Open Mic Gigs

Gig 10: Downstairs @ the King’s Head (North, London)

Ok this is a post I should have sent out about 2 weeks ago, but I got distracted with things like life and…

So tonight’s gig, new material time. It’s always interesting when you start writing new material, as it starts out very funny in one’s head and then after a few dry runs, you can’t remember why you ever thought this was funny!

Oh god the room will be silent”, “No one will get it”, “I am seriously not funny”, are just a few things that seem to swim around my head in the few days leading up to any gig.

Venue - Downstairs at the Kings headDownstairs at the King’s Head is one of the main venues on the open mic circuit. It’s rated in Time Out London as one of the big boys. I had to wait 2 months to get a 5 min open spot! Crazy, I know.

So tonight is the night. I have given myself 60 mins to get to the venue and as someone has just pulled the emergency alarm on the central line, I am now thinking “Shit I am going to be late!”

Ok, no need to panic, switch trains, I’ll take the circle line up to Edgware Rd, then change onto District line to Euston Sq, jump off tube and walk / jog in a calm panicking way to Euston Station. Then onto the Northern line up to Archway. Easy right.…..” Oh, I forgot to mention an additional 15 min walk to the pub.

I was late, seriously late. I phoned ahead, luckily and as I walked in the night was about to start.

Thing’s I’ve learnt from this:

A) Leave 2 – 7hrs to get anywhere in London.

B) Buy a helicopter to avoid traffic or tube concerns.

Luckily Peter Grahame let me perform, which, as I was late, he really didn’t have too (he’s super nice like that). I apologised and got myself ready. I was on at the end of the first half, allowing me plenty of time to focus on my set, then completely forget everything, and remember it all over again.

My set was about to go visual! Usually comics use words and actions but I wanted to try out a few props. It’s ok as it was a new material night and therefore the worst that could happen was a silent room…

I spent most of the day creating these masterpieces, using A2 foam board and a lifetime’s worth of spray mount. By the time I’d finished I’d completely lost all confidence in the routine! Double bollocks!

It was too late, I had to try this out.

A2 props - Old Wives Tales Joke

A2 props for ‘Old wives tales’ joke

A2 props - Old Wives Tales Joke

A2 props: ‘Old wives tales’ joke

They went down ok. I felt I needed to have a stronger link between the food and the result otherwise they are just a little too random. I also had the main one the wrong way round so everyone said the punchline before the joke! Oops!

I’m so glad I ran through this set tonight as a lot of tweaking is needed before the next time I try this it.

A performer I loved on the night was an American who had just popped over to do a few gigs in London, KT Tatara

Comic - KA Tatara

Comic — KA Tatara

Seriously funny material, mainly about how Japanese men feel super wise while listening to you and the excitement of changing bonds between atoms!


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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