It's no great secret that Bear Jokes has had a few lean months of late. Numbers of real audience stayed firmly in the single figures and the donations bucket rattled in a concerning way.
However, this all changed this evening when 8pm rolled around and every seat in the comedy broom cupboard I call home was taken. At last, a significant number of people in the bar had listened to my promo-patter and believed it. There was also a good showing for the first of this year's acts previewing their Edinburgh show, Jon Long.
The first half went well. Anna and I opened with our Edinburgh 2018 remixed intro track and then bounded our way through Meal Deal and Airport. Between the two there was an actual semi-rehearsed segue involving an audience member which came off nicely. Given the lack of spots in London over 10 minutes I guess we'll be rehearsing our links one at a time for now.
Adam Coumas then came on with a slick ten involving baby gender cakes, Sam Mitchell did similarly well with new material, Maddie Campion talked about sex with ghosts and Nig Lovell had enough ink on his hand to fulfil an ancient prophecy but couldn't read it so ably freestyled around the themes he's planned to try out.
The second half rolled around with some of the acts heading home to beat the snow-hampered public transport and new audience members arriving. This included a somewhat vocal and more than somewhat inebriated man. From the off it was obvious that he might cause some disruption to the show but, being a preview, I figured Jon would appreciate some heckler exercise and sat back as I watched the musical troubadour include, pacify and and at one point tell off then hug the voice at the back of the room. Did it detract or add to the show? Possibly it detracted but it's the kind of thing previews are made for and despite the interruptions Jon pulled off a engaging fifty minutes with an equal split of storytelling and song.
Show complete I rattled the bucket and actual folding objects put in an appearance. A shuffle is always better than a rattle. Another of these in a couple of weeks and my tax return might not look quite so embarrassing.
John Pendal previews on March 15th