2015 Blog 16:  Sydney Comedy Festival:  Gigs 108 - 111

I'm sporting a sweet white pirate patch to help promote Pirate Day Friday which is a national fundraising day for the cure and prevention of Childhood Brain Tumours. My patch was decorated by a young four year old lad (I am writing this from NZ and have left the patch at home so I can't tell you his name.  Sorry!) who is dealing with cancer but took the time to make me look like a dastardly myopic pirate.  Or a lonely colourless Wiggle in a cafe.  It doesn't matter what I look like but please check out the link here for more info on Pirate Day Friday coming up onJune 12th.

For previous readers of this blog you know that I was knocked out of action for nearly two weeks with a bacterial throat infection.  By the time I arrived in Sydney for their comedy festival I had not set foot onstage since the final show in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  Unfortunately it wasn't because I was resting.  I've had so many people asking me if I enjoyed the time off.  I wish it had been time off! Instead it was an excellent period of not being able to eat properly, sweating like a ham in a glovebox and losing a fair bit of weight.  (I will freely admit that the last part of this sentence is a plus.)

There was a bit of excitement in feeling behind the eight ball when I arrived for my first gig. It is amazing that I have knocked off over a 100 gigs so far this year but all it takes is being removed from the stage for two weeks and you suddenly are stung with doubt. The thoughts that run through your head:

"How does this show go again?"

"Will I remember my material?"

"When I remove the mic from the stand do I talk into the mic or the stand?"

"How can I get out of this?"

"Why do I perform?"

"I'm hungry."

 To be honest a lot of my thoughts finish with that last statement.  Luckily for me my venue was fantastic and my opening night audience was great.  For the completists the set list from the 7th to the 10th of May was:

 Snacks!

This was a season of two halves.  The Friday and Saturday shows; while fun, were tough. I was going up onstage at 7pm and the traffic to the Enmore is a nightmare so often I was only two thirds full before I was meant to begin.  You can wait a while but if you go over time you throw the rest of the schedule out of whack.  I don't want to be the reason that the 11pm show is running way behind.  It also means that there is distraction in the room when they latecomers finally arrive.  Sometimes you can play with that but sometimes it is better to ignore.  You can't spend the whole show getting people up to speed.

I have to stress both these shows were excellent but they required a lot of work.  I can understand an audience that is feeling tired after racing to the gig, spending time trying to find a park, possibly not having time for a meal or a relaxing drink and then coming in to concentrate on this fast talking fool.  I totally get that.  You just have to keep a steady pace and let the audience give the audience opportunities to catch their breath and relax into it.

 The shows on the Thursday and Sunday were fantastic though.  They were the type of shows you love performing because it almost feels too easy.  Both audiences were up for it and locked in from the word go.  There was a lot of ad libbing in those shows as well.  I was really happy that the Thursday show in particular was a fun show since it was the first show back in a while.  I lucked out there.

So I'm guessing that is the end of the run for "Snacks!"  I'll probably have fun with some of the routines for a while but once I return to Adelaide in mid-May I'll begin playing around with some ideas to see if I have a show in me for next year.  There have been some ideas brewing.  Anyone who saw "The Shelf" may have some insight into where I could go for next year but for now I'll play those cards close to the chest.  In a couple of weeks I'll upload some free versions of the show to my podcast "Can You Take This Photo Please?" so you can check out how it developed.  You can find a link for that here.

Thanks to everyone who came along in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. There wasn't one night where I wished I was an accountant so that is a sign that the gigs went well.  It was a fun run and I'll take a bit of time to see where I might go next. I'll leave you with this little story.  On the Friday night I joined some friends to celebrate Tom Gleeson's solo show in the Enmore Theatre.  We drank a lot and sang the first half of Crowded House's debut album into a plastic cup.  I laughed a lot and had a lot of fun with good people.  It was a great reminder of why I love comedy even if the business side can feel like a strain.  Being reminded of your friends and the fun side is how I feel that is how most festival runs should finish.

 

Justin Hamilton

12th of May, 2015

Taupo, New Zealand