Another packed night at the Regal Theatre in Perth and all for a worthy cause. This was a long day for me because I had a lot of work to get on top of after essentially missing the previous day due to my long flight. By the time I hit the stage for the first show it was midnight according to my body clock. I managed to slowly get on top of things during the following day with the key word there being "slowly". At the second show everything was progressing nicely and then just before the half time break finished I was asked if I could leave a reference to wheelchairs out of my set. I had made a reference the night before and somebody in the administration took offence to it. Now the joke wasn't derogatory towards people in wheelchairs but obviously somebody just heard the word and took offence to it out of context. These things happen.
The problem was that I was asked in the break to drop this routine which wasn't long before I had to go onstage. So guess which word was foremost in my head? You guessed it: wheelchair.
If it had been brought to my attention during the day I would have gladly dropped the reference and moved on. Now it was right there in the head, bouncing back and forth. I had planned on quite a different set list but I also found myself second guessing routines because heck, if you're going to be offended by a word out of context then how are you going to react to some of my other routines? Comedians make what we do look effortless but our brains are going a million miles an hour while we are performing. Imagine attempting to work your way through a half hour set of jokes in front of hundreds of people and somebody tells you before you go onstage that somebody took offence to a word? You would definitely be thrown by it and I worked hard to keep a beat going that would overcome my distraction.
This is what the set list ended up looking like:
Partying During the Week
Word in Scrabble
Invite to Parties
"You're An Ugly Hooker!"
Tripping and Farting
No Need To Share All Your Opinions
Watching Movies Out Of Context
Glitter in Invitations
When you're performing for charities you do have to be careful about the language you use as this is where people are at their most sensitive. Rightfully so too. Most people there would be touched by MS in some manner and it is important to be careful that you don't offend people who are understandably touchy about a subject. I had no problem with the removal of the word even if the context it was used in was in no way derogatory.
Finding out before you go on stage though does throw you. These are things you need to hear well before show time because in preparation for performing I'm going over set lists, different variations on jokes, approach etc. The gig went well but I spent the entire time onstage thinking about what might offend people and making certain I didn't accidentally say "wheely" when I meant "really" etc.
If you're booking somebody for a gig and you need to give them a brief or some requests, try to do so well before the event just to make everything easier on everybody. Overall though the nights were great fun, the event was for a very worthwhile cause. It was great catching up with some of the Perth acts, especially some of the comedians (Ciaran Lyons, Suns of Fred etc) that I haven't hung out with much in the past.
Now I have a few nights off from performing and to be honest, I am pumped at that prospect! I'll finally have some time to get back to work on some other projects.
23rd of August, 2013