Imperial Hotel

2014 November Gigs 172 - 178: Imperial Hotel to Wil Anderson Support

November is turning out to be a busy time of the year.  I'm always quite surprised at how my self esteem improves with the amount of gigs that I'm performing.  Even when I'm taking a break that I know is necessary there is a mild funk when I'm away from the stage. I don't believe it has that much to do with a desire to perform but more a sense that you're working and therefore earning a living.  It always makes me laugh when people tell me that I work too hard and should just take a month off.  I will gladly do this when someone offers to pay me holiday pay.  Heck, I've been doing this for twenty years, I'm owed two loads of long service leave, right? My first gig for the week was helping to fill in a gap at Imperial Comedy.  I've been performing there quite a bit lately and it is beginning to feel like a second home. With a rock solid audience who are locked into every show it has provided me with an opportunity to really play around with my material.  By changing the sequence in some of the routines I've been able to reveal more jokes and interesting asides that have helped flesh out the new material.  Here's the set list for the gig:

 

18th of November:  Imperial Hotel

 

Biker Gig

Milne and His Fine

Manson Getting Married

Abbott Shot In The Face

Liberal Government

Legal Pot

 

For those of you who haven't seen the material just enjoy the heading of "Abbott Shot In The Face" and extrapolate from there where that material might go.  It was another fun night at the Imperial Hotel but I had to leave early as the next day I had a flight to Darwin to support Wil Anderson on his tour.

My tour manager Claire and I managed to upgrade to business class for our flight and I'll be honest, it is brutal when you have to return to economy.  Big seats, real cutlery and staff that just want to keep serving you booze are just some of the joys of sitting up the front of the plane.  I love drinking on flights as I find the air pressure in the cabin combined with the booze ends up making me a little teary.  I'm made for a weepy flight moment and anything can set me off.  As an example I watched the trailer for "True Detective" (a series I have watched stacks of heaps of times already) and found myself getting a bit weepy watching that.  Hang in there Rust, everything is going to be ok!

 

Between shows hoping I don't have a bald patch showing up in any mirrors.

 

Our first show as part of this tour was at the Darwin Entertainment Centre where a thousand Ando fans came along to see the big man in action.  As a support act I feel you have to go out, warm up the audience, get them in the mood and don't outstay your welcome.  They're not there to see you, at best you're a bonus.  Do you job and hit it hard. This was the set list:

 

19th of November:  Darwin support for Wil

 

Kid At Cap

Turning 40

Before The Internet

Fix Your Flaws

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

 

This was a great start to the tour except we had some major sound issues.  With a cordless mic that was feeding back throughout the first five minutes it made it difficult to land punchlines.  Also for some reason the smoke machine had a mind of its own and was spewing out the type of smoke that even the makers of "I Dream Of Jeannie" would find excessive.  At one point with me dressed all in black surrounded by smoke and a mic that was making lightsaber noises I must have looked like a "Be Kind Rewind" version of Darth Vader.

Funnily enough I was so relaxed with this happening about me that I was actually finding it quite funny.  When I was younger I think I would have had a mild nervous breakdown but knowing there was nothing I could do until the techie fixed the problem was in a way quite liberating.  Also I feel as the support act this is the type of thing I'm there to help solve.  It is better for the sound to be a mess while I'm onstage so when Wil comes out for his show everything is sorted.  In a weird way this is part of my job. Still the audience was great and the gig was a fun one despite the tech problems.

The next day we flew to Perth (back in economy...no upgrade for Claire and I this time...booooo!) and had a day off before getting back into the swing of things.  Over the next four shows (including our show in Kalgoorlie) my set list remained the same. When you know it is not only working but coming in on time you don't want to mess around too much in case you throw everything out of order.  So the set list was:

 

21st – 23rd of November:  Perth and Kalgoorlie support for Wil

 

Kid At Cap

Turning 40

Before The Internet

Fix Your Flaws

What A Woman Likes About Me Now

“I Don’t Give A Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

 

In fact I tell a mild lie.  I dropped the "What A Woman Likes About Me Now" after the opening show in Perth.  I just thought it messed with the flow of the set ever so slightly. Not that anyone would have noticed but I wasn't 100% happy with it.  The audiences were incredible and very giving.  Considering I was the support act I felt very much like they were rapt to have me there.  This is also helped by the generous introductions that Wil gives at the start of the show that lets them know in no uncertain terms that I'm there because of him.  I thoroughly enjoyed these gigs and it is a massive buzz to perform to roughly 6,000 people over such a small amount of time.  If you'd told me when I first started out that one day I would have that opportunity I would have been rapt as I am now.

 

Wil in action in Kalgoorlie.

 

There was one other gig tucked in amongst these shows.  On the Saturday night Wil had two shows at the Perth Exhibition Centre and after the first gig I was booked for a corporate gig that was in the same venue at exactly the perfect time.  What are the odds? I can't remember having that type of luck before and have been very thankful that it turned out the way that it did.  It was for a company of three hundred and I was booked to knock out 20 minutes at their end of year Christmas party.  I didn't perform any material at this gig but instead did audience work instead.  It was that type of gig where they enjoyed seeing someone from their company feel awkward more than they wanted jokes and I was happy to provide!

 

Adam Richard and I turned up to see Rove's secret gig at the Imperial Hotel.

