2014 November Gigs: 166 - 171 From The Imperial To The Final Comedy At Crown

This kicks off the second week of gigs in November.  It has turned out to be a very busy month and it is amazing how your confidence soars and your self esteem returns to normal when you're working a lot. I had been working on my new material in the majority of my gigs since mid October but I decided to put that aside and return to some favourites.  It felt like I was beginning to tire myself out with the new routines and I felt that was a bad sign considering I was only in November.  To be able to tackle it with a renewed vigour I placed the new to one side and returned to some old favourites.

I've been working at the Imperial Hotel quite a bit of late and it was nice to slip into some older jokes for a bit of fun.  Here's the set list:

 

11th of November:  Imperial Hotel

 

Tripping and Farting

Breaking Up Through History

Tram Story

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

Glitter in Invitations

People Wearing Your Glasses

Spooning

 

I had a lot of fun at this gig.  In fact you could say I had too much fun as I went way over time.  I was only meant to jump up for a 10-12 minute stretch of the legs but I was so out of practice with this material I lost track of time and clocked up an impressive 20-ish minutes. Impressive in that I went way over, not impressive when it comes to professionalism.  Considering I was only filling in for this gig I really should have done better time wise.

 

People would eat less bacon if more pigs had black belts.

 

The following night I was on down at the Public Bar.  Once again I used this as an opportunity to play around with a few older pieces and then work on some of my newer material.  The Public Bar is a fun gig and it was particularly warm this night. Since the temperature appeared to be on the muggier side in the room I attempted to keep the energy levels down a little so as not to exhaust the audience.  It would also mean that I probably would sweat less and that is always a bonus when you're a cracking sweater like I am.  I'm so good I've been thinking of going professional at some point in my career.

 

12th of November:  Public Bar

 

Interstellar Rant

Annoying Woman

Abbott and the Liberal Party

Pot In The 90s

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

 

I hadn't planned on talking about "Interstellar" but as anyone who has read this blog recently you will know that I loved the movie like there was no tomorrow.  Host John Conway made mention that I may launch into some thoughts on the movie and who am I to disappoint?  Another fun gig as always.

My next gig was the following night where I was hosting The Comic's Lounge for Rove McManus.  With a line up that consisted of Tegan Higginbotham and Michael Chamberlin I was looking forward to this gig a lot.  I've performed at the Lounge a lot in my career and have a fairly regular routine as I know it begins at 8.30pm and therefore exactly how much time I need to give myself to prepare and then wander down.  At 7.15pm I jumped out of the shower only to find a missed call and message from Claire who is part of my management team. She was very politely checking to see if I were nearby.  As I read this I suddenly remembered that the gig was starting at 7.30pm.  Jesus shit!  I knew this.  I'd read every email telling me that the show was beginning an hour earlier.  That day though my muscle memory had kicked in and I'd gone about my preparation as if it were a normal show. Yikes!

I was lucky enough to get dressed, downstairs and in a taxi that delivered me to the Lounge by 7.28pm.  I was soon onstage and buzzing from the dash.  The show ended up being great and because of this I've learned no lessons.  If you remember from an earlier blog I had was nearly late for my penultimate show at the Edinburgh Fringe and I had a belter that night too.  Apart from my legs jigging with nerves both gigs have been so good it was a little intoxicating.  I don't think I want to do that on a regular basis though as it isn't great on the nerves.  I was buzzing until about 2am. That made for an exhausting Friday morning.

For this gig I really pulled out some routines from the old days and had them placed in what was a fairly classic arrangement.  Classic for me, not for anyone else.  Anyway, here's the set list:

 

13th of November:  Comic’s Lounge

 

1st Bracket

 

Partying During the Week

Hen’s Night

Turning 40

Invite To Parties

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

 

2nd Bracket

 

Kid At Captain America

Tram Story

 

3rd Bracket

 

Glitter In Invitations

People Wearing Your Glasses

Spooning

 

Backstage at the Comic's Lounge going through my notes.

 

I was lucky enough for the next two nights to be supporting good pal Charlie Pickering at The Comic's Lounge.  With a line up that consisted of Danny McGinlay hosting and Geraldine Hickey opening it was another great opportunity to spend quality time with good friends while working.  I decided to return to the new routines I'd been working on and had in the process made a little adjustment to one of the jokes.

I have a piece about seeing a superhero movie and being surprised at how many sporty types of people were at the cinema.  This then was a springboard to talk about how in my day nerds and athletic types didn't mix.  I was finding this opening to be a little hit and miss and I was quite frustrated about this.  One of the reasons I put the material aside was to give it a little room to breathe.  When I returned to the routine I thought maybe I shouldn't be comparing nerds to sporty types and instead changed it to nerds and normal people.  Here's the set list and I'll explain why I made the change.

 

14th of November:  Comic’s Lounge

 

Little Boy at Wedding

Kid at Cap

Normal People vs Nerds

Before the Internet

Rosa Parks of Nerds

Fix Your Flaws

 

This change at the beginning of the set made a world of difference.  What I think I was doing by comparing nerds to sporty types was limiting the opportunity for people to relate to the routine.  Not everybody thinks of themselves as nerds or sporty types. By changing sporty types to normal people suddenly you widen the scope of the routine so everybody can jump on board.  Not everybody believes they're nerds but people certainly do believe they're normal.  By changing the presentation I could still continue with the original gags but now I had given more of the room an opportunity to relate.

Of course that was only one audience to test this idea on.  For the following night I kept to a very similar set list so I could get a really good gauge on whether that change only worked for one night or if it would continue to work from here on in.  On the Saturday night the set list was:

 

15th of November:  Comic’s Lounge

 

Little Boy at Wedding

Kid at Cap

Normal People vs Nerds

Before the Internet

Rosa Parks of Nerds

Nerd Snob

Can’t Drink Anymore

 

With the changes I'd made on the Friday night working again on the Saturday I felt like I had unlocked one of the secrets of my new material and in the process made it much stronger.  I'll still gauge where it goes from here but I was pretty excited to find that there had suddenly been a marked improvement in the routines.

Finally for the week we had our final gig at Comedy at Crown for season 2.  It has been an excellent season, even better than our first season and we finished with a bumper line up that included Lehmo, Dave Thornton, Michael Chamberlin and Paul Calleja.  I was once again hosting and this was the set list:

 

16th of November

 

1st Bracket

 

Biker Gig

Old Lady and Scrabble

Spider Web

Turning 40

Car Accident in Adelaide

Hairy Baby

Little Boy Joke

 

2nd Bracket

 

Annoying Lady

 

 

I'll take that as an entree thank you very little.

 

A fun end to an excellent week and season.  I know when I've had a fun week because after the final gig the mania kicks in and I end up having a late night.  It was indeed a late one that has left me looking a little worst for wear to begin this week.  I think the highlight was working out how to improve that newer routine and with that little improvement came a big jolt of energy.  Sometimes the best way to work on new material is to walk away from it.  I'm glad I made that decision at it allowed me to have fun with some older gags that then shined a light on how I could move forward with the new.

 

Justin Hamilton

18th of November, 2014

Fitzroy North