Open Mic Gigs

Gig 09: Comedy Pub, Leicester Square

Here we go, it’s gig number 9, I’m almost into double figures, wow.

This was actually a few weeks ago, so when reading please pretend!

Tonight’s gig will be in the Comedy Pub, Leicester Square can you believe it. Central London, baby! At That Thing is Comedy presents: You’re up next.

There’s only 7 of us on the bill and all of the other comics’ blurbs state they have years of experience, how did I get on this bill again? The more I think about it, the more I keep thinking I might be out of my depth here.

Katie Reddin-Clancy, who I did the Logan Murray comedy course with, was also on the bill. Luckily she texted me to point out that all the acts were doing 10 mins, and that she was super excited/super scared!

You’ll be great” I said. Hang on a second, did she say 10mins!?

That means I’ll be doing 10 mins too, especially if there’s only 7 people on the bill. Right, now I need to have a quick sit down as I’ve just entered rather deep water…

Ten minutes! TEN MINUTES! Oh my god, I have 2 hrs to put together a 10 min set. Double bollocks with a cherry on top. I’m once again in a bit of a pickle… OK lets get out all my sketches and have a little look.

As I scramble in a calm panic to put all my material on the table and start piecing together the parts, all I can think is let’s try some untested stuff… within a flash the 2 hrs had run out!

I’ve written plenty of different sequences for the stories and jokes, though it’s a little tricky trying to link ‘Getting chlamydia’ and ‘Getting married’ into the same set, as there was 10yrs between the stories and one of them wasn’t actually true!

Anyway, I arrive at the gig and bump into Aaron Meszaros, an Australian comic who sent me a video clip of material for the Underground Comedy Club night. Shit he’s good.

I walk into the room and it’s full of punters. I have no idea what material I’m going to use and now all the jokes, stories and one liners are spinning around in my head. Confidence is dropping as I have a few risky jokes might lose the audience if I whip them out.

Shit I wanted to do a sketch about the tube strike but I haven’t practiced and would be slightly improvising the whole thing. The joke involves two tube guys who basically tried to proudly ‘Stick it to the man’, but when it came to pay day… it was a different story.

The line up

I start writing notes on my hand. Then more notes… I’m screwed, I’m screwed… now in panic I’m putting lines through notes on my hand, oh god. It’s now looking like some sort of half completed daily chores list!

The act before me has just walked on stage… all I can think is, “Quick Dan get to the bathroom and wash this shit off now!”

Great the pen is like a permanent marker!” After 5 mins and now with a rather red hand, I start my list again.

As I walk back into the room, I hear my name. I click on the dictaphone and race for the stage. I grab the mic; it was happily entangled around the stand! Christ, I’m now on my hands and knees trying to sort this out! It’s OK they think it’s part of the act!

As I ploughed into my material I mixed in a variety of ad lib; at one point I had no idea what was coming next! Luckily the audience liked it.

The 10 mins set went really well. People couldn’t believe it was only my 9th gig, and two people in the audience even shook my hand! Then the MC asked me to come back and perform next month! Holy shit balls what a great night.

A comic I loved on the bill tonight was Laurence Owen. He was simply brilliant. the audiences loved him from the get-go. I will hopefully be booking him in to perform at the Underground Comedy Club soon.

Stand Up Comic - Laurence Owen playing his guitar like the hero he is.

Stand Up Comic — Laurence Owen playing his guitar like the hero he is.


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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