So we've done it! We've survived "Suicide Wednesday" of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. For those who aren't in the know the reason this Wednesday is dubbed so is because it is right in the middle of the festival. The joy and energy that one feels with the festival beginning has completely dissipated and the final night is so far away. This is the night where the audience can feel fatigued, the comedians have nobody to hand flyers to and the behind the scenes crew have that far away look in their eyes. Even the weather was perfect for last night. This is a photo I took while walking through the backstreets of Fitzroy:
I have definitely felt fatigued over the past couple of days which is not surprising especially considering The Shelf was on Monday night. Between how exhausting that show is and being trapped in the middle of the festival I have been sneaking in power naps where I can and taking my time with my work to give myself time to recover. I was lucky for last night's first gig though as my friend Sam celebrated her birthday by bringing a stack of people along to my show after they'd all been to see Tegan Higginbotham. My numbers would have been pretty good last night but with the "Sam Birthday Bump" I had a great full house. For the first gig of the night the set list was:
Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994
There are some tricky aspects to performing for this type of audience though. The majority of Sam's friends had already seen the show at least once so I wanted to find ways to keep the show fresh for them but without doing damage to the story for the rest of the audience. This required a balancing act of ad libbing, being open to new ideas and maintaining focus. For last night's show I added a story that was in fact the final piece of material edited out of the final product. Right up until a few days before I flew to Adelaide for the Fringe I had a story that took place right between the moment with Chook and the helicopters and the final moment back in Adelaide. (If you haven't seen the show this might be confusing but I'll attempt to talk about this vaguely in the off chance you can make it) The material was working well and I was enjoying performing it but my director Declan Fay and friend Lehmo both suggested after the final work shop that it was taking us too far away from the narrative. They were both correct and I removed it. Since it was Sam's birthday though I slipped it in for her and her friends in a truncated form just to give them something new on the night. It worked fine for that show but it won't be turning up again. It definitely felt like it took me too far away from the tone I was creating for the finale.
I was quite surprised at how tired I felt after the show but I didn't have time to think about it as I had to get down to the Hi Fi Bar to host the Festival Club. Wednesday nights presents 10 comedians for $10 and is a great tradition for the MICF. It is usually the opportunity to see some of the younger comedians strut their stuff on the big stage and is value for money.
With a line up show like this my job was to start the night off and then keep it rolling between the acts. My set list was the following:
Car Crash In Adelaide
Invite To Parties
Fix Your Flaws
Tripping and Farting
Little Boy Joke
I have to say I wasn't very happy with my hosting job last night. I found it very difficult to remain focused and was feeling quite tired onstage. I know when I'm tired as the transitions between routines can be clunky and you always feel your words are just a little ahead of where you want them to be. I also felt slightly sluggish and I think in hindsight I should have grabbed a few minutes of quiet time just to get my head into order. There were moments where I felt like I was back on track and the laughs were fine but I just know I could have been better. Hosting can be an unforgiving job and is probably the one that gives the least satisfaction. A good night of hosting just feels like you're doing your job and a night where you're less than tip top can feel like you let the team down. I don't think I let the team down but I could have definitely been better.
By the time the show was finished I had a few people ask me if I was going to hang around but I knew I was done. I have a long day ahead of me today (Fan Fiction Comedy, guesting on a podcast, reviews to be written for Perth radio etc) and once I hit the top of the Hi Fi I knew there would be nothing good coming out of me hanging around. With head down and umbrella up I was off into the night before anyone realised I was gone.
10th of April, 2014