I have realised the huge flaw in only writing a blog every few days rather than daily, and that’s that I have far too much to talk about within any 24 hour period. Therefore letting it build up until I do actually write a blog means that you, the blog reader (yes, all one of you) gets a barrage of thoughts that have been left inside my head to build up, stew and generally make no sense, all delivered to you in one literary brick to the face. I’ve already written another Huffington Post blog today that may, or may not, be legally allowed to be on the site again (fingers crossed peoples), so at least that’s one strand fired elsewhere. Sadly for you though, here go all the other ones:
I had the joy this weekend of performing in one of ‘those’ comedy clubs. You know, those ones. The ones that only operate on weekends. The ones that see comedy as secondary to the amount of drink they sell and the disco afterwards. The ones that tend to attract the kind of crowd that can’t give a fuck about comedy at all and the ones where the comedian is less a purveyor of comedy than a master of crowd control, like a smiling bouncer. This weekend wasn’t too bad, but the Saturday involved an entire table of people who had tickets booked for one of the chain of clubs in an entirely different city. The staff – who were some of the nicest, most patient people in the world – sorted it all out so these idiots could stay, sat them down and gave them drinks. The idiots then complained about the drinks, food and service before proceeding to heckle every act with the phrase ‘WHO ARE YA?’ or the overly original ‘YOU’RE SHIT YOU ARE!’ before being kicked out during the second section. That’s the sort of lovely people they were. People who can’t even turn up to the right city then blame the rest of the world for their lack of brain cells. Part of me was sad they were evicted before I had the chance to respond to the ‘WHO ARE YA?’ heckle by telling them that they would need a lot more money to see acts they might know from the telly, and they’d have to act like actual proper audience members. This was the nicer retort of the two I had in mind.
Anyway, I had the blessing to be working with several other brilliant acts and the venue manager and rest of the crew were bloody brilliant, so all in all, we dealt with it and no one had a ‘bad’ gig. I don’t love these gigs but in the last few months I’ve taken resentment to those acts who like to tell me ‘Oh no, I wouldn’t do those sorts of shows’ boasting about how they are above it and frowning on those that do. And yes, several acts have said that to me. I can see why they’d say it and yes, if I suddenly hit fame I wouldn’t see myself ringing up these gigs to pop in and do new stuff on a weekend off. But the fact is, they are useful for a few reasons. Firstly they pay brilliantly. Shallow but true and as a working comedian I don’t mind being able to pay my bills by doing these shows on a weekend, if I can then be creative and do non-paid or lower paid nicer gigs in the week. I have to live and I like having things like a phone. Until someone finally pays me to eat crisps, this is my only option. The other reason is that while some argue that these gigs can make you a bad comic, forcing you to perhaps dumb down material and become more crass, I take a huge pride in walking away from a weekend like that having avoided all dick gags and stuck to my material. Sure, I don’t break into politics and keep to some of my older stuff, but I try my best to compere with friendliness and feel hugely pleased with making an audience laugh by just doing some of my older gags. I think if you don’t only do these shows it can make you a better comedian. If walking on a stage to an audience of rowdy stag dos, hen dos, parties and army folk doesn’t phase you then nothing will, and you’ll only walk onto stages with proper comedy going audiences with an even bigger sense of enjoyment than you did before. But yeah, hurry up telly work so I don’t have to think of more comebacks to ‘WHO ARE YA’. Thanks.
BE THE BEST
I was brought up to be vehemently anti-war. I have been on countless anti-war marches and generally believe that, on the whole, much like the song says ‘what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.’ The current situation in Afghan and Iraq, if either can even be referred to as wars anymore, just seems like oppressive regimes in already battered countries, where our country continues to send troops pointlessly to their death or at least injury and trauma, wasting money, resources and people we could use elsewhere. However, despite this view, I have, of late, gigged to quite a lot of army people. And some RAF. The thing is, they’ve all been lovely. They’ve all either just come back from Iraq or Afghanistan or were about to go and amongst the sometime horrible people I’ve come across at gigs, they have always been the nicest, most polite and lovely audience members. A bit of me has always felt sorry for them having to go through such horrible events and I’ve often held back bits of material where I insult either troops or the situations in those places. I think what’s happened is that while previously I would easily discard anyone who’d joined the army as a complete tool, I’ve since realised these wars aren’t their faults. They are the faults of the governments and industries that created them. Not only that, but in a society with such huge unemployment, a job prospect that involves you never having to pay rent, or pay much of anything, yet gain a decent salary, all seems like a decent idea. More recently I played a gig to a whole regiment who were losing four members to job cuts and were having a leaving do. Just where do you go from there? So for now, I’ll leave those jokes out if those people are in and hope this isn’t by any means mean I’m becoming a war sympathiser. Just a people one I think.
Somewhere in the world at 5pm this evening, something really god damn cool had to be happening. Something so stupendously cool like Bootsy Collins and the Fonz riding Harleys and listening to Cymande while fighting ninjas. Something like that. Why? Well because at 5pm today, after having a huge milkshake, me and Keith Farnan, both replete with beards, went into a comic shop and geeked out. I’m having a bit of a comic resurgence at the moment with a continued love for the Walking Dead graphic novels, an excitement for the upcoming Avengers film and a constant sadness at selling my whole Marvel collection aged 17. Today I bullied Keith into buying Walking Dead volume 1, because it is one of the best things ever. He, for similar reasons, bullied me into buying The Boys vol 1 by Garth Ennis. I’m not going to go into it, but I’ve already read it and ordered vol 2 and 3 for delivery this week. It’s dark, gritty, imaginative, funny and brilliantly illustrated. That’s it. This entire paragraph is just a doting, gushing piece of marketing for The Boys. Go buy it. Bloody love comics.
Think that’s all. At some point I will write up the brilliance of the Altitude festival and the naked bear dancing in ski lifts, but I don’t want you to run out of word intake all at once. I’ll try to not leave it so long next time…..