SHOW 11: 12TH AUGUST
I nailed it today so nobody will want to read this. For those who enjoy a train wreck look away now.
I am genuinely looking forward to the show beforehand and I am very much calm. A wet rainy day in Edinburgh. The audience file in subdued and not talking much. I do not expected a high energy crowd. A drunken man is standing at the bar waiting to be served. I tell him I will wait until he is seated before starting. He takes too long to get served. I renege on my promise. I start without him despite the fact that he seems utterly incapable of entering an audience without causing a disruption. He will disrupt on my terms rather than be late on his. Something like that?
Despite feeling tired and lacklustre prior to the show the energy is flowing as soon as I take to the stage. Everything seems to click. The rhythm comes natural, all the lines fall at my feet, I land everything, I know how to play the room, it feels easy and so familiar, like I have been doing this set for a 100 years. It is fun, I have hit it off with the audience. The momentum seems inevitable. The only glitch comes around Rebound – The Heating section. It doesn’t work and ruptures the energy. I will cut it tomorrow. It is easy to get the energy back but why have a blip in the first place? Even at this early stage I can sense potential storm clouds on the horizon. The drunken man from the bar has made it into the room without causing a disturbance but he doesn’t intend to sit without causing a disturbance. He is just so excited to be here. His enthusiasm bubbles over and he cannot keep his mouth shut. He has been rumbling away since the early minutes of the gig but now his distant storm clouds are heading in my direction. There are occasional outbreaks of heckles. I try putting him down quickly and keep going, I am anxious not to interrupt the rhythm, not to give him space too expand, anxious not to give him the oxygen of publicity. But he remains unresolved and I am starting to glance the ghost of comedy gig future. I can see a good gig being wrecked by a persistent irritant. At around 15 minutes in I realise I will have to grasp the nettle. I think it is around ‘Better Than You’ I have to slam him fairly hard to try and put him to bed. It is overly harsh, and I take a hit in the short term as the audience draws back, but I also know that it has to be done. He walks out briefly, comes in at a different section, shouting his head off that he “likes me” but the aggression is building. I am telling him he can leave. It is a very typical sort of Scottish argument. Two people who essentially are agreeing but end up at drunken logger heads. “we were best mates and now we are nearly fighting and I don’t know what has happened” This has happened to me a million times in Scotland and not usually during comedy gigs. but calling out the situation on the nose seems to lance the boil and he is good as gold after that. With hindsight this is such a miniature storm in a very small cup of tea that it is almost barely worth mentioning it now. But I can only say that it seemed significant at the time because I also know it could have gone very differently. It could have become a thing. The rest of the gig is a dream. I don’t think I will have a better one in the run. I am so in the zone that I instinctively know how to play it. This increases the laughter which buys me more thinking time. I have the luxury of selecting which way I want to delivery the next line. It is a lot of fun. Everything is gelling. I forget ‘Hitler Left/Right wing’ totally but I hardly have time for it anyway. I pitch the tone of Millennials well but I am genuinely feeling out as I go and I have built enough of a bond with the audience to play with them.
I check my watch after Beautiful Girl and it is 3.55pm. I should have ended it there – the show. But I try and cram Animals into the remaining time. This is perhaps the only real disappointment of the show. I am aware of the limited time and I think I rush it. I run through it, I do not savour each section. I cut Vegetarian completely, I don’t even do it and I still over run by 5 minutes.
The best show of the run. It got more and more fun as it went on and that spurred me onto a better performance. Like all good sets it all slowed down while going really fast. Each minute decision could be taken in the comfort of loads of thinking time but overall the show sped by. There was a clarity to my thinking and I seemed to execute decisions accurately.
It was all so effortless at the time but it now leaves me shattered. The show feels unrecognisable from a week ago. The drunken guy turns out to be my biggest fan. He wants a selfie. Perhaps I misjudged him/the situation/ all hecklers in the history of my act?