I had one of those days on Tuesday where I was so tired that I couldn't rest. Twitchy legs, restless arms and a back that just didn't want to settle lead me to look for something small to do. I had returned that morning from Brisbane after seeing the NIN/QOTSA double act (with Brody Dalle also ripping it apart) the night before and had gotten straight into work with Geraldine Quinn. I'm directing her new show "Modern Day Maiden Aunt" and this was our first opportunity to catch up after the two of us had been away from Melbourne on our respective "tours". After working all day with Quinny I was looking forward to enjoying the confines of my home but found myself unable to just sit back and relax. I wasn't feeling 100% (nothing terrible but just a little run down) yet when I attempted to chill out I found myself pacing my lounge room. This can happen sometimes after you've performed many nights in a row. Taking time off can be a skill that you have to learn anew. I received a text message from Tegan Higginbotham that said she was performing at the Imperial Hotel and would be working on some new material. I also found out that there were a quite few people on that I like (host Liam Ryan and Celia Pacquola to name just a few of the quality line up) so I decided to burn off some energy by walking into the city to watch the show.
When I arrived I discovered that someone hadn't turned up and I was asked if I would like to jump up for a short spot. My first inclination was to decline since I was still feeling out of sorts. When I thought about it though I knew I had a routine from my show that had in the process of two weeks of performances in Adelaide had taken on quite a South Australian feel. I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to jump up at the beginning of the second half and work the material back into Melbourne shape. The set list was the following:
I Stopped a Fight
Pro Choice/Anti Idiot
What I was setting out to do with the first routine was take out the Adelaide references. There is a fairly important reference to the type of snacks you can buy at a "Pie Face" outlet and one that had to be extrapolated upon in Adelaide because that franchise hasn't found a foothold over there. For my Fringe run I had talked briefly about Adelaide's love of the 24 hour bakery and how they had top notch pies like "Vili's" and "Balfours". I had used this as a simple explanation of what the pies are like at "Pie Face" to help explain how the joke works. Once back in Melbourne (and anywhere along the east coast) I won't need any quick explanations because everybody will be across the reference. It was a case of me just changing up the cadence of the routine so the first time I perform it again in my solo show "Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994" I don't sideswipe myself because the routine suddenly feels "incorrect".
Since I was working on changing a routine I figured I may as well see how the "Pro Choice/Anti Idiot" story would work out of the confines of the show. When I first started working this routine it was a little hit and miss in parts. That was because the subject is a slightly tough one and also because I use confronting language. This doesn't mean swearing (there is barely any swearing in the routine...maybe one word at best) but the type of language that doesn't get bandied around in most comedy gigs without the comedian attempting to be "shocking". I use it in a very matter of fact way but I would be disingenuous if I claimed it wasn't confronting as well. My director Declan Fay had made a suggestion about how I enter the routine and with that one idea it has turned into a rock solid story. It is amazing how the changing of a tense or dropping of a word or even something as basic as smiling can change the way a routine is accepted. By placing it in the second half of my set I could score a club room gauge on where the routine is at and I was pleased to find it worked well.
I then sat around to watch an excellent second half at "Puggs In Space". After the gig I walked home and by the time I arrived back in Fitzroy North I was ready for bed where I really nailed my sleep. In fact I nailed the sleep so well it was literally today that I remembered I had jumped up onstage at all...hence the long wait between the gig and the blog. That there is proof of how well I nailed nap time nearly a week ago. With the Melbourne International Comedy Festival starting this week I better remember that night fondly.
23rd of March, 2014