I had a glorious moment with Brad Oakes last night. The two of us were on in the first bracket at the Comic's Lounge. I had booked in two 5-7 minute spots over the weekend as an opportunity to work on some new material and also get my comedy legs up to speed. Oaksey was performing a longer spot and then selling tickets to the Lounge in the break. After we had performed our spots we were sitting together in the bar when we were approached by a young man who proceeded to ask us when other comedians would be performing at the venue. We answered amiably enough and then the kid asked about Dave Hughes. When we said we didn't know the kid said the following.
"Now he's really funny. No offence."
For long time Wil Anderson fans you will know that the term "no offence" is used when someone is actually being offensive. Over the past couple of years I've really been working on not biting at these types of comments. Regardless of whether it is rude or not I am attempting to be a little less emotional in these situations. Of course it is difficult to be in charge of your emotions when you've just come off stage. This is an important tip for any punters: don't try to even give constructive criticism when someone has just stepped offstage. Emotions are charged, skin is thin and we need time to unwind. It doesn't matter how the gig has gone, this is a bad time for a chat let alone a little dig.
I was laughing at the audacity of his comment when Oaksey replied:
"I didn't take offence until you said no offence."
"Sorry," the punter replied with a hint of insouciance.
"And the only thing worst than saying no offence is when someone apologises insincerely."
Bingo. The punter was shot down and stood there unable to know what to say next. What I loved about Oaksey's response is that he didn't get angry, didn't raise his voice. It was all said very matter of fact. There was so little emotion in his words that his remark could only be taken in one way: a verbal smack on the butt. I laughed heartily at Oaksey's response and reminded myself of the lesson inherent in the exchange.
I was only performing a short spot so the set list is tiny too:
I Stopped A Fight
My goal with this gig was to take this routine I have performed about half a dozen times now and see how it would stand out of context and with no other routines to help it out. I had already felt that maybe the routine was a little long with a couple of diversions that took it too far away from the main story. I had already dropped one of these tangents but wanted to see how it would stand now in front of 400 people. When you perform in a smaller room you can take routines all over the place because there aren't as many people to focus but when you have such a big room to command your routines have to be a little more succinct.
The routine went well but I thought there were not enough laughs in the front end of the tale. There was definitely good momentum but the last tangent that is in the opening is possibly not needed. I love that bit of material though so for tonight I'm going to remove that piece and put it aside. Maybe it will fit in elsewhere? Maybe I can flesh it out and turn it into something that stands by itself. Sometimes the best route into a routine is the direct route and having performed the piece to such a big crowd last night has given me an idea of where I should take it next. It is great to be able to work on a routine a number of nights in a row so you can help carve it into the best piece it can be.
Not much else to report on this but I'm looking forward to seeing if my suspicions are correct. And if I have another punter approach after the gig and try to be rude, I hope Oaksey is right alongside me to deal with it because in the end it makes for such great sport.
11th of January, 2014