2014 Gig Eighty Three: Arkaba Hotel

Not much to report for this gig. I've performed at the Arkaba with over 400 in attendance.  I've performed in there with 100 people in the audience.  I've performed in there with less than fifty.  I like performing at the venue and think it works nicely for comedy but the problem is even with a 100 it feels a little cavernous.  It isn't the type of room that can shift and recover with the size of the audience.  Personally I enjoy the challenge but I'm not certain the Adelaide comedians can see it that way.  Craig Egan has said they're going to turn the Arkaba into a "sometime" gig which I think is a good move.  Realistically there are only a handful of comedians in the country that could pull a crowd big enough for the venue so you may as well save it for the big shows.  Removing the Rhino Room from Thursday nights and replacing it with the Tea Tree Gully Hotel and now slowly changing what the Arkaba will be used for are all smart moves that I think will greatly benefit the scene.

With a small audience I didn't want to perform too many rock solid routines as it can be a bit too much when they're aren't a lot of people about.  My intention was to make the show as conversational as possible and also lead by example for the younger acts and not fuck around.  In these instances it can be quite easy to be unprofessional as you attempt to find the balance between having fun, being loose and still delivering a fine show.  As the host the last thing I needed to do was "throw" the gig and set a bad example to the acts coming up.  I had a game plan and then that went out the window once I hit the stage. The set list was:

 

Basketball Ramble

Audience Interaction

Homeowners

Coughing Snot

 

The setting sun in between Penola and Adelaide.

 

We'd already endured a long day after driving back from Penola that day and so I picked some stories that I sometimes bring out at places like The Local when it is a quiet night. This all changed when I walked onstage and discovered that two old friends of mine from my basketball days had not only turned up to the show, they also brought the majority of the audience with them including their early teens daughters.  I would say the material I had in mind was way too grown up for the girls and while they're dad is a good friend and said they would have been fine I did feel a responsibility to change up my act.  If it were for my solo show then that would be different.  I think you're paying to see me perform my show so that is what you receive. This was different.  This was a night of comedy and and since I can change my material easily I thought it prudent that I do so.

I thought all the acts on Sunday did a good job considering the small amount of people. A big shout out then to Leigh Qurban, Steve Sheehan, Dave Campbell, Marc Ryan, Russell Hartup and Moataz Hamde who all did their best and displayed some proper professionalism.  Considering it could have been a rather dire situation I think the show held up pretty well.

I'm not certain I learned anything new out of it but it did prepare me for Edinburgh where I might be looking back on this gig wishing I had an audience as big as this one. It was a slightly indifferent end to a great week of gigs but in the end we collectively did our job and did it as well as we could so that has to count for something.

 

Justin Hamilton

27th of May, 2014

Croydon, Adelaide