Must be Christmas cause the gigs are sucking again

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

           It’s a dead heat between comics and club owners as to who hates December the most, and yet that’s when we all make the most money. But we sure as hell EARN it! We have to continually perform to various pockets of large groups of people who all came from the same workplace, where they all know each other, where they all drink together, where they can’t seem to get around the idea that someone is up there on stage who’s spewing out his heart and soul, something he or she has done thousands of times before, and really DOESN’T NEED YOUR HELP in getting the message across. The rationale seems to be “Hey, it’s Christmas! Aren’t I SUPPOSED to get fucked up?” If there’s not someone trying to drunkenly inject something witty, there’s the constant chatter, where sometimes I get the feeling that the one person who’s listening then has to explain to his drunken mates what they missed while they were babbling on. This means that you have to pause between each gag and let things wind down before you can move to the next bit. Momentum is definitely a problem.

            So this weekend it’s the lovely town of Preston, about 30 miles NW of Manchester. I sensed there was trouble as the emcee struggled for the first five minutes trying to get the attention focused on to the stage, and away from audible ramblings about what someone had done at work today. The crowd finally relaxed, the emcee brought me on, and there did seem to be some communication between us, but that ran hot and cold. Funny thing how the further north you go from London, the thicker the accents and seemingly the harder they drink, so when you combine those two elements, it makes them even more incoherent should they choose to speak to you while you’re on stage. One man yelled out something so nonsensical that I had to resort to the old “Consonants are a GOOD thing,” so, recognizing he had been out of line and silly, he said “I owe you,” to which I said, “No, those are vowels!” That was one of those moments that redeemed me, but as funny as that was in the context, I know that was a one time only situation that will never again present itself. The glory was short-lived, anyway, for as I resumed my prepared skits and sketches, there were people being cautioned and/or ejected, so the room fluctuated between happy and bummed. Some of the bits that usually do well didn’t, and some of the lesser bits killed, it was all dependent on the mood of the room. 

               As hard as I had to work to keep a semblance of order, it was the bouncers who really worked overtime! I was the “fortunate” one going up first, theoretically before the drink really took effect. (Tomorrow I’m closing, oh joy!) That theory was full of holes, as some had started drinking as soon as they got off work. During the closer’s set, a good portion of the room was tossed out, most of it being from one group of 42 contract laborers, and really, if a group that large is going to show up, maybe it’s best to sit them in various groups of 8 to 10 throughout the room, rather than all together where they can be one forceful, obnoxious unit. Toward the end of the closer’s set, he actually had the crowd on his side, but that was academic considering that almost half the room was gone by then.

                My advice to the large groups that choose to come to comedy shows at Christmastime: First of all, DON’T, but if you feel you must, think about whether a comedy show where you have to keep mostly quiet is the best idea, remember that your chances of getting laid are much less than if you went to a dance club, and while you’re still sober, think a long time before committing your entire crew to something that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. One of the best ideas Jongleurs ever came up with was a £100 bond charged to any groups of 10 or more, and if any of them are unruly, they’re all thrown out, and that £100, as well as the cover charge, is not refunded. When you’re being charged £25-30 cover apiece during a financial crisis, and faced with the spectre of losing that and an additional deposit without seeing the full show, then just maybe you’ll make each beer last longer.

                  I can only hope Saturday goes better, and if it does, you won’t hear anything about it. That’s the funny thing about this business, how we have a 90 to 95% success ratio of good to bad gigs, but it’s that 5 to 10% that are the more intriguing to hear and talk about. To those of you who behaved tonight, and those who meant well, have a happy and safe holiday!! 

                




One Response to “Must be Christmas cause the gigs are sucking again”

  1. Deb Says:

    do you feel better now? That’s show biz baby!
    Come home and we’ll have a better crowd for you.

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