This will be one of the more bizarre entries for the year. Before I returned to The Comic's Lounge for my gig I put on a new pair of jeans. As you know when you put on clean jeans they take a day or two before they stretch out and become 100% comfortable. As I walked to the Lounge that night I noticed they were a bit tight and hoped the walk would "break them in" a little. I could also be making excuses for possibly putting on a bit of extra weight during the festival. I had lost a bit of weight at the beginning of the year because I wasn't drinking and also maintaining regulars visits to the gym. Now with the festival in full swing I am working from 8am until midnight every night for a month. My visits to the gym have dried up and eating properly has become more and more difficult. To give you an idea of what my days are like here is a photo that represents the last two days of work:
So anyway I had set myself the task of changing my material in some way and figured the walk would stretch out the jeans and give me time to have a think about my set. I have been walking from Fitzroy to North Melbourne each night and it has been one of the highlights of the festival having that quiet time to think about each gig. I arrived at the Lounge and the venue was packed with roughly 500 people there. It seems I've been underestimating the size of our crowds with me thinking we were averaging about 450 but it turns out the extra seats they slip in up the back gets it to 500. Looking at the size of the audience had me pumped. Watching Anthony Salame and Monty Franklin nailing it also had the creative juices flowing. I was ready to perform by the time I hit the stage.
This is where everything became mildly pear shaped. I walked onstage and was confronted with the two front tables on my left vacated. There was one table with two seats, the other with three seats. There were still 500 odd people there but with those two tables gone it now made me feel I had a disconnect from the left side of the room. We've spoken before about the comedy moat and how much easier a gig is if you have people in front of you to let the jokes skip from person to person. I was mildly annoyed by this even though nobody was at fault.
Then up further in the dark on the left I heard some women laughing before I had even really started my set. I think because I was distracted by the two tables up the front I immediately had a moment of paranoia hit me because I was wondering why they were laughing. Now it could have been anything. An in joke. A response to something that just happened before I walked onstage. Maybe they saw something funny happen in the audience. Rather than think any of those things I immediately figured it had to be about me (I am a comedian so therefore I have moments of thinking the world must revolve around me...all comedians do, the ones who say they don't think that way are lying) and I jumped to the conclusion that my jeans were too tight and you could see my testicles pressing through on either side of the seams. Yes, that is what went through my head in front of 500 people. I have looked at myself in those jeans before and that does not happen. Yet there I was onstage wondering if I was giving off a subtle "flys eyes" to the crowd.
I start performing and the first thing in my head is to compensate for the people not sitting at the front tables. I decide I'll direct more attention to the left so there is less of a disconnect in my head. Next on my hidden agenda is me trying to find ways to move onstage that would tell me if my testicles were in a bad place for the gig. I started throwing myself around the stage in ways that mimicked the moves of Asher Treleaven in the hopes that I could tell if my bathing suit area was tidy. This carried on for half my set which lasted 35 minutes.
Here's the setlist:
Car Crash in Adelaide
Port Power Supporters in Adelaide
Invite Who You Want To Parties
Being An Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
Tripping and Farting
Getting Angry as I Get Older
No Need to Share All Your Opinions
Glitter in Invitations
People wearing your glasses
While the setlist looks similar to the previous night what I did was pepper each routine with bits and pieces from other rouintes just to make them breathe a little more. I also left a lot more room for improvisation within the set (example: I spent a minute miming a barista pouring a coffee with disdain for his customer at the end of the opinions routine) which meant I had more fun onstage. It also meant I had to engage with the material differently because I was travelling off on so many more tangents than normal.
As for the testicle situation about halfway through my set I just stopped caring. It is hilarious that the whole time I was performing I was dealing with the disappointment of two empty tables at the front while shaking up my routine and also managed to go through complete paranoia about the downstairs area to finally arrive at a laissez faire attitude by the middle of my set about this particular problem. I'm guessing if you surveyed all 500 people about what I might be thinking onstage, nobody would get this right.
Once off stage I walked straight to the bathroom and checked myself in the mirror. Nothing to worry about. I was being paranoid about nothing. I stayed around, had a drink with the lads and caught a taxi home. All in all a good night that helped me achieve some of the things I was attempting to do with my setlist. Then I spent the rest of the night wondering what the girls had laughed at before a joke was uttered? Was it my receding hairline? Maybe I have a bit of a gut at the moment? Was I sweating too much?
Oh dear...damn you unjustified paranoia, damn you to Hell!
12th of April, 2013