STEPHEN CARLIN: THE OPINIONATER
SHOW 1, 2ND AUGUST
I have rewritten the opening to my show in the last few days and haven’t yet had the opportunity to try it out. I used up all my preview shows with what I later decided was an unsatisfactory opening.
So the first routine of the first show of my run is untested. The ending needs working on and also there is a huge section about Animals/David Attenborough that needs streamlining. I am not sure I remember the current order of material and I keep forgetting some of the punchlines but apart from that I think the show is in pretty reasonable shape.
I have the usual worry that no one will turn up but it doesn’t happen. The first audience members sit in the front which is ominous/a good sign. So basically I can tell nothing from it. Another pointless omen. Audience mainly seem Scottish – I would say west of Scotland. I don’t ask. I don’t want to do crowd work at the start. I just want to start at the start of the show. Like a show. Like proper comedians do on Netflix. Just start… like start.
I try being silly on the offstage mic as much to get me in he mood but also in an attempt to break the ice. Good immediate audience rapport. Straight into first routine. Never done it before so really no memory upon which to base and know where to pause – here we go – just have to guess where they will laugh etc. But all goes well at start and puts me at ease going into initial section of Reptiles, Face, Sympathy, i am l playful at this moment. I seem to think I am using movement well but this maybe an illusion. Then I forget a whole section: Empathy…! 4th routine in forgotten in its entirety, But show doesn’t suffer. Or does it? I think with hindsight it could have projected show to greater heights. So fuck up undisclosed to me even at the time as I am having too much fun. In previews that was where the show picked up so I assume today it would have boosted it. Ah the show that could have been!!!!
In “Life is a Waste” I forget “Where is Hitler” bit and then stick it in almost as a non sequitur which accidentally makes in funnier and makes the man in the front row spit out his pint. Difficult to replicate that moment again though.
But show generally bubbling along nicely all the way to Millennials. Here it starts to feel a bit disjointed. Also there are some millennials in and they don’t seem to see the funny side of it – which is the funny side of it for me.
I don’t think I ate well enough before the show. I suffer noticeable lag at about 45 minutes. I can feel the energy drop. My performance isn’t as good, my head is a sea of fog. I am having to concentrate on what I am doing rather than coming naturally. I think the dip creeps in at Beautiful Girl and then all through Animals/David Attenborough suddenly it seems my routines are full of traps I deliberately wrote for myself. What was I thinking? I might end the gig at the end of David Attenborough but suddenly I realise the end of that is also a new bit I have never said out loud before so not a strong enough out. I therefore end of Vegetarians: a reserve routine that I suspect as the show grows will get squeezed out altogether. I do wonder if it is wise to do it because it takes the show time to the full hour but I don’t want to get off.
A group of about ten people leave 5 minutes before the end to (a) avoid putting money in the bucket (b) possibly in hindsight got upset by the millennials-too easily offend routine (oh the irony) (c) thought I was shit but waited till 57 minutes to make sure. Fuck these people and never come back.
Over all good show for opening show. Good bar to start off the run. Was pleased with start and kept it playful for the first 30 minutes anyway. Forgot sections. Thematically a mess. Things that have to be fixed : mainly Animals/David Attenborough – as expected.