Open Mic Gigs

My 1st Ever Stand Up Gig! — Comedy Cellar @ Albany pub (Great Portland St, London)

Stand up start time in: 125mins

I left the competition completely deflated and now very worried about my first stand up gig. By the time I’d got back up into central London from the depths of Kennington, which I think is in zone 9(!) I realised had only 60mins before I would be back on stage, performing in front of a load of friends!

I was seriously hungry. I realised I hadn’t eaten for about 8hrs and I was worried that if I ate something now I would be too full and would prefer a mini snooze instead of jumping around on stage. I ate half a sandwich and an espresso washed down with a few litres of water…

Stand up start time in: 43mins

I met up with all the other people on the course who were performing tonight, everyone seemed relaxed and super excited. I, on the other hand, was basically shitting myself. I actually thought I was going to throw up at one point!

Everyone seemed surprised when I told them about the possible disaster of the competition and that I was completely deflated. I thought it might be a good idea to warm up. So after few roly polies and several rather impressive stars jumps, I felt seriously sick! Shit I was now feeling much worse…

Stand up start time : 17mins

I went on stage to see how it felt and was instantly blinded by the stage lights, Christ it was like walking into a stand up sun‐bed! I tried a few lines and started to confuse myself, shit am I talking about monkeys in Bali or weddings in Ibiza? Triple shit! This is going to be a long 5 minutes of tumble weeds and then a taxi for one!

I quickly (though neatly) wrote down a few bullet points on my hand. I had done this in the competition earlier and realised that I had been so minimalist that I couldn’t actually remember what each word meant!

My rather neat hand notes

My rather neat hand notes — This is the first time in my life where I have got large hand envy as I ran out of room on my rather average hand.….

Stand up start time: 3mins

As the room filled up, out of the 30 seats 19 of them were still empty! I was trying to stay calm. My wife had arrive with some chums, which was great, but I then realised half my routine was about my wife, I told her, right?

Show time

The night started, it was too late to run away. I was on 3rd so I was just praying the compere and the 2 other acts would do an amazing job and the audience would be so overwhelmed with joy that when I went on I would just storm it.

Nick Gamble was up first and his stuff about funerals and stag dos went down well, next up was Amee Smith who talked about those slightly awkward moments in relationships, once again the crowd of 16 loved it. The next thing I hear is “Please welcome little Dan Tambling”. I was up with water in one hand and futuristic Casio watch with vibrating alarm set to 5 minutes at the ready in the other, I was on.

I started with getting married and it’s crippling financial effects and the conversation with my parents when I told them I had got engaged, finishing off with the positive and negatives of baby making and baby making time. The other acts of the night were Karen Biggs, Katie Reddin‐Clancy, Paul Keedwell, Simon ColaBex Dean, with Logan Murray as compere.

It’s crazy standing up there, as whenever I practiced I found myself pausing and questioning parts that I thought were basically shit. I would get words wrong and then miss parts out. But once the bell goes off on stage, your on. There is no time to think about it. The words just keep coming out of your mouth in the right order. I didn’t get tongue tied once. Interestingly, parts I thought were going to get a laugh, didn’t, and other off the cuff comments actually got the biggest laughs. I had to refer to my hand notes and openly said “I’ve completely forgotten where I was at, one second, oh yes” and that also got a big laugh. Christ I could go on and make a complete balls up of it and that would probably get a standing ovation!

I finished strong (which didn’t ever happen in practice), which is an amazing experience, with everyone clapping and whooping! I could even hear them chanting my name at the end (OK slight over‐exaggeration, but that’s how it feels as you come off stage).

I would like to thank my wife as well as Katherine and Dan, who came to support my new random career.

I can’t wait for next week, though I am now seriously exhausted, Christ I was only on for 5minutes. How tired am I going to be after a 1 hour performance?

Dan Tambling is a stand-up comedian, sketch comedy writer, actor and producer of ‘12 sketches in a London house’. This is his blog.

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