Ok what will commence is some comedy type analysis, so if you find that mega dull, please turn your eyes away now. Not your heads, just your eyes. Yes, hard isn’t it? I’m hoping you’ll still see this in your peripheral vision and be drawn to its brightness and feel compelled to read anyway, only to hugely regret it by the time you get to the end. Sorry about that. Anyway, here we go onboard the comedy dulldom bus. There is a small period post Edinburgh where the concept of gigging is a tad tough. After having spent a month performing every single day and saying almost exactly the same material in exactly the same way, you gain a natural resilience to ever having to say those words again. You’ve burnt out the enjoyment of repeating those gags to an audience, while at the same time have become so bored with everything you’ve ever said before and yet haven’t quite got the brain or care going yet to write a whole bunch of new stuff. As a result, the notion of getting in front of a group of people to make them laugh doesn’t inspire you with joy.
Last night was my first proper gig back post Fringe. Since then I’ve only taken part in shows at Bestival or Comedy Club 4 Kids which rarely requires me writing anything at all as the audience tend to be so nuts I can wing it every time. As it is, I hadn’t done a set since back in July – besides a few short sets in Edinburgh – as I’d mainly been compereing and so my 20 minute routine barely existed. Knowing Mark Olver would do such a great job MCing at last night’s Glee Club in Oxford I realised I wouldn’t be able to get out of it by just chatting to the crowd as he’d have had that covered. And so instead I just spent the day getting myself into a bit of a worry as to what to do, what material I could cope with saying and trawling through my back catalogue for any words that didn’t incite boredom in my own head and would be forcibly spouted with no expression and dead eyes.
Then the lovely thing happened that happens every year about the same time. I suddenly realised new ways I could say bits from my show if tagged onto older bits of material. On the journey up to the gig I managed to make myself a whole new 20 minute set with a mixture of things from my last 8 years of gigging and the joy of it all quickly returned. I wrote a set list down for the first time in years getting sudden moments of inspiration of how link everything together and I went onstage and had 20 brilliant minutes of fun. It hugely helped that the Glee Oxford is a comedy club set up by people who know how to run comedy clubs, with the audience set out in perfect comedy formation with clear sight lines to the stage and security right on hand to stop any twats from ruining things. It also helped that the bill was all of comics that are both bloody lovely people and great acts too: Jason Patterson, Chris Turner, Lucy Porter and Mark Olver. All in all it made me suddenly very happy to be back to the normal run of things. I have missed the 20 minute bursts of entertaining crowds without fear of critique or ticket sales. I’ve missed the backstage banter about service stations. I’ve generally missed it all. Its lovely to return to the circuit. Oh yes. Now I give myself two months to get really sick of it again and crave Edinburgh once again…..
By rights Doctor Who should’ve been brilliant last night. It had a premise based on people’s bad dreams, set in the prison like trap of a fake hotel with a huge monster that ate people and it was written by Toby Whithouse who has previously been very good. The trailer the week before had made me, Nat and L all jump around with glee at the possibility of needing to hide behind the sofa in fear. Yet somehow, it wasn’t. Somehow instead of providing us with a dark nightmarish borderline unsuitable for children episode it was as formulaic as ever. Once again Amy Pond fell into danger. Once again their was an alien who at first seemed to be malicious and yet ended up just being a tormented troubled soul. Once again it really wasn’t that scary and just ended up being a vanilla version of what it could have been.
I am a big Doctor Who fan and I’m starting to get really tired of how repetitive its all becoming. Rory dies, Amy gets in trouble, the aliens aren’t really bad, the Doctor saves the day. Yawn. L questioned if there will ever be another episode as good as ‘Blink’ from the Tennant series and until they are willing to make it as scary and haunting again, there won’t be. Blink was amazing because it changed how the show should work. It focused on one very simple, cruel creation of the weeping angels and frightened us all with the notion they could only move when we weren’t looking, tapping into all of our childhood fears. Same for the later Moffat episode (no readers I’m not a full on Whovian who knows the names of all eps) set in the library with the creatures who lived in the shadows. All you need to do is work out what made us afraid when younger and play on that. Yet every episode this series has dabbled with the idea – monster in the cupboard, scary clowns, ageing too quickly – yet they’ve all pulled the ideas back before it can worry anyone.
I still have such fond memories of a Sylvester McCoy episode with a creepy circus where the Doctor and others were bait for the carnivorous main acts, or the weird desolate city world with an evil alien roaming the empty corridors. Please can we have that factor back? Please can you be daring again? Or are we now reduced to seeing the same episode again and again with slightly different graphics? No it seems sadly not, as the next episode has James Cordon in. Sigh again.
This is brilliant: