SHOW 15: 17TH AUGUST
I must be due a bad one. Surely the odds are on it happening. The sheer stupidity of the whole enterprise – trying to keep a room full of strangers entertained for an hour with nothing but words and faces – comes home to me now. Perhaps it will just go badly tonight? And I feel very relaxed before the show too with this thought. There is no steeling myself or trying to get myself in the zone or psyching myself up. Just pure unadulterated fatalism. I assume that either it will or will not flow when the time comes.
I have decided to stick to the revised running order from last night. As I feel it deserves
The room is full save for three seats at the front. The empty seats are off to one side.
The fengshui is so bad. It is just so awful it really bugs me. There is an older couple, next to the gap, who seem like seasoned theatre types. There is a grand austerity about them, a distilled judgementalness. The stage light catches their faces and they look like studio portraits, peering up in black and white and staring all still at me like they want a part in King Lear. I walk on very natural and less performed than usual. The reception is warm but low energy at this stage. I usually put the mic stand to my left, I cannot tonight for some reason. There is some blockage near the stage, some person, or piece of furniture, or some thing in the way, I cannot remember. I have to stick the mic stand to my right and I am not really thinking about what I am going to say too much but will run into my opening gambit and see what happens.
I just think slow at this stage. I think slow and don’t rush it and I often do rush it when I listen back to the tape. And my concentration is not great at the start, I am not remembering it easily and just saying the wrong things at times. I actually mess up a punchline during ‘More Friendly Than I Look’ to say the opposite of what I mean substituting “more” for “less” thus actually making literally no sense and still landing the punchline. The opening minutes are clunky but landing the punchlines. After about 5-7 minutes a young couple come in who fill up the empty chairs and this allows me to chat to them a bit and just break the ice that bit more and they are up for it and fun. I feel really relaxed in the space but also not relaxed, also like a tiger stuck in a small zoo. Stage too small.
First round of applause at ‘Life is a Waste’ get some bits of this in the wrong order but actually this doesn’t matter. ‘Sex Education’ comes too early before ‘Where is Hitler’ but maybe that is a better order. I think by now I know this is going to be the best gig of the run, this will only be a gig I can throw away from here. I really enjoy ‘Better than you’ tonight. I just seem to hit the tone of it right off the top and I am constantly thinking what am I trying to say to the audience? The show sometimes takes a hit here because if the tone is wrong they think I am a prick. But I am realising how much this material relies on getting the tone right.
From here on in I am plagued by the notion that I am ahead of where I should be and have missed a section. But this is just a trick of the mind brought on by endless changing of order.
I enjoy “Millennials’ most of all and really playing off the audience today. Making it about them and they take it. It is only here that my performance is correct, smooth and controlled and natural but now I worry that I am only doing this correct because my energy levels are about to plummeting through the floor.
The energy starts to drop through “Animals’ and I am not quite landing the punchline. But I get a round of applause at the very end!! I could have ended here. But I go into ‘Gay Town’ and I worry that it doesn’t quite build as it does if places at earlier point. It goes well and ends strong but I wonder if it would do so well on a tougher day and whether I should end on this.
Some great individual moments of playful silliness tonight. Felt like when you are in a club and they are into it and you can play about with a well honed bit of material. Felt like that at times and that feeling surprised me because I am discovering the material that I have written and finding out what I actually think about it and I am often surprised by what my routines are actually about. They are not
The warmest reception I have had from the audience. The highest bucket of the run. Everyone insists on shaking my hand. A fringe anorak insists on telling me how many shows he has seen during this fringe and how relatively good my show is to the mean average.