Yesterday, I had three gigs booked. The first was We Love Comedy, which was a nice compering slot. Followed by a 10-15 at the Crypt in the Jekyll & Hyde pub. Coincidentally, it is where this story begins...
I died on my arse last night. I snuffed it at the Crypt in the Jekyll and Hyde pub. There were a couple of old ladies at the front I had on side for the first couple of minutes and a row of three fairly friendly looking girls behind her who looked quite happy to see me at first. The rest of the room was fairly full, albeit with a few Spanish speakers at the back. Frank Cassidy, the MC, did rather well warming them up so I didn't have any excuse for doing badly. My turn, and as I may have mentioned already, the first couple of minutes went fairly ok. Then I lost the room. My focus was pulled onto the three women in the second row, who had gone from quite smiley to much less so. I kept trying to get them on side, but was getting absolutely nothing and this was making the rest of the audience feel quite uncomfortable. I performed the remaining 7 minutes to almost complete silence.
My instinct at this point was to crawl away and curl up into the foetal position under the nearest rock or parked car. But no, being the first one on, thought I'd see how the other two booked acts would fare. These being a Tom Jones 'OAP' tribute act and a cabaret comedy magician... The Tom Jones tribute act came on with his two walking sticks, playing up the pensioner angle to a tee with his Tom Jones style singing voice, reworked lyrics and jokes as old as the man himself. He found it hard work for sure, but fared much better than I, even getting a reaction from the silent girls when he started to straddle one of the old ladies at the front. The third and final turn was an American burleque comedy magician with deliberately ramshackle 'hack' magic tricks, at one point utilising a hair dryer and another a hoover. Clever twists on an old theme I thought and a very good act. Still, he struggled to hold them, but was brilliant at appearing not to care and I really enjoyed what he was doing. Then he went to do a 'character piece' as a private detective, complete with overcoat and music. For this he required an audience member and went to pull up one of the quiet ladies from the second row. To say she was reluctant was a major understatement. He pulled and pulled until finally she was dragged up onto the minuscule stage area and he positioned her behind him, with her arms sticking out in front so her arms became his. He proceeded to act out the scene:
"So I saw her walking across the street and I just had to stop and wave..."
He looks down, perplexed. "I said...wave..."
Half turning round at this point,
"I said, WAVE..."
"WAVE!?! Why aren't you...?!!!"
It was at this very point, one of the older ladies at the front shouted out "she's deaf!".
My third gig that day, I could do nothing else but tell that story.