Supporting a Comedy Chum

Last night, a friend from the beginner’s comedy course wanted to perform at his 2nd gig after the show case. He was going to be about 15 minutes from my office and so it would have been rude to say no. He is also my friend so saying ‘no’ would have been a dreadful thing to do.

After arriving at Shepherds Bush Market I started walking down the highstreet. After 10 minutes I thought maybe I should check Apple-Maps! This lead to some confusion where I nearly got on a bus to Acton as I thought I was in the wrong place, but eventually I made it to ‘The Green’. Essentially, if I’d have turned left instead of right when I got out of the tube then I’d have been there in 30 seconds!

The pub seemed quite lively and as I sat down with my drink my chum arrived! Madro White!

We chatted for a bit then went off to go find the venue. We made our way downstairs and found the room it would be in. It was still set up like a pub, with tables and chairs all over the place. While I nipped to the loo, the room was transformed but then one obvious issue was there….it was essentially a corridor for one of the two routes to the loo. This would be a challenge for the performers, that’s fo-sho!

The gig was at a venue called Heavenly Comedy and is hosted by Njambi McGrath. Although the website says it starts at 7.30pm, the actual gig didn’t start until 8pm. My plan of watching my chum then leaving early to get on with my own stuff wouldn’t happen…especially when it looked like he might be on in the 2nd half. There looked to be one slot on the bill in the 1st half so he added himself to that and that was it. Another chum of mine, Zainal had been blown-out at a gig elsewhere so wanted his name written down for this one and he’d come down…but as he would be trekking across London he couldn’t be there himself to do it. Luckily there was a space so his name went down.

There were probably 12-15 people in the audience when Njambi (The MC) opened the show. She did ask how many comedians there were and then how many ‘audience’ and it looked like the comedians outnumbered the audience 6 or 7 to 1! I thought this might alter the dynamic of the room but really it seemed like everyone was in this to have a good time. She explained she is trying to put together her own show and will be trying out bits between the acts. After an introduction to ‘Dancing with My Father’ we learnt a bit about Kenyan TV security (When a TV is turned on it creates warmth, this can not be hidden!) and their Solar Panels. Before too long the first act was welcomed to the stage.

There were some good laughs by the audience. It was a gentle start to the comedians trying out there stuff. Madro was on 2 (or 3) and got off to a good start. The customers walking through to the toilets was something that all the comedians had to put up with. I wonder if there is a way to fix this without reducing the audience area too much? Madro started with a great bit about crusts. The audience lapped up (poor choice of words) his semen crust joke. There was some nervousness in his delivery but the jokes, once out, got a great response from the crowd. A good bit of incest joking in the middle was follows by some toilet going pub dwellers which interruptedup a good routine about sex/chocolate cake.

Originally there was going to be no interval but some early-non-showers turned up and we had a quick break. In the 2nd half a punter joined from a doorway. He was a little drunk and decided that each stand-up set was more of a conversation. He did plough in with his helpful suggestions, often repeating them louder while saying, “You can have that one.” as if he was a comedy god giving out his jizz of comedy to waiting newbies. The truth was he was just a pain. All drunk hecklers should have had to listen to his ramblings when they are sober to realise why ‘joining in’ isn’t as much fun as it appears at the time.

Zainal did his set in the 2nd half and it was really well received. There were a few more acts (including someone who was in the final of a national pun-competition!)  and then around 10.15 the night came to a close. As I left the pub I did get a slight pang that I should have performed also. Maybe I need to dust off my writing fingers and break my performance cherry.