibility. I was sad but felt comfortable with the distance between us.
Mark McConville was the host and Soulla Pants and Sam Campbell made up the first bracket. There is an interesting approach to being the MC up here in Brisbane where hosts often walk onto the stage with no introduction or fanfare. I'm fascinated by this as I think it makes the job harder for the host. They have no energy in the room, no focus and spend a lot of time geeing the crowd up from a base level of zero. I have offered to introduce hosts in the past but they look at me as if I am crazy. I wonder why that has developed as a thing up here?
Thursday nights at the Paddington Tavern are usually the smaller of the crowds over the three nights you perform there. The management crew of the Sit Down Comedy Club overcame this with the idea of having singles come to meet and it worked a treat with over 150 patrons in for the show. The job of the promoter is to get people in to enjoy the show they have booked and on a potentially tough night they completely succeeded.
It was an interesting gig to watch and a be a part of. Since the room was full of single people looking for love, sex or a brief moment in the car park there was a decidedly lack of community. Normally people come to shows in pairs or groups but this was a bunch of individuals who all had different ideas of how they wanted the night to progress. It sometimes felt like some guys were looking at you as competition while some of the women were peeved that you weren't mingling. The gig was a success but you could tell there were moments when people were looking around the room thinking:
"Is she looking at me?"
"I hope that guy doesn't talk to me."
"She's making my skin crawl."
"He's so handsome but he eats with his mouth open which is so yucky."
"I hope I meet my husband tonight."
"I hope I meet someone who will have sex with me tonight."
"This food is great!"
This was my setlist:
Not Tall Enough To Be 40
Car Crash in Adelaide
Invite Who You Want To Parties
Being An Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
Fix Your Flaws: I Over Think
Tripping and Farting
Never Act On A Crush: Bookstore Girl and Perfumery Lady
1 Bad Date and 3 Killer Jokes
No Need To Share All Your Opinions
I'm in a groove at the moment with how I like to start a gig and I brought good energy to the show even though I was feeling terrible. I also dipped into some stories I haven't told in a long time with two routines from my last Melbourne Comedy Festival show "The Goodbye Guy" getting their first run in over a year. Never Act On A Crush and 1 Bad Date... seemed appropriate for the night and it was nice to bring them back out again. I had to check over notes to see how they fitted together and also work on the rhythm which is always the most difficult aspect of bringing back an older routine.
Over the past two nights I have been slightly off my game though. I believe that my cold has me over compensating for smaller moments in my routines and I am losing some subtlety in my delivery. Trying to find the energy to perform has meant that some parts of my routines have come across as aggressive which can happen with me when I'm not concentrating or mildly unfit. It is quite interesting to note that when you forget to smile while you tell some jokes it can really change the way it is viewed. If you ever want to understand how important a smile can be to performing watch the cheeky grin that Louis CK always appears to have even when angry. Here in Australia Lawrence Mooney is the king of the Hollywood smile while getting away with the naughtiest gags. I know that I have lacked that in the last couple of nights and will have to attempt to be more aware of that for the final two shows. It is to say the least, very frustrating.
I'll finish with this little tale. If you ever wonder why comedians can seem a bit cold when you first approach them after a gig it is usually because we're trying to work out what someone is like when they approach. I am very friendly after a gig and this has worked against me sometimes. Last night Mike (who is also very friendly) and Sam (who is beautifully awkward but much more aware than anyone realises) were accosted by a drunk woman who wouldn't leave us alone much to the chagrin of her sober friend. The drunk woman asked me if I had a wife, children or if I was divorced to which I replied "No" to all three questions. She followed up with:
"Oh. What went wrong?"
"I don't know, my life has been pretty awesome so far so I'm guessing nothing?"
She asked Sam some pretty rude questions and since he's a young guy she was really attempting to give him some bad advice on how he should improve his routines. Sam very funnily told her that he was a Make-A-Wish kid and that this was his wish. She seemed to think he was telling the truth. She then told us that she likes recording retarded people on public transport because they make her laugh. Just the audio, not video because she isn't a cruel person. She then told us that she was 29 with two children and couldn't understand why she didn't have guys hitting on her anymore. I reckon I could work out exactly where she was struggling...
For the most part we meet really lovely people who are great to talk to. We also meet people like this woman. If you ever want to chat to us please approach us and we'll be more than happy to meet you. Just be aware that we may have just met someone like the above woman so if we appear wary, we're just making certain that you're not a fucking idiot before we engage in a nice chinwag.
15th of February, 2013