Open Mic Gigs

Gig 16 — The Aslyum (Chelmsford, Essex)

  • Step 1: Get to Liverpool St.
  • Step 2: Get over‐ground train that stops at Chelmsford going towards Clapton‐on‐Sea
  • Step 3: Find venue hidden down a dark alley!
  • Step 4: Find bar, get water and peanuts… yum

I’ve spent most of today preparing for this set. I tried it last week with a mixed review as I hadn’t learnt the set well enough to relax into it and enjoy it.

D - Asylum image

I was 3rd on the bill, the highest so far. The venue, the Asylum, was full of heavy‐metal peeps, punks, goths, and people who arrived on skateboards. I clearly missed the memo, arriving with a bright green man bag and a side parting.

I was feeling this was going to be a great night. Especially as my opening line would be…

Anyone been to Notting Hill Carnival give me a cheer?”

My fear is… absolute silence… followed by possible death.

Wearing my I LOVE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL t‐shirt, I walked on stage, I started with my opening line…

Anyone been to Notting Hill Carnival give me a cheer?”

Absolute Silence!.. Kill me now!

Luckily I was expecting this and in previous gigs I would have been phased, distracted and possibly forget all my material!

This time I just asked the same question, replacing the words ‘been to the Notting Hill Carnival’ with ‘want Free Beer’, and the whole room gave me a massive cheer… it’s simple supply and demand.

The set went well, I remembered 80% of the material, and luckily the other 20% was written on my hand.

I felt calm and in control. The audience laughed in completely different parts tonight and completely different jokes landed. They seemed to love it whenever I mentioned the fact that I was going to ‘kill myself’ which is nice.

I have been told this by a few comics now, that it doesn’t matter how funny the jokes are, different audiences will react differently. It’s all about staying focused and carrying on.

This time I created the diary instead of holding pieces of A4 paper as well as the ‘I Love Notting Hill Carnival’ t‐shirt. They both helped create the illusion that this actually happened. I also felt they brought the set together.

And as I little bonus, they said they were happy to book me on again in Dec, which is nice.

Sadly, I didn’t stay until the end as it will take 90 mins to get home, and as we started at 9pm, I wasn’t going to get home until 11:30pm.

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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