This week, I have 7 gigs in 5 days. That’s far from typical though. Were it typical, then I’d be financially secure, something that would come in handy given the level of therapy I’d be having to pay for to recover from the nervous exhaustion. Any London-based comedians reading this are already sneering at my lightweight ways and getting ready to recount the tale of the time they did 8 gigs in one night, then 9 the next night.
Despite having been in stand-up comedy for 15 years, I’ve never yet managed to get that point where you can just shrug off a bad gig. The bonus of having this many gigs in a row is that, supposing one went a little bit wonky, I’d just have to get straight back on the horse and get on with the next one. Though as I was typing that, I immediately began thinking…”What if the 7th gig is the one that goes wrong? I’ll have a few days to dwell on it!”
The diary of a comedian isn’t necessarily the most interesting angle that you could read on the ups and downs of a life in comedy. Like all people, we lack the ability to see ourselves as others see us. I could always watch back recordings of myself as I know some comedians do…but whenever I’ve met one who actually does that, their version of how they see themselves still bears no relation to how others see them. So why waste my time watching myself? Getting back to my point though, you’d probably get a far more interesting take from a comedian’s partner.
They get the version of the gig that you describe to them, and then they get to piece together in their mind what actually happened – having taken your innate bias into account.
“The crowd weren’t properly warmed up”
(The crowd was having a lovely evening until you walked onto the stage.)
“The crowd weren’t very bright.”
(You’d disappeared up your own backside with your use of deconstruction and meta-comedy.)
“The crowd were drunk.”
After that your beloved has to morph into a trained psychologist (I married a woman with a psychology degree just to help things along) to work out how much of your moping to indulge and at what point to apply a metaphorical boot up the backside.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that all seven of these gigs will go well. So why wouldn’t I start off working from a positive outlook instead of already imagining the worst? Simple. I’m a comedian. We’re all miserable.
I’m at The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh from Tue 15th to Sat 19th of October and will also be appearing at City Nightclub in Edinburgh on Thu 17th and at Dunfermline Live on Sat 19th.
Follow on Twitter @comedyteddy.