The sun is great. Unless you run comedy nights. Sod's law ensured that in the one month where I would be running shows on consecutive nights (Bear Jokes moves to the second Thursday in June) temperatures would rise and audiences would fall. At the end of the day it doesn't matter how many listings you feature in, how many people repost your event or the sheer quality of your line-up - if people want to sit in a beer garden that is exactly what they're going to do.
Bear Jokes at Pub on the Park had a brilliant line-up with a first half of Sam Deards, Benji Waterstones, Naomi Mcdonald and Matt Duwell going down well with the group of six who'd reserved seats plus a couple of other real audience. Tales of the Unexpected kicked the night off well and as we hit the half-way point I settled in for a small but worthwhile night.
The second half, however, got very surreal when it became clear the party of six had left the pub. Later, I'd get a mail from one of them (the daughter) explaining her parents had just flown in from New Zealand and jet lag had kicked in. A fair reason, though it still left us with four acts and three real audience, all of which were friends with one of the performers.
Saskia Preston (a stand-in for the ill Ariane Sherine), Maddie Campion and James Harris all did what they could with what they had with sets that at times felt more like a chat than a performance. David McIver perfectly summed up the night though with ten minutes of improv - using half a mic stand as a giant hand, observing the part deflated balloons in a corner and playing a song about how sharp knives are whilst tapping together two found in a nearby pint glass. I'm pretty sure this is what genius in the face of adversity looks like.
Friday night was Clash of the Tight-Tens at The Castle and another brilliant line-up, this time MC'd by the mighty Andy Onions. The weather did its best to kill off the audience but through a mix of repeat MeetUp members and people in the bar lured by my wallpapering of the place in posters there were a comfortable amount of people to laugh at the funny.
Stella Graham, Haran X, Janet Bettesworth, Ben Lund-Conlon, Daniel Offen, Winter Foenander, Sasha Ellen (pictured) and myself gave it our all and Andy Onions got homoerotic with a Glaswegian. A lovely night made even better when a couple in the audience decided that instead of popping a fiver in the bucket they'd buy every performer a drink - setting a new donation record of the equivalent of about £40!
Post show chat in the bar carried on for a couple of hours and two happy audience members went home with posters. All in all, a pretty decent night!