Gigs are continuing to cheer me up. That will stop soon, obviously, but for now I'm really enjoying it.
Last night I played in a gig called the Hellfire Club in High Wycombe. The last time I was there was in 1996 as a punter. I saw Adam Bloom. That's all I can remember but last night's gig will hopefully stay in my head a bit longer. Firstly, the club looks great. It has a great big wacky comedy devil at the back of the stage and there are bits of triangular cloth being fanned and lit up to look like fire everywhere. Hell is just the right atmosphere for a night of comedy, I feel. I think what I liked most about the club was their choice of music before the show.
Comedy clubs have terrible taste in music. It's always the same crappy wedding-disco music at pretty much every club in the UK so it was nice to be somewhere where they felt confident to play Iron Maiden track after Iron Maiden Track after Iron Maiden track. Lovely. Especially when a man walked in with his very young family. Bring Your Daughter (To The Slaughter) played while the man cheerily sat his 12 year old daughter at their table. How apt, I thunk.
Luckily the gig was far from hellish. It was really, really, really nice. It was a big room that demanded focus for the first few minutes but after that they seemed to give me pretty much free reign to do whatever I wanted. That was nice of them. I even tried out my ever failing "Newcastle" bit and it did very well. I will, of course, continue to swear blind that I will NEVER perform that piece again. Not a completely perfect, storming gig but an utterly enjoyable one. I'd love to play it again one day.
Not only did I enjoy myself but I had the chance to ruin someone's career also. That's always the mark of a great night out. A couple of drinks, a few laughs, fuck up someone's life. Especially when it's someone who's not even there.
The compere, Mike Wilkinson, decided that I was actually Michael Smiley. As he said "We've got Michael Smiley opening the show tonight" I burst out laughing. Partly because he got it wrong and partly because I was thinking how disappointed the audience are going to be. He said Michael Smiley's name twice again before finally introducing "Michael Smiley" on to the stage. I looked around and assumed that Mike had meant me. After all, we Northern Irish comedians all look the fucking same, don't we? I got to the microphone and asked the audience to give it up for our host and compere, Mike Belgrave, and started the gig. It was then that I realised that I could really fuck this gig up and maybe get away with it. Tonight, Matthew, I am Michael Smiley and if they never book Michael Smiley again then that will not really affect my career, just his. And news of stinker gigs spread quick in this business. I just have to fuck this up so perfectly and in days, hours....MINUTES the word will be out that Michael Smiley is fucking awful and no-one will book him ever again and he will die alone (I plan to woo his wife also, did I mention that?) and remembered only as that man who opened a gig saying that he thought Nick Griffin was "well fit" and then started throwing his excrement at the audience while screaming "CUUUUUUUNT!" repeatedly.
As it turns out, I just did my set.
So, if Michael Smiley never gets booked again then it's my fault and I'm really sorry. I promise NEVER to do the "Newcastle" bit ever again.