Gig 3 – Ha’Penny Bridge Inn, 22nd September 2009
Like the the novel after the sophomore slump, this was my best gig so far. I dropped the blasphemy stuff and ran a much more fleshed out version of the virginity stuff I’d improv’d in gig 1.
The crowd were quite old (for a comedy club, e.g.: lots over their mid forties) and though they were a bit shocked they were willing to go there, and didn’t get too offended. The MC (Damien Clark, who runs the Woolshed comedy night), built up some great energy and was an absolute legend too- for some reason (probably me mixing the dates up) I hadn’t been included on the show rota, but he stuck me right on anyway, 1st in the second half (a great slot).
Overall good start, dry middle, good end. The crowd really enjoyed the Byron Frumpeque accent stuff, which I hadn’t expected.
I took off my jacket this time. It’s a small thing, but I think not having dark heavy clothing (which I wear mostly, to be honest, to conceal the auld spare tire) seems to increase your visbility on stage and more importantly opened me up more, making it easier to move and connect with the crowd.
If slowed down a lot this time, and didn’t run around the stage or touch my face nearly as much (as in Gig 1 and 2). Great piece of advice Aidan Killian gave me before my first show. ‘Pick up the mic, put the stand out of your way, let the audience see your face for a moment, and introduce yourself’. It’s obvious, but your wouldn’t believe the number of vetran standups who don’t do this. The exceptions are acts like Dylan Moran who build nervousness into their persona, or guys like Simon Mullholland who play with the comedy of awkwardness.
Perhaps most importantly, my timbre and cadence (prosody) were good. I’d nailed it in rehearsal, and it’s probably not audible in the video, but I got the rhythm, and intonation out much better than previously. This is something all my favourite standups are wonderful at- next time you see a Paton Oswalt or Bill Hicks video on youtube, close your eyes and listen to the emphasis they put on words as they stretch a story to ludicrous and hilarious effect. Their intonation is so good sometimes it doesn’t matter if you can’t hear what they’re saying, it just sounds funny.
Watching the video….
In retrospect the big difference with this gig is that I had a) practised out loud (as I’d had somewhere to be completely alone), which helped with the voices and emotional tone, and b) I believed in myself a lot more.
Overall I think my presentation was good, just a little too fast.
The transition to a ‘Ronny Drew’ accent worked great. I think the trick is to do it quickly and completely seamlessly, and obviously not to have previously dipped into that voice at all (a mistake I made at a more recent show).
The ‘life is filthy’ section went great, the audience seemed to really enjoy the combination of character, vivid description, intonation, gestures and utter filth. I also didn’t move around too much.
I feel I addressed the whole audience rather than one specific group (or the air) better this gig. Although it doesn’t come across in the video (which was filmed from the back of the room).
This is the first gig where I paused for reactions (including groans of horror). I need to step this us and (as I keep repeating), need to vary the emotional tone more. I did this quite well in some sections (like the ‘wasps nest testicles’ bit, which I’ll probably drop, and the ‘drag me to the toilets’ line. This will hopefully help / benefit from slowing the fuck down.
Audience really like the ‘Fibber McGees = Lying Vaginas’ bit.
Conversational tone was good, delivery didn’t seem rehearsed.
Good finish with ‘her lips were gummed shut’ line and cheeky delivery.
My body language was very good in parts, very congruent, specifically the ‘life is filthy’ bit, but overall still too tight, and too many extraneous hand gestures.
I looked happy to be there. For whatever reason this was my most comfortable gig so far.
Hmmm…. Judging by the video this show went well, but not quite as well as I’d remembered. I’d written a new ‘cleaner’ opening bit, which worked for the most part (well enough that I’ve kept it for the two gigs I’ve done since). I opened well with a ‘lewd’ hello, but then the list of things too posh for the audience worked OK but not great.
I forgot the end of the ‘posh’ introduction, arg. Which made the transition to my normal voice go badly, although not terribly as I stayed in ‘character’ for the ‘I’ve completely forgotten’ line. Luckily the audience were already on my side at that stage, so it was OK.
Broke my own rule about not responding to inaudible hecklers (for the record I think he said ‘she’s your ex’, pointing to his girlfriend).
The moving house bit was too quick (although I slowed down midway through). This bit is still not getting the reaction I think it could get. Although the cheap ‘hot dog barbecue’ line always gets a laugh. I also blanked out for a moment midway through. ‘Getting in touch with landords’ line went well too.
The ‘Stage 4, daft.com’ line doesn’t work, so I’ve dropped it from here out.
Need to improve my description of ‘the truly homeless’, if I’m going to continue to use the moving house bit.
Bungled the ‘toilets of a dublin pub’ line. Arg.
There’s real potential in the ‘of course I wanted to fuck her’ line, but it’s not working right now… Could develop it a lot.
Still wandering about the stage loads, although it’s more directed in this show.
Messed up handing over the mic again.