A tribute to Robin Williams here at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Before we delve into the gig here is the snack that was bought at breakfast this morning:
When you end up on the road with people that you enjoy hanging out with little routines begin to take shape. This tour it has been the devouring of snacks in bakeries after a friend of mine from abroad asked me to rip into a vanilla slice. While I have been disappointed to know I only have a short amount of time with this group my waistline may in hindsight be rapt especially if I keep up this snack based routine. Suffice to say it was tasty and chock full of after the fact guilt.
There was a mild trepidation heading into the Colac gig last night as we had heard that a couple of years ago fellow comedian and nice kid Joel Creasy was the target of some homophobic behaviour. While we had no interest in judging the audience before the show began it was definitely in the back of our minds. In the end we were thrilled that nothing occurred last night that would warrant our condemnation. It would be unfair for last night's audience to be tarred with that brush but it goes to show how a few idiots can ruin a town's reputation. I am pleased to note that last night's audience was the antithesis of the reputation it had garnered in some comedic circles.
My aim for the show last night was to shake the order up a little just to make certain I didn't settle into a performing lethargy. Sometimes if I perform set lists that are the same or too much the same I can find my mind wandering in the middle of jokes. To keep myself in the moment I like to shake things up in the set list a little. While there will be a familiarity you will be able to see where some of the changes have kicked in. Check out the set list first and then I'll explain some of my changes and why I've kept some things the same.
Riffing with the audience
Car Accident in Adelaide
Fix Your Flaws
Invite To Parties
“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”
Hushed Angry Conversation
Little Boy Joke
When changing up a set it is important to make certain you don't add a routine that takes you over your allotted time. I have been pretty conscious of that since the first show and while there are some of my routines I would like to pop out I have not had the time to check just how long they will go. I don't want to launch into a longer routine and then find I only have five minutes to wrap it all up. This also happened to me at The Comic's Lounge just last week so I am guilty twice of going over my time.
To keep things moving along I added a couple of routines in the Car Accident story and the Fix Your Flaws routine. From there I just added and subtracted which routines I would go into next and when the light came on to let me know my time was nearly up I turned to the Little Boy Joke to finish on. I had planned on telling the story about the little boy at Captain America but I haven't had enough time to flesh out that idea and I think there might be more to it. I'd like to give that a crack tonight if the opportunity presents itself so I'll try to get stuck into that some time today.
I'm also using this tour to continue to rework my talking to the audience skills. Last night the front row consisted of an older audience and the person I picked to speak to was a bit of a smart arse. Not in a bad way but in attempting to be funny from the audience he waffled a bit too much. I had to take that opportunity to (nicely) put him in his place but he was a good sport as were all the group he was with. On this tour one of the goals we've given each other is to drop a hack line in the middle of our set. A hack line is a line that is so generic that loads of comedians use it. I managed to drop a big one on the gentleman in the audience as he was surrounded by four women (two on each side). I gave it a bit of, "Whoa, this looks like a computer date fuck up". I did this for mainly the comedians watching side of stage. Yet the line went down a treat and garnered a round of applause. I was thrilled and felt dirty at the same time. "Let he who plays with hack lines bear the outcome no matter what that may be," said some comedian at some point. I can't back that up but it feels like something someone would have once said.
I thought everyone had a great show last night but in particular Rhys Nicholson had a scorcher. I have been immensely impressed with both Rhys and Neel and have found their company to be quite energising. It also has inspired me to try to be even better onstage just so they know the old man can keep up. Of course the same can be said for touring with Dave Callan and Tiffany Stevenson. Dave has been a legend on the scene for a long time now so I want to do well in front of my peers. Tiff is a new friend but feels like someone I have known for a long time. Since she's out here from the UK I definitely want to impress with my best work.
I like the positive competitiveness that can be inspired by touring with good comedians. I believe it is always a good aim to attempt to be the best on the night but not to the detriment of your team. When someone I like has a tough gig I feel nothing but empathy for them. I know that feeling and there is nothing anyone can do to help you shake it. It is just something you have to work through on your own. It is amazing that even when touring with a bunch of comics stand up is still so often a solitary exercise.
After the gig I had Neel explain to me the differences between the Australian and US YouTube communities which I found fascinating. I plan on having him on my podcast "Can You Take This Photo Please?" soon just so he can share his thoughts with you. If you don't know Neel I think you'll be surprised by how articulate and thoughtful he is. Definitely a bright kid with a great future.
After the gig Tiff and I recorded a podcast that I'll post sometime next week. It is a very funny podcast that ranges from the surreal to the sublime. Tiff's explanation for why Bruce Springsteen is the shit is riveting even if you're not a fan of The Boss. By the time I had returned to my room it was another late night but it is difficult to return to your room when you're enjoying everyone's company. Two shows to go and we're at Airey's Inlet tonight for another sold out show. If they're as good as the Colac audience we'll be in for a bumper Saturday night.