Hello, I’m John.
I’ve been doing stand up in the small country of Ireland (Plus a few trips to the U.K., G.B. Whatever the abbreviation is this week) for the past six years. In terms of stand-up is not really that long, but it’s long enough to have a few stories of “When gigs go bad”.
There have been many, including a few I ran myself. (More on those another time.)
But now we start with Bangor in Northern Ireland.
A nice lad from Bangor was running a basic open mic competition.
It goes like this: The Person who the audience finds the “Funniest” on the night wins. These types of competitions tend to be won by a local act who’s brought a crowd. The prize was 50 pounds, which won’t even cover the cost of the petrol it took to get me there. But in my desperate attempt to win a competition I put my name down.
I’m a five-time finalist. Always the creepy Uncle never the Dad.
To explain the petrol cost. I live in Co. Offaly. Here is a picture of it. It’s shaped like a hair-dryer:
It’s an eight-hour drive from Offaly to Bangor. When I started I would do any type of gig, any distance. I knew the only way to get better at stand up was by doing it. It would end up taking over my whole life for the first three years.
I once spent my last twenty euros, four days before payday, to drive to Lucan to talk to the promoter about doing a gig there.
People said why didn’t you just message him? It’s always better to go to the gig and talk to the promoter, especially when you’re new in Stand up. I should have saved my money do, the club closed down after that gig.
Leaving straight from work I manage to get to the Venue after 8 (Like the mints.) I went downstairs to where the gig was being held.
The promoter who was also the MC (not uncommon) wasn’t happy that I was late. He wanted all the acts there for 8.00. I told him I left straight from work, but it takes four hours to get to the venue. He didn’t say anything and walked off.
It’s been three years and I’m still waiting for him to apologize.
One look at the “Stage” told how the night was going to go. It was the dance floor of the local night club. With a door on the ground to act as our “stage”. We also got disco lights and smoke machines throughout the whole gig.
A few tables and chairs were thrown together in the middle of the dance-floor. The crowd were rowdy and were confused as to why there was comedy on. Given the set up it seem more likely someone was going to start singing some “Earth, Wind and Fire” then try to do some off beat observations and Ryan-air gags.
We didn’t start the gig until Ten O’Clock. The promoter was mad that I wasn’t there for 8.00. I’m Still waiting for that apology.
It was never going to be stellar night, but I got a decent reaction. But in the end the local act who brought all their friends won.
The winner went around to the other acts offering to buy them a drink out of the prize money. They assume no one would take the offer and they would come across sound for offering. Then the winner asked me did I want anything. Straight away I said:
“Bottle of Kopparberg and a packet of bacon fries, it’s been a long drive up.”
The look on the winner’s face, almost made it all worthwhile.
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Here a link to my stand up and see why I didn’t win: