Sunday, 5 September 2010

21/8/10 My first paid gig!

Saturday 21st August 2010

Fringe time is always a bit odd for me, even when I wasn’t trying to find some chink in through the showbiz armour.

So, just another Saturday at the Fringe. Or at least it would have been, if it wasn’t for (a) my mum and my sister being up from Wales for the weekend, and (b) today I was going to see Adam Hills amongst others.

I think I should just say that, before the Adam Hills gig, we went to the Collings and Herrin Podcast in which Herrin proposed to my mum in order to, in his own words, “be a good step dad…and mainly shag you all.” Most peoples mums would be somewhat put off by this turn of events, but not my mum - she sat there laughing it up with my new step dad (who, let’s face it, would be a massive step up from the creature that passes itself off as my father) while I worried about whether the shag fest Herrin was planning included me (*shudder*). So go and listen to Collings and Herrin podcast 130 and see how all that panned out. (

Now, I have a reputation as an almost professional Adam Hills botherer. I’m not really sure why. I’ve seen him many times and usually just sit and enjoy his show, so I was certainly looking forward to his gig. This coupled with the fact that my mum also loves Adam Hills meant we were there at the Assembly Halls early so we could all bag a front row seat. (Remember the equation from the first blog entry?). So we all walked in and took our seats. My mum was a bit nervous due to the last show, but had relaxed and seemed to be looking forward to the show. The music stopped, the lights dimmed and the show began.

Simply for clarity I’m not going to go through the whole gig, as a lot happened (as is the way with Adam’s shows), but I will start where it is appropriate for this blog.

Adam saw me on the front row and said “ Awww Adam”. I smiled as sweetly as I can manage (I don’t really have a face built for smiling) and nodded. “You know you’ve played a gig too much when you recognise one of your stalkers” says Adam (BUM). “Stand up” (awww bugger!) I stand up and Adam starts recounting the whole story again (of how I made up on the spot a graphic and nasty story that he then toured all over the world). He then asks who the people I’m with are; I say my mum, sister and girlfriend and he replies with “I’ve never met a stalker’s family before” (awww shit!)

It’s really hard when you get pulled up on stage by anyone, but it’s even harder when you are getting used to going up on stage and trying to make people laugh - your natural instinct is to say something to get a laugh, but at the same time you don’t want to tread all over someone else’s show. So with my mind racing with ideas and half-arsed witty comebacks, me and Adam have a conversation on stage that I really can’t remember that well. I recall him leaving me on the stage on my own while he talked to someone else, and making a crack about looking like an out of work wookie (my brain said “Howl like a wookie...they will laugh”...I didn’t). And I remember him making a joke that was in my head too as we seemed to be dressed alike - he said something like “We are wearing almost exactly the same thing”. He looked at my mum, pointed to himself and said “This is how he would have looked if he had worked harder at uni”. I think I just said “Low blow!” but my brain again said say this...”Yeah we are dressed alike, but I make it look good and you look like you’ve escaped from the catalogue” (should have just said it).

Then that spark behind his eyes told me he had remembered something and I braced myself. “You’re doing a bit of stand up, aren’t you?” he said. “Yep, a bit” I replied. “Tell us a joke then” he asked. “Pay me!” I said (which has become my standard response to “tell me a joke” - you know what though, several handfuls of people have said that to me and after I say “pay me” they usually drop it…)

Not Adam...ohhh nooo! Adam rooted around in his pocket and pulled out a tenner. “Ok”.


You see on stage I tell stories, I don’t really do one liners, so panic set in to be replaced by fear when Adam said:

“Actually, for one night only, I’m going to hire you as my support and you can do your five minutes...AND NO MORE THAN THAT” he growled. “Go behind the curtain and I’ll announce you on”.

So I did just that. There was a little banter with the crowd and I stood behind the curtain desperately trying to remember a gig I’ve only performed live 3 times, and then Adam announced me. I walked on and took the mic out of the stand and started.

I think the first thing I said was “Ok, this is weird” - more of a musing than a joke, but still there was a sympathetic laugh. Then a joke I’d never said before on stage appeared half-remembered in my head and, to my horror, I realised I was saying it without remembering the punch line. My mouth continued to talk as my brain approached the punch line with pick axes and miners’ lamps and I finished the line. There was another louder laugh. Now this was the strange bit - my 5 min set suddenly flooded back into my head and began to tumble out of my mouth in a more or less fully formed state. I even linked the sections fairly well. I suddenly realised I had no idea how long I had been on, so I turned to see Adam’s face poking out of the curtain and asked him how much longer I had. Then I finished the previous joke which I know always gets a groan (I like groans) and I left it at that. I got a good round of applause, so I said thanks, I waved goodnight and Adam walked back on stage. I handed over the mic and said “This is yours...but I’m keeping the tenner!”

After the gig, one guy slapped me on the back and said “Well done” - so at least one person enjoyed it - a few others nodded and smiled at me as I left the venue.

Here’s what Adam said on his blog:

“Adam was the guy that once told me an awful story about working in forensics that I used in “Inflatable”. Adam has started doing stand up, so I paid him a tenner to be my support act on the spot. He was good too.”

He was good too... Adam Hills said I was good!! That’s going on my flyer!! That is if I ever get to the point I can have my own show.

**NB** Just in case the tax man is reading this, the money went straight into adam hills honk for honker charity . also i might add the "paid gig" title is a joke.... i know your tax people and probably dont understand jokes ....but trust me its supposed to be funny!... when i do finally get a paid gig im sure youll take all the fun out of it by bleeding me dry... see thats your joke.. are you understanding the concept now?