Thursday night involved a road trip out to Ferntree Gully for Notting Hill Hotel's first live comedy show. If you're going on a trip out of town you want to be sharing a car with some good friends and I was lucky enough to be on the same bill as Nick Cody and Dil Jayasinha. Daniel Moore booked the gig and produced the show so it was a funny car trip full of comedians at different stages of their careers who also share a similar sense of humour. The people that run the hotel were very friendly and professional. Not all venues will be as friendly as the staff at the Notting Hill Hotel and we were also treated to meals and drinks before the show began. It was an interesting night as the majority of the audience had never seen live stand up comedy before and there was definitely a feeling out period between the audience and the acts. Metaphorically speaking of course. I find when an audience doesn't have much experience with live comedy they can take a while to ease into the show. When you're younger or less experienced you can mistake this for an audience not enjoying your set. Quite the contrary, it often means they just don't know the "rules" of how to be a good audience.
I watched Nick and Dil closely to get a read on the show. I had a think in the break and decided I would throw in an old routine towards the end of my set that involves a bit of audience interaction. This was the set list:
Partying During the Week
Car Crash in Adelaide
Invite to Parties
Being an Arsehole
Little Boy Joke
Tripping and Farting
One on One Embarrassment
No Need To Share All Your Opinions
Watching Movies Out of Context
Glitter in Invitations
People Wearing Your Glasses
Since the audience hadn't seen a lot of stand up I decided that two thirds of the way through my set I would indulge in some audience participation. I used the routine One on One Embarrassment as a way of injecting some energy into the audience to help bring my set home with a wet sail. The above set was roughly 35 minutes long. If you take into account the first half the audience has been asked to concentrate for a long time so by throwing in some audience participation late in the piece, it changed up the dynamic of the room and helped focus the crowd.
This was a successful gig and to be honest I quite enjoyed bringing out the old audience participation routine because it doesn't get much of a run anymore. In fact the last time it was used was for Gig 84 in Mildura this year. I would guess it was close to two years ago before then.
I remember when I was starting out in Adelaide Canadian comedian Jack Smith would talk to us about having your comedy tool belt. The idea was that you had all these routines just hanging off your belt and ready to go whenever you needed them. At the beginning of your career your tool belt has barely any routines on it but over time it would be quite large and cumbersome. It is only now when I can pull out a routine that is nearly ten years old and use it for this type of situation that I can finally emotionally appreciate Jack's advice.
An excellent night of comedy where both Nick and Dil nailed it, hopefully the Hotel will continue to produce more excellent comedy nights in the near future.
30th of August, 2013