Is My Stand Up Show Still That Funny?

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This blog is supposed to be a bit of a sounding board for stuff that could become part of my act, but so far its been a bit of a neglected derelict wasteland, so hows about I talk about my forays into the world of being funny so far and see how that goes, ready? Then lets begin….. 

I have been a bit quiet on her recently (barring the dead wasps post which I wrote on the fly (ice hockey parlance for quickly rather than regular Scottish parlance as being sneaky) and this is due to the fact that moving house is taking up most of my time. But before that i was preparing for a stand up gig in Paisley, which the poster above is for.

It was my first show in Scotland and was a lot of fun, and thats about it. Cheers.

Aye right, you think i would just mention the stand up show and not rip the hole out of every minute detail? Think again, here goes.

The show was set up for me by my mate (and fellow fledging (nobody) comedian) Alan Provan who can be followed on twitter at @bigredap incidentally, through his links at The University of Paisley University of West of Scotland (UWS as it is abbreviated) due to the fact he rocked a one man show himsef back in the spring. The idea for this was take some of the pressure and work off him, as he did over an hour in what was his debut, and give me an opportunity to flex my comedy muscles on the Scottish scene for the first time.

See i have done this before, i even went to night school for a few months and learnt how to write a joke amongst other things from a guy called Larry Horowitz who is an established comedian over in Canada. His class was frankly complete positive propaganda, i sincerely believe he could have convinced anyone they were capable of standing on stage and telling jokes. Learnt so much there and loved it.

Off the back of that class i got offered a gig at amateur open mic night at Yuk Yuks comedy club in downtown Toronto which i duly accepted. I would love to tell you i blew them away with my ascerbic Scottish wit and acute insights into Canadian life seen through my own particular West of Scotland prism but i cant. Nerves and a serious accent barrier kind of set me back, admittedly i wasnt very good but i got through my set and got some laughs out a crowd of about 80-100 so cant complain. I never died on my arse. The buzz coming off the stage was amazing though and from there i wanted more.

Now lets go ahead and talk the poster. What a embarrasment. There was one of those about five feet tall at the venue and i am mortified. I never did my research you see. Alan text me looking for ideas to rip off to name the show. Since he did the first one man show this is the sequel and a sequel needs a name, i had a think about it and by the time i came up with one he informed me it would be called Big Reds Funbus 2: Electric Boogaloo which i now know is some bullshit break dancing film. At the time i thought it might be gangster rap? Though apart from the ‘in character’ cap i probably best resemble test shots for a prospective star of a Gay Exchange commercial. Sad thing is those arent even the worst, there are others which with any luck will never see light of day.

So with my face and enormous pythons gracing a poster and having reached the point of not being able to pull out it was time to bring together the material. The cutting edge stuff that never broke the language barrier in Canada seemed a bit redundant as it was about being Scottish but thats not to say its not adaptable, more i wanted to dive headfirst into some new material: Ned Porn.

I decided to splurge all i knew, all i have heard, all i have seen and all i hope is true about the subject down on paper and learn it to a point where i can say it like i just thought of it. Plus added in some crap bout Hollyoaks and The Scheme, you know high brow telly to go with the high brow main emphasis of my set.

A week before the gig Alan jumped on the train down Ayrshire way to go out for a few beers and catch up. We hadnt spoken face to face since he was over visiting me in Toronto the previous September. While he was down we recorded a podcast of us having our ctach up but also plugging our upcoming gig. A fruitless task really as probably noone would listen to it (especially if they were aware of the run time (two hours of us meandering through the world of Scotlands international chances, Lost finale, Twilight and also our myrid of fears and expectations of our show)) before hand, though they may now. www.bigredsfunbus.blogspot.com and go hunting for the podcast if you dare. As i mentioned inside the commas, fear was talked about and frankly it was all that went through my head for the months up till then and that following week. I actually thought about pulling out as I never had what i was doing locked in or anything. But then if i wasnt scared then i would be really worried as its bloody terrifying up there with only a microphone in your hand and your brain frantically racking its internal server for something to say that folks watching might actually laugh at.

Onto the show, my major falldown in the Toronto club was that i couldnt remember my set very well, I kept having to go to my notes on the table and while doing so leaving big ugly pauses which i meekly filled only with embarrasment and not any off the cuff filler material. Now instead of coming up with some off the cuff filler i decided to learn my set better.

Actually i didnt do that either, instead i bullet pointed the crap out of it on paper and sellotaped the full thing (16 pages) onto the stage floor.

So it went well, performance wise, i got my set over pretty well and it lasted far longer than i thought but the venue wasnt really very good. Weirdly it was far too big for a man of my meagre experience, with over 100 and maybe 200 people in. The biggest problem was that the the majority werent there to see Alan or myself, or comedy at all, they were in for freshers week to get pished and play pool. Maybe even get aff with a member of the opposite sex. Watching some wally from Killie up on stage talking about the potential for great DVD extras on ned porn wasnt what they were in for and so there was a constant din of people talking. A shame really as though it was great to stand in front of such a big crowd, maybe a smaller one where everyone was there to listen to us wax lyrical on dicey subject matter would have been better.

After I came off stage, i got a hug from Alan who watched from behind. he told me i was pretty good and that meant a lot, and the Uni workers who were hiding through there were in shock at what i had said on stage so those were both decent reactions. No “you are shit, give it up” jibes which was nice. In the crowd i met with the 4 people who had travelled through especcially for me (i was reluctant, and still am, to tell people of my pastime and appearance on stage) and they never tore me to shreads either (well, yet) and my good lady girlfriend who was present at the Toronto debut said i was a hundred times better than that night. High praise indeed. I did meet Alans mother who was there and felt about 4 inches tall when i realised that she heard my quite risque set. No harm done i suppose, its only words, though i havent seen Alan since the gig and its now November so maybe he isnt allowed to see me any more, his mother has banned hime from seeing the foul minded Ayrshire boy.

Alan went up after the break and rocked, though he suffered the same noise problems i did, we wont go too much into his set, thats his to talk about after all. While i watched him however something rather cool happened. I was stood at the bar drinking a beer. I should add at this juncture that despite the fact we werent paid to do this gig we did have a rider which amounted to free booze and so i was making a dent into my allocation when a young chap with long ginger hair came up and asked me if i was the comic who had been on earlier.

I replied yes while trying to concentrate on Alan on stage. “I dont understand how you never got laughs” the ginger lad said to me. To which i struggled to find a reply and meekly asked “no one was laughing?” He noticed my shock at the strange way to open a conversation and so retrackted slightly and told me that he was laughing a lot and found it really really funny and there were other people laughing too but he felt that the whole act was better than the reception that it got. Which was really rather sweet of him. I started to warm to this guy now and asked what he was doing at university, he said music which was fine, but also told me he was a script writer too. I asked what year he was in and he told me he was just about to start first. He then told me about a job interview he had been on which seemed odd but as i said he complimented me and i am a sucker for such things so I indulged him. As his story wore on it struck me that this young pup was telling me a joke he had written and actually hitting me with his schtick and treating me as some sort of peer. I confronted him about this and he said he conceded that yes i was right and he was only trying to get some feedback off someone who was further up the ladder than him.

To that guy, whoever you are, i salute you. You made my night. I went back to watching Alan finish up his set (which he edited on the spot due to the noise, well done him) and the two of us drunk a small but not insignificant hole in the rider.

So that was it, the plan was to get up the next day and analyse the set and the performance and see what could be made of it but instead I lay around and watched DVD’s then ate lunch.

Anyway

Thats enough naval gazing for today, time to get back on track and write some inane bullshit…..

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