Monday, 27 March 2017

Famous First Words at The Gunners, 27.3.17

It's been at least six months since I last performed at Famous First Words. When I enter the vibe is the same though. Eager comics, a couple of real audience at the bar. Some locals hiding in the back.

Mirthquake co-performer, Nick Purves, was on duty this evening and handled the minimal crowd with some shiny new material and his usual polite approach. 

Sheraz Yousaf was in the headline position like he always was when I was part of the promotion and it was good to hear some really funny observations from his now very slick Pursuit of Manliness show.

The other comics did as well as can be expected from a single figure audience sat in a large room where all but two are on stage at some point. I was no exception. The intro track worked well enough, a Hungarian man complimented me on new track, "Sound of the Tinny Drums" and people generally joined in. 

A quiet night but a good night.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Monkey Business at Cafe Rouge, 18.3.17

Sometimes an act comes along and truly smashes a room. This evening that act, sadly, wasn't me - though my three song set did go down well with plenty of crowd participation and some genuine love for my intro track.

The accolade instead had to go to Lenny Sherman. A well paced, slick and memorable set that cemented in place the best of what I'd seen previously whilst also extending into new territory. The final joke had a storming build up where the punchline came as a genuine laugh out loud surprise. Recommended.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Stand Up at The Leyton Star, 16.3.17

I look forward to every show I run but I was especially looking forward to this evening's. I've been a fervent supporter of David McIver for two years now and this was his Edinburgh preview. 

The audience wasn"t at the usual numbers which was a surprise and a shame. Nevertheless, come 8pm I was on stage reviving Crisis of Conscience for the first time since Edinburgh last year. Air punched and "yeah"s duly shouted we moved on a strong opening from Sella Graham. 

Gates Kandis followed with a mix of new and old material then Sally Firth took to the stage with tales of her son's misdemeanours. James Harris closed the first half with confident commentary and crowd conversations before I told everyone to get a drink and return for the second half - even throwing in some actual crowd chat around new and old Leyton for the recent arrivals.

I won't spoil the surprise when it comes to David's set but suffice to say in involved breathing exercises, a toga and an abacus. As character comics go he's really pushing himself experimentally and pulling it off pretty much all the time. The Travis song was quite the twist too.

So onwards to April and two shows where I actually won't be there. Firstly because I've handed over Tight Tens to the fantastic Sonia Aste and secondly because Peter Merrett will be at the helm of Bear Jokes whilst I'm over in Europe for an Easter break. 

Don't try and break into my flat - I have a housemate and a seriously vicious cat.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Bear Jokes at Pub on the Park, 9.3.17

It's amazing how quickly a vibe can change. At 7.55pm there are 5 slightly glum comedians sat in an empty room fiddling with their phones. 

Fast forward to 8.10 and Darren Walsh is making a room full of estate agents and new media professionals laugh out loud continuously. The good mood continued when Salford-based comedy adventurer Tom Little took the mic and then Lew Fitz injected even more energy into proceedings. I wrapped the first half with a well received West End and we broke for beers.

Gary Sansome previewed his updated for 2017 show, "Bald Man Sings Rihanna", in the second half to a 100% returning audience and jumped from material to simply MCing the now very vocal crowd with slick professionalism. By the end of the night everyone knew everyone's name and four of us were up front singing Umbrella. The donations bucket also made a pleasant rustling noise rather than a miserly clank.

So lessons learned? Less is more. Take three genuinely good experienced acts, add one all singing all dancing MC to top and tail the first half then leave the second to someone who can enjoy and handle 40 minutes on their own.

The run of Bear Jokes / barely any audience is over :-)

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Clash of the Tight Tens at The Castle

Clash of the Tight Tens is a night that never fails to surprise. True to form, tonight's show had its high, lows and general weird moments throughout. Andy Onions was running late so James Harris took on the MC mantle for the first half and opened with some friendly chat with the handful of real audience who had turned out.

As James finished his bit ten more people arrived direct from the bar and intrigued what the night had to offer. The opening act didn't crack them (as is often the case with random people who walk in expecting Live at the Apollo) and though they warmed to the next one they all got up and left as James announced my set. 

Doing call and response with 5 genuine audience members should be impossible but somehow things went well. With the intro rap, Airport and Tinny Drums all making either their debut or second appearance I was particularly pleased. 5 people is par for the course in Edinburgh some days so if it works here it should work there. The best response was for, as usual, West End which I tagged on the end. The newly arrived Andy Onions danced frantically at their back on this one - joining in the backing vocals with significant gusto.

Come the second half we were no busier but, then again, no less busy either so it was for the lucky 5 that Aaron Levene, Mark Cram and James Harris (now freed from MC duties by Onions) performed great sets. Following the show there was time for drinks and chat before a swift departure home. Shows like this are sometimes called character building but in this case I'd say it was genuinely enjoyable!