I gig everywhere and I do mean literally everywhere. In my career I’ve performed in people’s living rooms, in corporate cafeterias, in the street, in football stadiums, in front of a public toilet, everywhere. Soon I’ll be performing in shopping centres as part of a brand campaign.
(target audience for that event)
However the last couple of weeks have seen me do a few gigs that would be seen as “unplayable” and this has got me to thinking that perhaps there’s no such thing as an unplayable gig just an inexperienced comedian. I’ll list them chronologically also for the people who were involved with these I have to say first that I enjoyed all of them immensely.
1. A festival tent in the middle of nowhere – Imagine “The Hills have Eyes” but with wizard of OZ costumes and professional comedians.
2. Local pub new material night – Man in the audience telling the guys around him “don’t laugh! Don’t laugh!” whenever anyone did a joke, I imagine he hangs around operating theatres and shakes the surgeons from behind whenever they make an important incision. 10 people in the audience so it was like having a glass splinter in your lip balm.
3. Preview of my own hour long show to 6 people in an attic with two groups of drunk strangers interrupting at random intervals then staying for the show – Come on! Could it be tougher?!
4. 500 people at a festival during a hurricane with no seating – anyone need more than that to understand how hard that would be?
(Imagine this but with a tidal wave and flying cows)
5. First night in a local pub – Group of 20 lads who look like individually they could beat the living shit out of The Rock all trying to see who would come up on stage and take the mic off the comics.
6. Jongleurs – Now there’s a history of Jongleurs’ nights being amazing and there’s a secondary history where some of them are so hard it’s unbelievable, this night I saw a mentalist/comedian get one audience member to guess a word that another audience member was thinking from across a room. The reaction wasn’t what we all expected (the comics were screaming “HOW THE FUCK MAN! HOW THE FUCK?!!”) and instead it got a sedate round of applause when it should have got a standing ovation.
(“Ah yeah my mate Jeff does that, not impressive. NEXT”)
7. Strange new material night with band playing in next room and people banging on the floor from upstairs with no microphone – I mean it would be difficult to watch a DVD with surround sound in that environment let alone a stranger screaming at you about animal procreational behaviour.
8. Private party in a nightclub – Literally just a microphone in the corner of a room with 10 people crowded round it and 200 other people dancing, shouting, laughing and chatting like you normally do in a nightclub.
(“So guys! GUYS! LISTEN TO ME PLEASE! THIS IS MY CAREER! I JUST WANT MY KIDS TO BE PROUD OF ME!”)
Every single one of those gigs I did the same thing before I went on. I looked at the gig, I looked at the audience’s reaction to either the acts before me or just the evening in general and I thought “fuck I can’t do this, this is a tough gig” then I thought “who says that? Who says man that’s tough I can’t do it? Other people say that. People who WANT you to fail, people who look at aeroplanes and say man will never fly and you know what FUCK THEM! LET THEM LIVE ON THE FUCKING GROUND”. It sounds all very inspirational speaker but every single one of those gigs was lovely and amazing and I had a lot of fun. I would say I smashed them but I’ve been told that it’s bad form so for now lets just say they went incredibly well.
The only thing that makes a gig impossible, the only thing that makes anything impossible, is you. If you do something half arsed it’s going to fail, if you do something without pouring all of your energy into it then what’s the point? If you realise that in the end it’s just you who’s in control of your success you start to realise that other people’s criticism is just their jealousy and frustration at their inability to affect you. Don’t worry about what other people are doing just focus on being amazing.