Saturday night at the Sit Down Comedy Club was full of energy, especially when compared to the tentativeness of Thursday night and the slightly exhausted Friday night crowd. Of course this also meant there were some punters to keep an eye out for. There was a hen's night with a woman carrying around a blow up man and red flashing lights in her veil. There was a birthday girl wearing a feather boa. There were some lads from Logan who looked like they'd parked their skateboards under the tables. Up on the balcony there was one drunk dude who just yelled out expletives before the show even began. I decided pretty early on I had no respect for this collective audience. That doesn't mean I won't do my best but it does mean that when I walk onstage I'm going to let everyone know I'm not to be trifled with. When I was younger I would have attempted to win an audience over by attempting to get them to like me. Now the survival instinct kicks in and I will exude a swagger to let them all know I am the alpha male in the room. This is a priority because for those of you who have seen me in the flesh I definitely don't exhibit any alpha male qualities. I'm short, wear glasses and have disappointing started to spread around the middle. If this audience suspected any weakness they were going to, at best lose attention or at worst turn on me. When you're on last and have to perform for at least half an hour, that can be a long time to have to battle an unfocused audience. I was also still ill although not as bad as previous nights yet I still had troule hearing out of one ear. Sexy, right?
Host Mark McConville was made to work at the beginning and he managed to shape them into an attentive audience. The people that I spotted as trouble makers when they walked in all lived up to their potential but Mark dealt with them nicely. The audience was less forgiving of Sam Campbell who was introduced as Leon Infinity. A lot of us thought his set was very funny but Sam works from an angle of "anti-humour". There is little obvious structure and there are no topics that everyone can easily relate to so it can be a hard sell sometimes. Here's the thing though: he went out and did his best to make people laugh. I don't understand an audience who turns on an act for failing to entertain in a ten minute spot. There are other acts coming on, you don't have to laugh, just let him walk off and move onto the next act who might be more in line with your sense of humour. At the end of the set Sam asked, "By a round of applause who wants me to leave?" and a few people clapped quite rudely while some yelled abuse, including the douche upstairs. I filed this away for later use.
Soulla Pants and Mike Goldstein both had excellent sets and by the time I was brought on the majority of the crowd were nicely focused. I kept an eye out for the trouble makers and was ready to pounce. Here's the setlist:
Partying During The Week
Car Crash in Adelaide
Invite Who You Want To Parties
Being An Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
Tripping and Farting
No Need To Share All Your Opinions
Glitter in Invitations
People wearing your glasses
There was a lot of ad libbing in this gig and also a new idea (Bronzing Up) I had was given a brief run. I also played around with some older material again just to keep myself interested and focused. Sometimes you can stick too closely to a setlist and almost be thinking of other things while performing. By making changes each night it keeps me in the moment.
I also was on the offensive with people I had seen causing trouble throughout the night. I pinpointed the woman in the feather boa early and apologised for using the word "inexorable" because I knew she wouldn't have known what it meant. About halfway through my set I did my best to humiliate the guy who'd been yelling abuse from upstairs by pointing out how uninteresting he was which also came with a pretty rude impersonation of what I believed he was actually getting up to in the dark. Each time I targeted someone I would turn to the rest of the crowd (who were actually excellent...only takes a few rotton apples, right?) and would talk to them as if we were all in this together. I was creating an "us against them" mentality and it worked.
Toward the end of the gig though I was still seething about how Sam had been treated so before I finished up I took advantage of the goodwill my performance had won for me. First I had the audience applaud all the people who work behind the scenes and the comedians who'd been on during the show. After this round of applause I lowered my voice and with as much sincerity as possible informed the audience that the young boy at the start of the show was actually a Make-A-Wish kid and we weren't meant to tell anyone but his last wish was to perform stand up comedy.
"Even if you didn't enjoy him," I said coming across like a journalist on Today Tonight. "I just want you to think about that when you're driving home, especially the people who clapped him off."
The room was silent. There was a real sense of shame in the room. I watched some people's faces contort with shock and embarrassment. It was glorious. Just as the room felt like it was going to implode I burst out laughing and stated, "That isn't true, I'm just being an arsehole." This was also a call back to an earlier routine I had performed. It was great just making them take stock of themselves for a moment. Then I brought it home.
Afterward the comedians who were performing and a few of the new Brisbane acts that had come down to watch the show had some nice bonding time over this moment. All in all it was actually a fun gig with just a few people that needed to be dealt with. As you can see, sometimes this job requires you to be aggressive and bordering on cruel. While it isn't my favourite way to approach a gig, I am glad I have the experience to know how to turn it on when I need it.
I'd also be a liar if I said that I didn't enjoy it a little.
I did enjoy it.
A big thanks to the Sit Down Comedy Club for booking me again and a shout out to all the acts I performed with this week and the Brisbane comics who came down to say hello. Also big ups to Mike Goldstein for being very cool in never complaining about having to share the apartment with a guy who was suffering from the plague.
17 of February, 2013