After last night's gig I have what I would call a mini show. Starting with roughly twenty minutes of new gear on Thursday and then trying out a few new minutes on Friday allowed me to look at some of the themes that were arising and then write/riff from there. I also that day caught up with a good friend for lunch and our conversation moved a few ideas that I'd been working on into a good place that gave me the inspiration to explore onstage. Preparing stand up comedy isn't necessarily about having one idea and sitting down to write. It is often finding ideas and discussing them; not directly like you're trying out jokes on your friends; more exploring the ideas that you're thinking in a rational to and fro which eventually helps you flesh out where you stand with a topic before then heading off to add jokes.
The last few days I have attempted little writing and have even found it difficult to find the time to sit down and set out a working frame to take onstage. I've had a few things going on and my concentration isn't quite back to where it was before I left on my holiday. Instead I have been thinking constantly about what I am going to do on the night and then letting it come to me onstage. With a basic framework in mind that consists of me knowing how I am going to begin and end, I have worked my way through the new routines and was delighted to find it come together in a very tight manner. Last night was one of the most fulfilling shows I've had all year because I came to the conclusion that if I added my Afghanistan experience to the new material (material that could fit thematically well with the new routines) I have a solo show of about 55 minutes of new material. If I also wanted to add some other smaller new routines I would almost be hitting the 70 minute mark. I don't know how much of this material will survive to the end of the year but it is nice to know that if I was put on the spot I could rip out a new show tonight.
The first half of the show was hosted by Tegan Higginbotham who began the night with all new material. I thought this was a good way to begin the show because she is new to hosting so without being able to rely on material she knew back to front at the beginning of the show she inadvertently allowed herself to be 100% Tegan onstage. With this came some very funny off the cuff jokes that sat well alongside her prepared material. A lot of the battle to being funny onstage is working out how to be "yourself" as much as possible and I thought that was one of the best gigs I'd seen her perform for the year. Adam Rozenbachs was up as the first guest and his new material showed that he is well on the way to continue to build on the success he achieved in his solo show this year, "Euro Dad". The more personable Rozie is onstage the funnier he becomes and his new material reveals a deftness of touch and a vulnerability that enhances his already excellent joke writing ability. Finally Lessons with Luis came out sans DadLen and suffice to say without him there the boys are finding it more and more difficult to co-exist. Luckily they had someone looking out for them but their act continues to astound even as the brothers deal with their anger issues.
Here's my setlist which came in at about the 40 minute mark:
The Homeless in New York
Destroying a Nerd
“You Can Shit In Your Hat”
Life is Good When You're Caucasian
Maguire and the Ape
White Men Have It Hard
Country Folk vs Inner City Living
Bomb Chucker and “I’m Sorry”
“Are You Aboriginal?”
How Little I Know About Aboriginal Culture
Can't Call an Aussie Racist
24 Hour News Cycle
Inspiring Young Women by Calling the PM Names
Reconnecting to True Feelings
Today’s Tragedy is Tomorrow’s Bouncy Castle
The Butterfly Club has been the perfect venue to get back into performance mode and also find my way through new material. I'm definitely looking forward to our final show of this run tonight at 7.30pm. In the set there were definitely high moments of laughter coupled with some comfortable moments of talking through a situation before ratcheting it back up with more laughs. This is what makes me think this is more of a show than just forty minutes of stand up. There is a definite pace that is taking place with a back and forth rhythm that would hold up well under the rigours of the festival season. I'm also feeling comfortable that within the desire to talk about more "true" feelings and experiences onstage I haven't lost that gag quotient. Sometimes in our desire to talk about facts and the effect they have on us you can end up with a set that makes a good point but fails to do the one job you are meant to achieve: make people laugh. If things continue to improve in this manner and I feel up to the festival season there just might be a new show coming your way in 2014.
Which would also be just in time for the 20th anniversary of my first gig.
15th of June, 2013