Dogged by controversy
In trouble again
My list of things I’ve learned about stand-up got me in trouble last week.
I tried to make it clear by labelling the list “Dubious advice from a total amateur” that it’s not supposed to be authoritative, and I’m by no means saying that I’m an expert.
Despite that, item 16 (“You don’t need to do bringers”) earned me a dressing down from a comedy gig promoter. (A bringer gig is one where the acts need to bring at least one audience member in order to be allowed to perform).
I had arrived super early at the venue to get ready to do my stupid dog act where I dress up as a dog (with an animatronic tail and ears) and do stand-up from a dog’s point of view.
I apologised for arriving early.
“You don’t need to arrive early,” said the promoter, who shall remain nameless.
“No, I understand, I just want to see if I can troubleshoot the tail a bit.”
“You don’t need to arrive early. Just like you don’t need to do bringers.”
Right, I didn’t need to arrive early, but I chose to, just like I didn’t need to do this bringer gig, but I had chosen to - because this promoter runs a good gig and has given me a lot of useful advice and encouragement.
He went on to lecture me about how saying “you don’t need to do bringers” implies bringers are inferior, and he’s had to deal with comics being negative about bringers for 20 years, and I was hurting the gig by posting my opinions to this obscure mailing list of 57 people.
I could see that I wasn’t going to be able to talk him round, so I just picked up my stuff and went home with my tail between my legs (metaphorically, and also literally).
The thing is, I don’t need to take that kind of shit. (See item 24 on the list).
Just to clarify my opinion, you don’t need to go through the hassle of doing bringers to get stage time, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bringer gigs that are great nights and worth the hassle. I do bringers! I recommend some bringer nights in my new list of gigs I recommend for open mic level comedians. If you can’t parse the difference between “you don’t need to do bringers” and “don’t do bringers”, or you think that doing something while simultaneously saying you don’t need to do it constitutes hypocrisy, that’s on you. And on whoever taught you basic reading comprehension.
I’m sorry to hear that. Which side?
More controversy at a gig I did this weekend. Everything was going well until I tried a new 9/11 bit.
I said “I’m a 9/11 survivor. On September 11th 2001, I was in London. Thousands of miles away from New York. So I easily survived 9/11.”
A woman in the crowd said “That’s not funny.”
I pointed out that comedy is subjective, and some people in the crowd had laughed, so while she was entitled to her opinion, she was in the minority.
She said “My sister was in 9/11.”
I asked if her sister had survived and she said yes.
I said, “Oh wow, that’s a coincidence, I’m a 9/11 survivor too.”
I wish I had recorded the gig on video. (Recording every gig you do is point 1 on my list! I’m such a fucking hypocrite.)
After floundering for a while, I managed to end on a couple of decent laughs. The tag to my last joke made a different audience member spit up her prosecco, which was very satisfying.
I didn’t see this, but apparently the guy who was with the “That’s not funny” woman reacted with incredulity when she said that her sister was in 9/11. Earlier on she claimed that she was a Hinjew (dual-class Hindu/Jew, which I don’t think is a real thing, although some Indian nationalists are weirdly into supporting Israel). I think she was making things up for attention.
I was outside on the pavement talking to the other acts as the audience left the venue. The Hinjew woman was first to leave. I couldn’t resist saying “Say hi to your sister!” once she was far enough away that it would have been awkward for her to turn back.
Here’s what you’re really reading this newsletter for:
TONIGHT Monday July 25th 8pm - Angel Comedy RAW
I’ll be doing my best and most relatable 5, if I can figure out what that is. Free, so get there early to ensure entry.
The Camden Head, 2 Camden Walk, London N1 8DY
Tuesday July 26th 7:30pm - Rats, Angel
Contest to win a paid spot. Come and clap/cheer for me if you can. Don’t trust Apple Maps to get you to this venue, but other mapping services will work fine.
Day & Night, 58 Penton St, London N1 9PZ
NEW: Friday July 29th 7:30pm - Cuddles for Troubles, Borough
This is the last-Friday-of-the-month alternative night, so I’ll be doing my dog act. I need a bringer, so get in touch if you can commit to coming - you can just reply to this email.
The Trinity pub, 202-206 Borough High St, London SE1 1JX
NEW: Saturday July 30th 7pm - KukooLaLa Comedy Night
Not done this before but seems like a nice place.
KukooLala community cafe, 3 Marsh Lane, Leyton Jubilee Park, Leyton, United Kingdom
Tuesday August 2nd 7pm - Gap Tooth, Pimlico
This is a great night to see comics trying new shit that will probably get them in trouble later. Booking in advance is essential:
Constitution pub, 42 Churton St, London SW1V 2LP
Tuesday August 9th - Secret Comedy Club, BRIGHTON
I may also be doing a second Brighton gig the next day. I may not.
Artista Cafe And Gallery, Hove
Wednesday August 17th and Monday August 22nd 10:30pm - Roast Battle EDINBURGH
See me doing mean-spirited insult comedy, the only thing I’m good at.
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND
Monday August 22nd 7:30pm - Doing Bits at The Three Sisters during Edinburgh Fringe
The Three Sisters, 139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS
Tuesday August 30th 8pm - Vauxhall Comedy Club
To the narrow survivor, the spoils.
Vauxhall Comedy Club, 6 S Lambeth Pl, London SW8 1SP
A film about a glory hole that’s a portal to Lovecraftian cosmic horror? Count me in. Out on Shudder August 18th, although I’m sure they’ll do some kind of region-locking bullshit that forces UK viewers to pirate it
Understanding Wokeness as a Make-Work Strategy for the Privileged Class (podcast interview with a Swedish Marxist; interesting take, but he veers towards climate change denialism at the end)
My incomplete and subjective list of Recommended gigs for London open mic acts
I recommend the novel Hangdog Souls if you like cosmic horror or David Mitchell (the author, not Mark from Peep Show)
Why I'm Shunning The Edinburgh Fringe For London's Vibrant Comedy Scene - another article about why going to Edinburgh is bad, not good like you think
The DALL-E artificial intelligence that draws art based on your text input is a lot of fun to play with. It’s not officially allowed to draw anything violent or hateful or erotic, but I tricked it into drawing Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Necklace: