Open Mic Gigs

Gig 08: Comedy Bin at The Hideaway Club (Tufnell Park, London)

Tonight I decided no more trying new material as it’s really kicking my confidence when the material doesn’t quite hit the spot… a.k.a awkward silence!

So I’m going to mix up a few things that have got laughs in previous gigs and see how that goes. Also I’m trying to keep the jokes much shorter as the long stories will be reduced to short clips extracted from the stories.

As I sit in the cafe sketching out my latest cartoons I feel an air of excitement, I have forced myself to create the whole joke or story as a 4 panel cartoon strip or less.

Stand-up routine cartoon comic strips

Stand-up routine cartoon comic strips

Stand-up routine cartoon comic strips

Stand-up routine cartoon comic strips

All I could think was “Why an I doing this? Why…”

Oh well, no time to dwell on that thought too long, as I’m already on my way to the tube. Tonight’s gig is in Tufnell Park, at the Hideaway bar.

Hideaway bar - Tufnell Park

Hideaway bar — Tufnell Park

As I walk into the pub, I ask the bar girl, “Is there any comedy on tonight?” (This is my usual line, in case it’s the wrong pub!)

Bar girl: “Yes it’s downstairs”

Dan: “Ok thanks” as I scan the room, there are no stairs… “Ummm, stairs?” I ask. She looks at me like I have just tried to drop-kick her dog!

She reluctantly shows me a hidden door, in a dark corridor behind the bar, the door is finished exactly the same as the wall!

This randomness with the bar girl continues a few mins later, when I returned and asked for a bottle of water.

Dan: “Hey Great news I found the stairs, can I have a bottle of still water please”

Bar girl: “We have it on draft” as she fills a glass from the tap…

Dan: “Oh sorry I meant bottled water, not tap, water thanks”

Bar girl: “But we have it on draft” as she now places the glass on the bar.

Dan: “Umm no, I really do not want to drink London water, do you have bottled?”

Bar girl: “What’s wrong with the tap water?”

Dan: “Holy shit munchers… I just want a bottle of water”

Bar girl: “Oh ok… water comes to £4…”

Dan: “Great” 

Bar girl: “You’re weird”

Seriously, like seriously, I’m weird? Jesus H Christ! I’m weird! Maybe this is how people flirt these days? Weird…

Anyway, I walk into the gig and all I see is 15 guys pacing the joint, all muttering out loud like mad people (there’s a joke there surely) and no audience… shit. “Run Dan, run…” Was all I could think.

No stay Dan, you have to stay”. The night starts. I’m staying, I’m in the first half in 7th place. The guy before me does an act with no jokes… but his body actions were brilliant. I feel I should stick him in the bill for June. He’s (Joe Hunter) actually trying to do 365 gigs in 1 year. Impressive stuff. Especially if there are no actual jokes…

Stand Up Comic - Joe Hunter

Stand Up Comic — Joe Hunter

His act was so crazy I actually forgot all my material. All I could think of was his act! Part of it involves him pretending to be his parent he accidentally caught having sex, involving a farmer and a wheel barrow… “and our next act is Dan Tambling”.

Farmers, wheelbarrows…farmers, shit that’s all I could think of!

I got married the other day…” Yahoo, I was off.

It went really well, I had loads of laughs and I interacted with the crowd and even did a bit of improv too, which I really enjoyed and got the biggest laughs from. I felt I’d done the right thing by trying out lots of new material and then taking the best bits. Those bits are in the good joke draw and the others are possibly in the crap drawer or the maybe drawer.

I got this idea from Frank Skinner, whilst reading one of his books. He basically has 3 drawers and his jokes go into different drawers.

  • Good Drawer: All jokes that work and get laughs
  • Maybe Drawer: Give this joke 2 chances
  • Crap Drawer: Jokes that have not got laughs and are discarded

As I jumped on the tube home to Notting Hill, I was looking forward to listening back to the recording… what a great night. The best night yet…

Wait, what the ef… Bethnal Green tube stop?! Shit, balls, I’m on the wrong tube… I’m heading east!

Oh well, it’s better than a tube strike… right?


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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