I've joined the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for a small swing through regional Victoria. Our stage manager Alison picked up fellow comics Dave Callan and Tiffany Stevenson from the city and we made the drive to Bendigo. On the way we stopped at an Aussie landmark I had never visited before:
We then drove into Bendigo and by the time we checked in and ate lunch it was time to get ready for the show. Apart from Dave and Tiff I'm also touring with Rhys Nicholson and Neel Kolhatkar. I've worked with Rhys before but have had little contact with Neel so I was looking forward to spending time with both comics. One of the aspects I really enjoy about Road Show is the opportunity to hang out with comedians outside of gigs and festivals. You get a much better perspective on a comedian in their quiet time and there is plenty of that when you're driving between towns.
Our tour manager Karen sorted out the running order and I was pleased to find myself closing the first half. Often on tour I'm the host or even the first comedian up. I think this might be for two reasons of which one is a hunch. I'm told that they like having me up first because I bring a good energy to the show. My hunch is I also don't crack the sads about being on first. I don't mind when I go on but it was nice to be able to watch the show and see how Dave and Rhys played out with the audience so I could then craft my spot accordingly. I'm booked for 20 minutes and this was the set list for last night:
Riffing with the audience
“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”
Hushed Angry Conversation
The Kid At Captain America
Invite To Parties
Breaking Up Through History
As I stated above I was booked to perform a 20 minute spot and came off after 27 minutes. I had made the mistake of not checking where the warning light was that was going to let me know when I hit the 15 minute mark. I was looking for it but missed it completely. This lead to me losing track of where I was at and that lead to me going over time. It didn't feel like I'd gone over but regardless it is unprofessional. I'll have to rectify that tonight. I don't want to be THAT comedian on this short trip.
We were performing at The Capital which is Bendigo's Performing Arts Centre and it is a beautiful theatre that fills up to roughly 500 people. It was a sold out show last night and the audience was great. There was quite a lot of comedy aimed at our Prime Minister (and allegedly real life lizard man...fact!) Tony Abbott and I had a moment onstage where I tricked some audience members into revealing that they were Abbott supporters. It was a devious trick on my behalf and a part of me felt bad because it worked so well. I don't really enjoy making audience members feel bad about choices they've made but at the same time I'm beyond unhappy with this government so if I want to go on the attack I will do so. Hopefully there are enough jokes in the piece and enough variety throughout my set to even the night out for people who don't agree with my political views.
I also just mixed and matched my set last night and was quite surprised to find two routines that have fallen off the radar in the last 6-8 months suddenly appear. Breaking Up Through History and the Tram Story were two of my favourite routines for about 18 months but I put them aside around the middle of last year (we should check the set lists in previous blogs to see if I'm correct about this but I'm under a dead line!) because I felt I had lost a little of the magic in performing the routines. They worked really well last night and maybe I'll keep them somewhere in the back pocket for future gigs especially when I'm in Edinburgh.
Dave did a great job as host and all the acts had excellent gigs. I've been a fan of young Rhys for a while now and he didn't disappoint. Neel was also excellent and I enjoyed being able to sit side of stage to see what he is like from a relatively close angle. Tiff feels like she's been a friend for years (we only met at this year's Adelaide Fringe) and did not disappoint closing the show. I was a little bit off in my spot and felt my cadence on some of my routines wasn't quite right. It felt like the first gig back after an extended break and that took me by surprise because my last gig was only the Saturday just gone. It may have been a bit of fatigue with the travel or it might have been because I was working out the set list as I went along. Suffice to say I felt I was just slightly off my game. Not that anyone would have noticed but I did and it is something I'll work on for tonight in Ararat.
I am happy with the Captain America material although it has shrunk a little from the initial performances of the routine in Adelaide. After I finish this blog I'm going to get back into the story and reconnect the pieces I've left out. It still feels like the first idea and I'd like to see where it goes from here. Hopefully it has more room to breathe and can turn into a longer story. At least the opening part of the tale is working. It is all about writing and working through the idea until I boil it down to the core thought that kick started the routine in the first place.
A great show all up and a solid beginning for me. I wasn't entirely happy with my set but it was still a pass on the night. Luckily one of the great things about being on the road is that there is always another gig just around the corner to help rectify any misgivings you might have.
12th of June, 2014