For those who think this stand-up comedy game is all glamour, read on please and have some reality come your way… This is my gig from hell!
I have this continuous joke with one of my best mates where he claims that I’ve “made it” in comedy and I profusely argue the opposite – cos trust me, I haven’t! And if I ever needed a compelling case to prove my point, this one gig in particular would be exhibit A.
It’s Friday night in the run-up to Christmas and I’m performing at a rugby club… already this doesn’t fill me with confidence for whatever reason. It could be that as I stated, it’s the run-up to Christmas and for the most part, comedians HATE Christmas gigs. We dread them the same way an England fan dreads a penalty shoot-out. They’re awful; full of loud, obnoxious bellends who don’t know how to behave and like the sound of their voice too much, not realising they’re spoiling it for the rest of us – a bit like watching PMQs.
So I get to the venue and the organiser comes up to me and the first thing she says is “So are you ready for this?” Ready for what? It’s a gig is it not? Last time I checked, I’m a stand-up comedian. So why shouldn’t I be ready? Someone only says “So are you ready for this?” if what’s coming next is gonna be utterly shit. That should’ve been my first sign.
She then asks the promoter and us comedians what time we want to start the show and how long it’s going to be with intervals etc etc… WHAT?!?!? Isn’t she the organiser? Is this not her job? To organise. Surely this is all stuff she should know and should be relaying to us, not the other way around. Second sign.
We then bizarrely tell her how HER show is going to run, to which she replies “Ok. I’ll get them to sit down and be quiet as they’re not very well behaved”… Yep, you guessed it – third sign. I’m noticing a theme here.
So by now I’m getting more signs than a deaf person watching BBC late at night. I’m seriously contemplating just walking out thinking “Do I really need this money?” when information is passed to us that before the comedy show there’s going to be a raffle… So lemme get this straight; there’s a pissed-up crowd of rugby goers who need to be quietened down to behave for a comedy show, and you wanna have a raffle right before where they’re encouraged to shout out and be boisterous? *SLOW HAND CLAP*
The raffle goes ahead – kudos to the MC for working through it – you’re a better man than me. I would’ve just dashed the mic at someone’s head. The next act goes on and again – kudos to them. Then it’s my turn. Can I just point out that by the time I’m meant to go on, the other comedians and the promoter had left. It was like they had witnessed enough of this horror show and didn’t wanna see the black guy die (cos we’ve seen enough of that in horrors over the years!)
So due to me being the only performer there, a woman who I assumed worked at the club (either that or she was confident as f*ck!) said she’d introduce me on, after a short interval. She goes on, to what I’m assuming is announce the break, but instead says “Ok. We’re gonna have another comedian now…” Huh? Where’s the interval? She then goes on to give me the most random introduction ever… “His name’s Nathan but I’d rather call him Big Daddy, and when you see him you’ll know why!”
What. The. Actual. F*ck! Did she really just introduce me to the stage like some sort of porn star??? I walk on to the stage (it wasn’t actually a stage. It was just a section of the floor in the corner of the room with poor lighting and even poorer sound) to 10% of the audience clapping, 20% of the audience at the bar more concerned with drinks and the other 70% looking at me in confusion like “Who’s Big Daddy?”
Needless to say, all of the previous signs from earlier came together like a perfect storm and I died on my hole! One couple walked out before I got to my first punchline. A few people who were at the front go up to go to the bar and toilets at various times of my set, and just to make things that bit more spicy, the mic kept cutting out every 60-90 seconds. I got one solitary laugh and that was only at the end when I said “Well, I’ve had easier gigs”. It was like the audience appreciated the fact that this was shit! “Bless him, at least he knows he’s awful!”
I walked off (only doing half of my allotted time) and headed straight out of the door, not saying bye to anyone and instead wanting to call 1) my mum to let her know that maybe, just maybe, 10 years ago she was correct and I should’ve stuck with architecture and 2) my mate to let him know that I HAVEN’T made it!