I did my first gig (#16) outside of Newcastle last night. Myself, George Zach, Nicola Mantalios-Lovett and Jack Gardner went to the lovely seaside resort of Redcar, it was magical! There was a late night street performance where a group of young male performers put a girl in a bin against her will. Cultural satire at it's best.
Did I have a great gig? No. Did I have a bad gig? No. So it was good? Yes, kind of. I exclaimed afterwards that I may have ballsed it up, which was untrue, it was fine, but I immediately regretted my performance. This was my 3rd time of performing first on a night, you would think by now that I would have learned that my material doesn't seem to work to a cold audience. They laughed in all the right places which is what made it a good gig, but there was no energy. The MC didn't warm the audience up as there were a lot of acts to fit in due to the night being two shows seemingly joined together. I found out five minutes before going on I was going first which sadly didn't give me enough time to consider my options. The problem I had was as soon as I stood on stage I knew what I was going to say wasn't going to sound right. The audience had no energy and hadn't laughed yet and as a result I had no energy either.
This would have been fine for most but I knew straight after that I could have done so much better. I immediately started to think of what I could have talked to the audience about instead of trying to force an anecdote about getting my hair cut. Fractions of my day have been spent improvising with them (which lead to some interesting material being written). I love improvising with an audience and I wish I had done it last night if only for a couple of minutes to get them going.
As the night went on the audience turned into a good supportive comedy crowd, a world away from the staring faces I was greeted with when I first walked on. I now perceive going first as a personal challenge, I intend to pull it off next time. I will leave the MC thinking 'Wow, I wish I had warmed them up like that'. It also gives me an excuse to just chat with the audience, which is something which might seem odd if you started doing that halfway through the night.