2014 Gig Fifty Three: Victoria Hotel

Strange show last night. First of all it was quite a different experience walking into the city with daylight savings at an end.  This is what it looked like on Victoria Parade just before 7pm.

 

Melbourne has entered its noir phase of the year.

 

I was flat out yesterday working on material for The Shelf so I didn't have an opportunity to check out any shows.  I'm attempting to rectify that next week as I'm keen to see Sarah Kendall, Cal Wilson and Celia Pacquola perform in their new shows.  I wandered in to the city and had a nice chat to the comedians flyering out the front of the Town Hall.  By the time I headed off  to my show I was feeling pretty relaxed.

The set list was a simple one again:

 

Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994

 

This gig was strange from the get go.  I walked onstage and as I took the microphone out of the stand I saw a couple who were a little older sitting in the front row.  The gentleman attempted to hold hands with the woman who promptly slapped his hand away.  They then proceeded to have the slightest of moments all while I was attempting to begin the show.  I'll be honest with you and say this threw me.  I was a bit all over the place because I'd been so thrown by what was happening at the front.  I didn't draw attention to it because it was so small nobody knew what I knew.  In fact if I'd started talking to them about what was going on to the rest of the audience it would look like I was mental.  It is a big lesson to learn and one to always keep in mind that just because you're witness to something it doesn't mean the rest of the audience has any idea about what you're referencing.

I first learned this lesson way back at the turn of the century when I was hosting a packed out show at P.J. O'brien's.  We had well over 400 people in the audience and I was having a cracking set.  There was a couple who were whispering up the front and after I let them go for a while I went them.  When I'd finished and returned to the audience I noticed that I'd lost the crowd.  I couldn't work out why.  They were whispering loudly and I dealt with them, why would an audience turn on that?  After I left the stage my friend and fellow comedian Lehmo found me and explained what went wrong.  He was standing in the middle of the room and he had no idea someone was whispering up the front.  When I started having a go at them it looked to the audience like I was crazy.  One minute I'm having fun and the next I'm attacking people.  It also made the audience tentative and for the rest of the gig they didn't quite trust me.  With that in mind I knew drawing attention to the situation with the hand slapping would only confuse people so I ignored them but in the process had a bumpy beginning to my show.

Halfway through the show while I was performing my "Pro Choice" material I could hear a gentleman somewhere in the audience who not only was laughing at all the jokes but was slapping his hands and affirming that all my points were good ones. After each joke I'd hear something like, "Yep, that is a good point!" or "Nice one!" While I was rapt that he agreed with all of my points it was strange to be performing onstage and hearing someone yelling out life affirming heckles.  It could have been worst.  He could have totally disagreed.  It was just a little strange.

After the gig I found out that a couple was having a fight up the back.  My techie Hannah told me that they came in a little late and the girlfriend was furious with her boy.  He attempted throughout the show to win her over but she wouldn't have a bar of it.  In fact at one point she moved her seat away from him so she could have time to herself.  I of course had no idea any of this was happening but it is funny to hear about it after the fact. The only thing that could have made the night weirder is if I'd gone to the toilet and seen a poster of my friend facing me while I went about my business.

 

Wait a minute....

 

(I have to stress I took this photo after I washed my hands.  Cleanliness is right next to godliness, right ladies?  Or something like that...)

I have to say I really enjoyed the different challenges of the show last night.  It kept me on my toes and meant I had to approach some of the material in different ways.  I also had to change the cadence of the show ever so slightly early on to help wrestle it into the shape that I wanted for the finale.  It seemed to work really well and I met a bunch of people after that were articulate and delightful to chat to about the show.  I feel pretty lucky that I have such a smart fan base who are up for a chat.

Afterwards I hung out with these two champs:

 

Legends!

 

What a great way to end the week.

 

Justin Hamilton

7th of April, 2014

Fitzroy North