SHOW 24 SUNDAY 26th AUGUST
I go to watch Jen Brister before my show. Out of her show at 2.50pm. Run to my venue. Arrive at my venue 2.55pm. Set up room and open doors 3pm. Start show by 3.02pm. Somewhere in the midst of all that I gulp down coffee. It hasn’t kicked in by the start of my show.
The audience could do with some too. Low energy at the start and I keep thinking “slow Down Stephen keep the pace, let them come to you” I just take my time and I keep it slow, let the punchlines hang, and there are titters from the edge and a slab of middle aged indifference in the centre. I just hang back and hang back. Possibly can’t do anything else at this stage anyway than hang back. I don’t have the energy to go fast. Through empathy, god they are so sensitive, they are highly easily offended. Still telling myself to pace it out, savour the gaps, take it slow, then into Animals and still they are resisting and still I am defying myself to go faster.
I am going to stare them down. And am aware I am not necessarily performing it enough but I don’t want to do anything that makes it speed up. Slow down Stephen, take it slow. Deliberate paced. Let them come to you. There are moments I slow it down even more and the laughter increases but it is still impossible to get a roll off that. I think I am going slow anyway. Maybe I am still going too fast? I assume I think it is going slower than it is. So I aim to go a bit slower than sounds right. Really let it hang the way you would with a hot, drunk, full Saturday night but not so much a half empty Sunday. And still I hang back and still they resist.
But there are moments where the laughter builds now, particularly through Attenborough, it falls away again, there is no roll, but I am starting to break them. People’s phones are going off all over the place. Indeed more phones are going off in this one show than all the previous ones combined. It distracts me. I don’t have enough brain left to filter out these distractions. Turns out you need more brain not to notice stuff.
Still pacing, still holding back. Gaytown, they don’t go for this as much, there is something highly sensitive about them and I can feel the audience split here between more seasoned comedy fans and people that have inadvertently stumbled into shelter from the elements. The seasoned people are going with it but they are scattered and this hunk of comedy stupidity languishes in the middle of the audience. Still I hold back. Into Life is a Waste and then suddenly it hits me. T
he caffeine from all that coffee kicks in and whoosh! Like taking a line of cocaine in a movie everything sharpens and I suddenly know how to perform each phrase and my comedy head is back on and now I am getting them and landing it all and the laughs builds and it has momentum now and I am performing it and I am enjoying it now and I am high on caffeine now and I am high on them enjoying it now and I am excited and in my excitement now and all restraint goes out the window and I loose all discipline. Now I am not pacing but going hell for leather. But this is what they want. This is how they want it and this is what they get. What they want fast and energetic and ranty. And I rush the ending but it is going better or am I just high on coffee?