 

Monday it was time to fly from Kalgoorlie to Perth to Melbourne.  What a great way to wipe out a day but after a fun run of gigs and a fair amount of travel it was nice to not think for a while.  I'm relatively happy with the new material as it is getting to that comfortable stage where it feels like the material I've been performing all along, a natural part of my regular set lists.  That is a good sign heading into some down time before the new year begins.

The following day Rove was headlining the Imperial Hotel and I went down with Adam Richard to just watch the show.  It is important to go to gigs and just sit back and enjoy the night.  It was a perfect way to relax before the next run of gigs here in Melbourne.

 

Justin Hamilton

28th of November, 2014

Fitzroy North

2014 October Gigs: 154 - 157 From the Imperial Hotel to the Opera House

Four gigs covered in the latest blog that begins in Melbourne at the Imperial Hotel and finishes with a gig at the Sydney Opera House.

2014 Gig Thirty Nine: Puggs In Space

An inability to relax leads me to seeking out a gig in the hope that I can burn off some energy and grab a good night of sleep.

2014 Gig Eleven: Spleen Bar

This was a gig that happened by accident. I was over at the Imperial Hotel watching a couple of trial shows earlier in the night. I think we've talked about trial shows previously but if you haven't read those blogs I'll give you another (quick) run through.  Basically a trial show is where a comedian will perform onstage to a small bunch of people (usually fellow comedians but sometimes general public) with the notes for his or her new show.  The idea behind it is just to say some of the routines out loud or explore some of the ideas onstage to see how your show is coming together.  I performed a few last year but didn't end up writing about them because I wasn't certain they came under the heading of proper gigs.  They're a great way for you to discover the rhythm to your show and find some new ideas.

I watched a couple of trial shows and then after the gig had a bit of a chat to both acts about some of the ideas I had while watching them perform.  When I was done with this I knew there were some acts on at Spleen that I would like to check out so I ducked across the road and backstage to say hello.  Karl Chandler (promoter of the room and a funny comic in his own right) looked at the line up and noticed he was ahead of time so he offered me a spot at the end of the show.  As you know I've been taking it a little easy before everything gets crazy but felt a nice surge of adrenalin at the offer so I decided I'd take him up on it.

With the decision made I now had less than ten minutes (roughly the equivalent of two acts) to work out what I might perform.  I had been so unprepared for this spot that I had only two types of routines running through my head:  material from my latest show and (very bizarrely!) material that hadn't been performed in a looooooong time, possibly close to a year, maybe even longer than that.  I didn't want to produce material from my new solo show (Adelaide Fringe tickets here and Melbourne Comedy Festival tickets here) for two reasons.  The material about Afghanistan has been fleshed out and improved to such an extent that I didn't want to reduce it to the bare minimum and ruin the new flow I have with the stories.  The other material had only been performed at Spleen a few weeks ago and while they venue has a high turnover I didn't want to disappoint anyone who may have seen me back then.

Instead I embraced the weirdness of only being able to remember material from a couple of years ago.  Since I was on last and had been asked at the last moment to perform, I didn't want to stay onstage for too long and do a disservice to the night. There is nothing worst than a comedian deciding since they're on last they should hold the audience captive when all they really want is a couple more laughs before heading home.  My goal was to be funny and short.  (In time...I've already nailed short in height.)

 

The set list was as follows:

 

Hen's Night

Shaky

Mount Isa

A Word In Scrabble

 

Anyone who has been following me for a few years would recognise these routines. I've lost interest in talking about shit gigs in recent times because it feels a little bit too "in" of late.  Plenty of comedians talk about how bad his or her gigs were so why add to the chorus?  There is of course nothing wrong with talking about these gigs.  Heck, they can turn into good therapy for the comic.  I just decided until I had a new way into this type of routine then I wasn't interested in performing that type of story.

The Hen's Night and Shaky story though are nearly 12 years old!  I first performed these routines in my first solo show "Screw You Misery, I'm the Karaoke Guy!" and they're the type of routines I have only used sporadically in the previous years.  If anything I keep them for daytime corporate gigs as they're the type of audience that does not want to be challenged in any way.  Could you imagine me performing my "Pro Choice" material to an audience that just really wants to hack into their Chicken Kiev? Well feel free to imagine it because it ain't gonna happen.

Why could I only remember old routines?  I have no idea.  I did think of some other routines that are more relevant and up to date but I wasn't certain of how long they would take and I didn't want to hold up the show.  I could have performed a few routines but they may have blown out the night.  I did find it funny that these old gags popped into my head though.  Once I decided they were going to be performed it took all the pressure off and I could listen to the previous acts and take in the performances so I could get a read on where the audience was at.

I have to admit it was fun coming back to these routines.  They had treated me well for a long time and I can't really remember the last time I have just gotten onstage with no ulterior motive other than to have fun.  Funnily enough I feel this blog can sometimes strangle me as I want to find something interesting and inspiring in every show so I have something positive to report.  This time though I was just happy to jump up at one of my favourite venues and play for five minutes at the end of the night.

Maybe I should remember to just play more often?  I do appreciate the irony in reminding a comedian to have fun at a gig.  Might be time to get myself a tattoo, get "Have fun" tattooed across the back of my hand.  On the other hand I'd have "Less snacks" but that is a whole other blog.  I was so underprepared for this gig that I forgot to take a photo for the blog so instead I'm going to give you this picture of Tom Gleeson that I found while promoting my first podcast of "Can You Take This Photo Please?" for 2014.

 

 

Just a happy dude waving from his car.  Zah!

 

Justin Hamilton

5th of February, 2014

Fitzroy North