First of all check this picture out and tell me what is wrong with this:
I stood at the ATM for ages waiting for someone to robe me, visions of James Brown swirling about my head and me declaring, "I can't withdraw" before being lead away by a big bodyguard. Suffice to say I moved on without any hassle. I don't mind someone attempting to intimidate me but seriously get your spelling correct at the very least. Nice one dipshit.
Last night The Comic's Lounge was back to normal with Dave Thornton not needing to be up early due to it being the weekend. If you haven't read the previous blogs Thorno is the host of Fox FM breakfast radio and has to be up at quarter past a WTF every morning so The Lounge had very nicely offered for him to go on first. This had thrown the show into a mild disarray and while it was the right thing to do it did make hosting a tougher proposition. While it was tougher I did learn some new lessons though and it also made last night's gig seem quite easy. Maybe too easy. Check out the set list and then I'll explain what I mean by that.
Set List One
Riffing With The Audience
"I Don't Give A Hoot!"
Hushed Angry Conversation
Invite To Parties
Fix Your Flaws
Biker Corporate Gig
Set List Two
Tripping and Farting
Set List Three
One of the lessons I was reminded of last night is that when you talk to the audience it is quite easy to lose track of time. As you can see from the top part of the set list it is quite a long set. I had no idea how long I had been onstage before I launched into the Biker Corporate Gig figuring I had quite a bit of time up my sleeve. I had organised with Greg on sound and lights to give me a flash at roughly the 12 minute mark to let me know it was time to wrap up my opener. Ideally I would have come in at 15 minutes at the start of the show as I had two guests (Brad Oakes and Richard Marx) to bring on in the first bracket.
I was about a minute into my story when I saw the light flash and knew I was in trouble time wise because that is a long story. It was only the previous night (Thursday night's gig) that I had asked Greg to time that particular story and I knew it came in around eleven minutes. It is a deceptively intricate story with each tale there within there for a reason to set up latter parts of the tale. I couldn't drop any of it and once I was set I had to carry the tale through. Suffice to say I came in more around 25 minutes for my opener.
This is of course not time to panic because I had two more brackets to host throughout the night so I used those two opportunities to catch up my time. Instead of performing 10-12 at the beginning of the second I brought it in at a tight 8 minutes and at the beginning of the third bracket I knocked out a minute story so that helped us catch up on the time that I used in the first. When you're hosting and you have a moment where you go over there is no point in panicking, you just have to be on the money for the rest of the show and do the right thing by finding ways to make up that time.
I also had the reminder that when you talk to the audience it can help you launch into material you would never think to open a show with. I wouldn't have thought of starting the night off with the "Hoot!" story and I'm not certain it would work if I just began the routine cold. After speaking to a couple up the front we talked about kids and that lent itself nicely into going into that story. I'm glad that I've started working on this skill again. It feels like it has revitalised my hosting and while I need to point out I have a way to go before I'm anywhere near as good as some of my friends at it I'm happy with it as a work of progress.
For years I had thought it was a bit cruel talking to people in the front row because often I had seen comedians use it as a means to be cruel. Now there is the reminder that it doesn't have to be just one way so if I talk to people and have a genuine interest in what they have to say they seem quite calm in talking to me. That is how it has worked out so far and I look forward to telling you about the night when it goes pear shaped (as it is bound to do at some point) but for now it has been pretty smooth.
Final night at The Comic's Lounge tonight for this run. I love performing there and the crowds have been chock a block. Thorno has been in career best form too so if you haven't seen him before you should make your way down. They run a tight ship down at the Lounge and it is also a treat to be able to come and hang out with close friends while working. It is good to remind myself that I'm pretty lucky that I have a job I love and allows me to hang out with friends I don't always get the chance to see. Hopefully we can have a corker tonight and finish off this run in style.
7th of June, 2014