Tuesday, 9 June 2009

London/Edinburgh/Stumpy.

What a lovely day Sunday was. Perfect, in fact. I woke up early, washed the candle wax from my hair and headed out to the Udderbelly which is a massive purple cow with a comedy venue in it that currently resides on London’s Southbank. Normally, it’s in Edinburgh during the fringe festival and seeing it set up fully with the bar area “pasture” and cow-print seating made it feel totally like I was actually at Edinburgh. I even wanted to punch a juggler. That’s how accurate it was. Of course, being in Edinburgh and seeing the London Eye just over your shoulder was a head fuck but at least there wasn’t a bunch of utterly cunty dancers rehearsing and massaging one another. That would have been too much.

I was there to see The Early Edition, the topical show starring Marcus Brigstock and Andre Vincent. Their guests were Phill Jupitus and Lewis Black and they read from the papers and took the piss. It was that simple and extremely funny. I laughed a lot. At a comedy show. At noon. I didn’t think that was possible but it happened. Everyone was funny, of course, (Andre’s “Honk Honk, Mugabe!” was the highlight for me) but the big surprise for me was Lewis Black. It didn’t surprise anyone else that he was that funny because they’d all heard of him because he’s famous and a legend of comedy. Basically, I am shit and have never heard of Lewis Black. I’m an idiot who has missed out on something very special indeed. Pretty much every noise the man made made me laugh. I say noise because words seem to fail him a lot and his own fury at everything keeps him from actually finishing a sentence. It was like working with Clunk, said Andre.

I’m looking forward to seeing The Early Edition again before the end of its run at the Southbank. It’s well worth getting up early for plus sitting in the pasture drinking beer in the sun (and rain) was just lovely. I’m in love with Sunday drinking and want to marry it. I certainly want to shag it, at least. There is a lovely, well-presented, unique and massively over-priced market nearby too that I went to for food but just ended up buying a glass of wine and swanning around the Southbank drinking it. I felt like Lord Prick and it goes without saying that I was fast asleep before 4 o’clock. DRINKING!

Yesterday was different. I woke up in dread. I was scared and didn’t want to get out of bed. I knew as soon as I opened my crusty, stupid eyes that later that day I would be on stage at a new material night doing….NEW MATERIAL.

I’m terrified of new material and new material nights but most of all new material audiences. At these nights, designed for comedians to either experiment with ideas or for new comedians to figure out their act, the audience is just as new as the act on stage. They’re very different to audiences at a regular comedy night. They’re shyer, slightly more awkward. Supportive, yeah, but geeky and less confident than a normal night. You have to be so aware of that as a performer. This might be their first time ever in a comedy club or the first time they’ve ever heckled or clapped and we must give our support and nurture them into being a proper audience, hopefully moving on to bigger gigs on down the line. I met someone who had seen me perform at a new material night five years ago and now he’s seen gigs in Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham although he said he’s still having trouble getting into Jongleurs. But he’ll get there. You just need to keep going to these nights, people, and we comedians will soon give you the confidence to go to Jongleurs, The Glee or even The Comedy Store (you’ll be calling it “The Store” in no time!). Anyway, last night’s audience were so new, so na├»ve, so RAW that they completely forgot to turn up. So I got all nervous ALL FUCKING DAY FOR NOTHING. Cunts.

Still, if I hadn’t left the venue really early without doing a gig then I wouldn’t have seen Stumpy. I doubt I’ll ever get over Stumpy.

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