SHOW 19 – 21ST AUGUST
Mmm. Not my favourite show today in fact my least favourite. Not the worst show but my least favourite – I use different measurements. I am feeling genuinely tired for the first time today. I have not slept well. I try to perk myself up with Starbucks coffee but I have a genuine weariness. The audience is small, they sit in all the extremities of the room. They have no energy. They sit at the back. They bring nothing. They have no chat. I can do without this shit at this stage in proceedings. I take my time to get to the microphone but they continue to applaud all the way to mic. The applause is sustained while lacking enthusiasm. Yesterday was like this but yesterday I had something, yesterday felt different. I can build nothing with this lot. I cannot corral them into anything. I cannot make them an audience. There is no momentum. They reset every time. So even when they like something the energy doesn’t carry. My set is just a load of bits “and here is a bit, and here is another bit and why don’t you try this bit on for size?” and why not just take them as bits instead of stringing them together in your head and fashioning a narrative. Where I can build a relationship and you can trust me to stretch it and go further. Let’s not do that. Where I can build tension and release it when you thought it was going one way and it resolves another way and that release gives laughter. Let’s not do any of that. Why don’t you pore over every clause like a lawyer. Break ever clause down piece by piece and examine it for acceptability. Let’s not suspend disbelief while we’re at it.
I am possibly too aggressive today with my audience directed comments for such a small crowd. There is one guy who walks out. He is tall and sinewy and bald like the head waiter in my local Indian restaurant in London. I resolve to never eat there again. Three young people arrive exactly as he leaves about 25 mins into the show. They bring a fresh energy and for about another 15 minutes it seems like we have a quorum, that it has reached tipping point and it will be OK. Then I loose them around ‘Gaytown’ I think they think I’m some reactionary. To be honest I find it difficult to land this, the most practiced of all the routines in the show, today. This is perhaps an indication that all is not well. I know how to do Millennials now to make it sound like an end but there is insufficient build to warrant an end. The tone is all wrong for millennials despite them being all millennials in the audience. They think I’m having a go at them. I AM having a go at them but not in the way they think.
Interesting listening to the tape it is not difficult to see why it didn’t build to anything. Delivery rushed and flat and lacking rhythm. But I could not hear this at the time. And this is exhaustion creeping in. I genuinely felt like I was performing it well and with energy. Not so. Yesterday I watched Daniel Simonsen. It was a masterclass in audience control. I applied none of it today. Will I never learn? My gig was one of those gigs that make you question your own existence. Afterwards I go to a Turkish barbers. A man shaves my face with an open razor. I think of the scene in Mississippi Burning. He is Gene Hackman and I am southern racist. Perhaps I die here.