Tonight me and my girlfriend went to the club where I did my first ever stand-up show. It's called Beat The Frog. There was a very good turn out of people, all of whom were treated to new up and coming comedians. Expertly hosted by a bloke called Dan Nightingale the night is a 'gong' night where if the comedian on stage is rubbish the audience get the chance to vote them off the stage. This is done by nominating three different people the job of card holder. If three cards go up the act is whisked off stage. What was interesting about tonight was the fact the the card holders didn't seem to want to use their power at all. The acts were allowed to carry on even when they weren't getting any laughs. It was great to watch!
I've always enjoyed watching comedians die on their ar#e. Slowly and inevitably the room realises that no one is laughing. Or is going to laugh. The 'comedian' starts to doubt his title and slowly transforms into a sweating bloke who accidently stumbled onto the stage. Their face crumbles from one of fake confidence to either fear or the realisation that they've been kidding themselves. I particularly enjoy the expression that marks a halfway house between these two emotions, it's one of confusion. Beautiful confusion.
Some people think it's cruel. It's not usually. I've died on my a#se many a time during my irregular adventures in the art of stand-up. It's a drag but it's also a chance to learn. So long as it's not someone ruining for you, like a drunken fool shouting at you there's a good natured element to it. You're not funny. No one liked your jokes.The "be honest with me" message you've asked your friends for has been handed to you on a plate by a bunch of strangers. That's good isn't it?
Oddly I noticed that you can usually tell if an act is going to be any good within the first few minutes. Those who look like they're going to cry aren't often very good. I think I've fitted into that category more often than not.
Would have liked to have performed on this night though. Those cards just weren't coming up!