Exit Stage Fright
Back in 2006 I was doing a number of newspaper features on entertainment and decided I wanted to have a go at stand-up comedy. More as a record than anything else, here are the dates I did – almost all five minute newbie slots – and brief comments.
It was fun, but tiring and a great experience. I prefer writing, though.
May 7 – Surgery, Stafford – Sean Percival/Andre Vincent
The Surgery was a friendly club in an ancient pub in my hometown of Stafford. The audience was encouraging and Sean Percival said nice things. I don’t remember much beyond climbing the back stairs and emerging onto the stage blinded by a spot-light.
June 3 – Comedian, Tipton – Anthony King/Stan Stanley
The Comedian was a purpose-built stage designed for comics by landlord and experienced entertainer Ray Crawford. The crowd were great and I got a (few) laughs…..
July 2 – Surgery, Stafford – Mark Watson/Andrew M
Back to The Surgery. I think I pestered them with promises of stories. I was poor. Mark Watson told some great stories. It was stiflingly hot.
August 7 – Joxer Brady’s, Stafford – Billy (poet)/ Mancunian guy
Joxers is a pub just off Stafford’s Market Square. I enjoyed it and got laughs. Felt I could stay on longer but the audience probably didn’t. Billy was a Scottish poet from Derby and he was great with the audience.
August 19 – Comedian, Tipton – Nick Page/Ciamh McDonnell
Nick Page was very supportive and very funny, particularly on his native Gloucester. It went quite well. It was a great place to play.
August 25 – Junction, Norbury – Nick Page/magician
A canal-side pub I’d visited many times as a kid. I went on stage from behind a little curtain that would barely have covered a wardrobe. Good to go on before Nick. Audience loved him and I got some laughs too.
Sept 4 – Joxer Brady’s, Stafford – Johnny Sorrow/Rob Halden
Rob and Neil Reading are well known in Stafford and have brought a lot of great comedy to the town. They’re both funny too which helps. Rob has won awards. Have a look at his twitter feed here. Johnny Sorrow was good. Plenty of pathos there….
Oct 17 – Ale Wagon, Leicester – competition
Good room and compering by Anthony King. I enjoyed it and got through to the next round. Joy tempered with concern at a late-night round-trip from Carlisle to Leicester for round two. Some moans in the dressing room (OK, stairs) about a guy getting through because he brought lots of thirsty family with him.
Oct 24 – Dog and Parrot, Newcastle – don’t recall
Scared. I was absolutely dire. The audience didn’t move an inch and a professional comedian in the front room folded his arms and frowned a lot. He was right. Only consolation was others were bad too.
Oct 28 – Blackfriars, Glasgow – Scott Agnew/Gary Little/Glen Money
I was at my in-laws in Fife and then drove over to Merchant City for this one. Scott was very friendly and Glasgow’s a great night out. Enjoyed chatting to Gary Little. Polite chuckles, I think. Good comedy scene in Glasgow.
Nov 16 – Jekyll and Hyde, Edinburgh – Rick Molland/Andy Vaughan
Andy said he had read from Leviticus at his last gig. Seem to remember the audience was mainly foreign with limited English. My gag about applying yoghurt to a sexual infection (based on a friend’s experiences, naturally) seemed to be a hit with a table of Portuguese.
Nov 18 – Comedian, Tipton – Scott Denyer/Rod Rhys
Great to be back in the Midlands and a good venue to play again.
Dec 5 – Dragon Bar, Liverpool – Sam Avery
A late night drive to and from Liverpool from Carlisle. The miles, on top of being a journalist and young Dad really starting to bite. The gig went well but an intimidating guy shoved fifty quid in front of another try-out’s face and said he’d never earn that. There was a brief silence and everything went on as before. The man had the air of someone who could have us all killed. But he laughed at my yoghurt gag so I’d forgive him anything.
To be continued…..2007