Open Mic Gigs

Gig 15: Freedom Fringe, Rose and Crown (Kentish Town, London)

So it’s that time again and I am heading to another gig to try out new material. The gig is at the Freedom fringe in Kentish Town.

As usual I was doing last minute alterations to the set. The gig was 5 mins, after starting with 18 A4 pages I had managed to trim it down to 6, but after a run-through it came to 12 mins!

More trimming needed. I tried it again: 7mins 36sec. Getting closer, I looked at the clock. 5pm!

I had 90 mins to tweak, print and get on the tube. As I’ve never been to the venue before I felt a little (enormously) unprepared!

6:34pm: “Come on printer, print…print.”

Lucky for me the printer was happily eating the paper instead of printing on it.

6:41pm: I’m on the train, phew, all I have to do now is learn this whole set!

I’ve been working on a diary-orientated set about the Notting Hill carnival. I’m aiming to read passages from the diary so all I need to so is remember the bits in between the entries when I’m talking to the audience!

Comics must arrive at 7:30pm otherwise they will lose their slots to walk-ins.

7:38pm: I am still on the tube!

7:43pm: I get to the venue. It’s ok, they’re cool about me performing, phew. But they did said, “So where’s your plus 1?”.….…

My plus 1 actually turned up at 9pm… supposedly he got on the wrong train, though when he did arrive, he looked like he’d been having a whale of a time at a free bar.

I was on in the second half. All I could think was, “Christ I’m thirsty”. It seems to happen just before I’m about to perform, dry mouth and strange feeling in my throat like I have a fur ball stuck down there.

I suddenly realise I can’t hold the diary (if you class 4 pieces of white A4 a diary…) and hold the mic. I would have to leave it in the stand!

I look down at my diary once more, I have taken it out of my pocket so many times now the words are starting to look worn. Christ, if I can’t read this I will be in a lot of trouble.

I hear my name, the clapping starts, I’m on. Just before that, another comic had been trying to make a few jokes with me while I was trying to prepare. I try to block out his comment that he’s going to throw his pants on the stage, and walk into the spot lights.

Holy shit, those lights are bright, really really bright.


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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