It was back to The Local in East St Kilda on Monday night. I hadn't performed there since March so this was a good opportunity to once again play around with some new material and see what type of shape it is taking. I've been a little bit all over the place with some of the new routines and I am not quite happy with where they're sitting. They've felt slightly off the mark and I'm trying to find that happy rhythm I initially had from a couple of months ago. The problem is that the routines have endured a stop/start situation and hopefully with the gigs coming up in Adelaide I'll be able to rediscover a part of what made me so happy with these gags in the first place. You basically want to keep performing your new material over and over until it feels like you could tell those stories without even thinking about it but they're not quite there yet. One of the aspects of The Local that I really enjoy is that it does lend itself to new ideas. I've performed there so much over the years that the stage feels like an old home that I visit infrequently. I wanted to start the set off with as much new material as possible and use that first bracket as host to hopefully flesh out some of the ideas. Then the game plan would be with the opening to the second bracket I would hit a little bit harder with a routine or routines that felt muscular and would allow me to get in, hit hard and then introduce the final act.
Here's the setlist:
Life Is Good When You're Caucasian
White Men Have Had It Hard
Maguire and the Ape
Inspiring Women By Calling the PM Names
Country Folk vs Inner City Folk
"Are You Aboriginal?"
"You Can Go Shit In Your Hat"
Reconnecting to True Feelings
Felix and Twitter
"That Won't Get Him a Job"
No Need To Share All Your Opinions
The Art of Conversation
Watching Movies Out of Context
Destroying a Nerd/Shit In Your Hat (callback)
That was a long opening bracket but there was a reason for it. When I arrived at the venue the show's booker and promoter Janet McLeod pointed out that there were only a few people on the bill and they were all performing shorter spots so I could do longer at the beginning. This was great news for me as I wanted to explore some of that material and it meant I could take my time without feeling like I was holding up the night.
Some of the material is still not quite where it was before and what I need to do is actually sit down and listen closely to the recording I made at The Butterfly Club. I've been so busy promoting and producing the new season of The Shelf (in a moment of "blog irony" you can buy tickets here) along with other projects (podcast recording and publishing, blog writing, gigs in Melbourne and abroad) that I haven't taken an hour to just sit and listen. I hate listening to myself at the best of times and that is a flaw in my comedic make up. I'd potentially be much better if I watched some footage or listened to myself on a regular basis. It might only be by a small percentage but that can sometimes be the difference between a good gig and an excellent gig. I do have to get onto this though, no excuses. As I like to tell young comedians when they haven't followed through with some work, in the end, your excuses are your own and this is definitely one of those situations where I have to man up and just get to it regardless of the excuses I use to stop me from doing so.
I was pretty happy with the overall feel of it the opening set but upon reflection I think the new piece Art of Conversation feels a bit like a Tom Gleeson bit I saw from a couple of years ago. I'm hoping the context of the joke might be different but I'll have to check in with him to see if we're just touching similar themes rather than actual beats of a gag. This can happen sometimes with friends, you share opinions and conversations then you watch each other perform onstage and ideas can leak into the subconscious. I've seen some of my friends perform some of my jokes onstage in the past and you know it comes from your friends just taking things in subliminally. It can be annoying but nothing to lose your mind over. Well, not all the times.
Liam Ryan did an excellent job as the first act for the night and then Biddy O'Loughlin had her first gig back onstage in roughly a year looking remarkably comfortable onstage for someone who'd been away for so long. After Biddy I performed a small piece that bounced off one of her routines:
World Wardrobe Nightclub
After Liam and Biddy we had Neil Sinclair performing some material I hadn't seen before that was quite funny so it was an excellent and diverse first half. For the start of the second I went in a bit harder with shorter routines that did the job, focusing the audience as quickly as possible before bringing on Ryan Coffey.
Tripping and Farting
Laughing at a Funeral
Laughing in Greek Class
Car Crash in Adelaide
Being An Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
A punchy opening full of material that even though it is less that a year old feels like the type of material I've been performing for years. All up I must have performed for about an hour over the length of the show and hopefully this will put me in a good position for returning to Adelaide. I've always felt my hometown is a great place to really cement some new ideas and the run of gigs there (check adelaidecomedy.com for more details) should put me in a good position for the next couple of months.
Now it is time for me to go and listen to that recorded routine before I come up with another excuse not to check it out.
24th of July, 2013