I started off yesterday seeing a delightful show starring my former protege Bec Hill. I hadn't seen Bec perform in such a long time and I took the opportunity to check out her SOLD OUT show at the Gilded Balloon. Bec had performed as my support act way back in 2005/06 (I think I'm correct with these dates...Bec, if you're reading this can you confirm please?) when she was just a kid. I'd seen her perform in Adelaide and enjoyed her different take on comedy and her "do-it-yourself" attitude. We'd worked a little together before she did support for me and eventually she took what she'd learned overseas. Now she's a young lady living the UK comedy dream with her handsome fiancee and without meaning to sound like an old man I was very proud of her. Bec's show was inventive, cleverly thought out and chock full of jokes. The SOLD OUT crowd loved her and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
After the show Celia Pacquola (who was my show "date") and I grabbed a bite to eat and then it was off to flyer and prepare for my show. I had some new ideas I wanted to implement with this performance and so took the opportunity to retire to my green room and write down some of the ideas. The set list was one you have seen before:
Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994
If you read my previous entry I have now started off the show by meeting my audience at the door. I then talk them through how the show is going to work (it is one big story, it is about my performances in Afghanistan last year etc) before I properly begin the gig. I keep the idea of a bit of theatre by walking offstage and then introducing myself so the audience can discern we've gone from hanging out and now we're into the story. I noticed after last night's show that the intro music doesn't quite work for how I'm starting the show now. The gentle version of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" is too soft now so I am now using some of my house music (Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes) to get me into the show.
I've also made another change to the show. I was wondering about this idea back in Australia when young Tommy Dassalo and I performed together at The Local. That night I had told the story about Mickey D and I doing a gig for bikers in Adelaide and how that had gone horribly pear shaped. Tommy had suggested I place that in the show because he thought it was a strong piece. That routine has never appeared in a show before (I always just thought of it as club material) and while I thought it wasn't a bad idea I didn't know how it would fit into the context of the story. Since it has been preview weekend I wanted to throw as many ideas around as possible so last night I decided to make a change and see how it would hold together.
I decided to drop the "I Stopped a Fight" and "Purple Horses" (originally "Purple Cows" in Australia but due to the massive purple cow at the Underbelly venue a change was necessitated) and threw in the "Biker Corporate Gig" story instead. Thematically it fits in because it is a story about confrontation and I also liked the idea of having one story in the middle instead of two. I love both of the stories I swapped out but it gave me a little more leeway in the middle of the show. After the show I realised it has given me some space to return two other routines I've had to drop due to their similarities in messages ("I Don't Give A Hoot!" and "Hushed Angry Conversations") so as of tonight they'll be getting a run again.
I'm loving the constant changing of the show and the new lessons I'm learning every night. You replace one story and that means you have to make a change later. Then that change gives a new context to a new joke which provides you with a call back or an extra piece of layering. Each day a new challenge arises and it is keeping me sharp and focused. Sunday was quiet across the board for a lot of acts (not Bec Hill though!) but I had a good number and the show was the best yet. Improvement, improvement and more improvement is the goal here and so far it feels like this is happening.
After my show I met up with some friends and checked out Eddie Izzard's show. It was in an intimate venue (I think it was about 250 max) and Izzard was great to sit up close and see him work. It was a great way to end the night/weekend and I not only found it to be very funny but also informative. Izzard has been a great comedian for such a long time and it was really interesting watching him work new material while owning his past. I think we (comedians) are often attempting to find new stories and new facets of our personality to reveal to our audiences when you can in fact own your past to help inform your present. References to being an action transvestite and the stealing of make up as a child didn't feel like he was going over old ground but was in fact helping to flesh out the thoughts and routines he has now. Izzard had already performed that same show in French and in German earlier that day so I was also impressed that he had so much focus and energy for a third show. It was an entertaining, funny and informative end to the night.
4th of August, 2014