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Blog: Stand Up Tragedy

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If another Universe that isn't far from here yesterday would have been my first day of unemployment/the start of my glittering freelance career. Luckily our HR Department informed us (an amazing TWENTY FOUR HOURS in advance!)that it wouldn't be and so instead I trotted along to the Leicester Square Theatre full of the joys of EMPLOYMENT, ready to do a short set at Stand Up Tragedy.

When Mr D Pickering booked me he told me that the idea was to do a cabaret night concentrating on the more TRAGIC side of things, and this caused me MUCH CONTEMPLATION. Most of my songs have happy endings and/or concentrate on the POSITIVE, what could I do that would fit? I'd pretty much worked out a set that dealt SORT OF with this, but also with my unwillingness to HAVE unhappy endings in songs, and had many intentions of talking about this during the set, but luckily for all concerned when I TIMED it (all acts had a strict limit of 10 minutes) it turned out that the world would have to do WITHOUT my Philosophical Musings, and I should just concentrate on the songs!

With several (over THREE!) practices behind me I rolled up at the venue, did my sound check, then popped round the corner for a pint and to finish reading the autobiography of Olive Postgate, which has been a) heart warming b) thought provoking c) a little bit SAD, before returning to the THEATRE to find Not Many People Arriving. Dave and co were a bit PERTURBED by this, but we were certainly in double figures by the time the gig started and it was a lovely, receptive, LISTENING audience.

The other acts dealt with the topic in various ways, including Bec Hill doing a sadness based but actually dead FUNNY comedy set, and a short story about a family going on holiday in SPACE (which was Proper Science Fiction done as a homespun monologue). It struck me on the way home that apart from me and Dave (who compered) EVERYONE performing was a woman and that, actually, nearly ALL the comedians I've done The Comedy Gigs with have been women. Also, nearly ALL the people who've BOOKED the aforesaid comedy gigs have been women too. And yet I keep reading articles saying the reason there are less women on TV panel shows is because there aren't that many female comedians. TV Producers! Come to my gigs, you'll see LOADS of them!

Anyway, at the end of the show it was time for ME to go on and do a set. Normally at this point I'd give you the setlist, but thanks to the wonders of Modern Technology I can show you the entire GIG, THUS:


I'd been NERVOUS and worried before the gig about how it would all work but I must say I really REALLY enjoyed it. After all the other comedy gigs I've done where I've felt out of place and/or slightly incompetent, this one felt just RIGHT. Maybe this is what I've been doing WRONG before - trying to be COMEDY, going AT the audience and demand they LARF at songs which, actually, don't have the required number of Funny Lines to qualify as Funny Songs, and thus being talked over by an audience used to musicians coming on and doing Quiet Stuff. This time I did some GENTLER songs that WERE sort of sad but DID have funny bits in, as well as, in some cases, having Vaguely Twiddly Bits that people always seem to like. The Perfect Love Song even has a GUITAR SOLO in!

I started off with that, which led nicely into Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine (which I'm REALLY enjoying playing again) and then finished off with It Only Works Because You're here for the first time in AGES, including the "Please don't cry for main site IT guy" CODA which i don't think is on the video.

It was, I must say, a little bit of a REVELATION to me, to suddenly see where I might have been going wrong. It was also nice to finish the whole thing at 8pm and so get home in time for tea!

On the way home to aforesaid TEA I thought how glad I was that this WASN'T the start of my unemployed/freelance career, but if it HAD been it would certainly have started out with some LESSONS and Things To Think About for the future. If/when I do another comedy-type gig on my own, I shall be doing it THIS way instead!

posted 3/4/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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