Friday, 6 April 2018

GSOH: Coronation Treat

My hobby of yelling rubbish at strangers in the hope of invoking laughter, has stepped up a few levels over the past few years. It's even had quite the gear change in the first few months of 2018. A few points on where I'm currently at...

  • Running five regular comedy nights in the midlands
  • Have done paid weekend work for Mirth Control
  • Helped a club break a Guinness World Record
I'm not getting massively rich off this but then again, it's more than just 'beer money' that's coming in each month. While I like having comedy nights to run, I really do enjoy playing Trisha Timpson, my idiotic barmaid character which has expanded from a ten spot into a nice fifteen.

Last month, for the Mirth Control gig, I had to drive the headliner to/from his London base - a pro comic whose stand-up has been on BBC One. Our styles are certainly not similar, what with him being a straight act with aggressive rants and me being a dippy character in bright red lipstick. To say he was a bit dubious of me as I was putting on my wig, would be an understatement.

Yet I did really well and the drive back gave me nearly two hours worth of complements.

Trisha Timpson at The Queen's Head in Peterborough

I'm back blogging because I'm pretty stunned at the events of last night. I did a Peterborough gig which I only learnt was a competition a few days before. The free pint and pizza for each act was a nice touch, then I discovered the top prize was £150 cash.

A bunch of noisy Prosecco-supping women in the front row may well be a factor as to why my wallet has a wad of notes in it this morning. I'm the winner of this inaugural competition, which is astounding considering the tough competition.

I didn't know who else was on the bill. I'd dragged up early and waited for other acts to arrive. I was sitting with the Corby-based Alyn Ashby when David Luck walked into the room.

"Oh, we best pack up and go now" I remarked. You see, David is an immense talent, only a year into stand-up and his dry pun-packed routine is smashing it all over the place. I first saw him when he was a last-minute replacement for my Long Buckby semi-pro comedy night and I was a bit nervous as to whether this newcomer would satisfy the folk who paid £20 to be there.

With a clipboard in his hands and a persona that is almost 'rabbit in the headlights', you'd probably think he was a nervous first-timer. Yet he's got charm and self-depreciation in the right amounts. I've never seen him do a bad gig. He lives three miles away from me and I'm really pleased that my county's produced such an excellent comedian.

The wine-soaked hecklers
David kicked off the first section to a very strong start. The last comedian in that bit was also bringing the house down. After the break, the audience were joined by a group of six Prosecco-wielding women who were clearly out for partying mode. If it weren't for their casual wear, I'd have assumed they were a hen party. They did have some inflatable crowns (fitting for a pub called The Queen's Head) and were very chatty, trying to make the night about themselves. A comedian's nightmare, essentially.

Now, in these situations you can ignore punters like that and appeal to those who are there for the comedy, "Never talk to the disruptors" seems to be sound advice, but there are times when they need to be dealt with and so a few other acts did acknowledge their existence in the front row and hurled a few put-downs their way. I could tell the rest of the audience enjoyed these.

I was up after the next break and thought up a few lines aimed at getting them to quieten down while not being especially cruel. I wasn't going to launch into these, probably wasn't going to use them as the MC was doing okay at tempering their rowdy nature.

However, they were still delivering 'director's commentary' when I was on, so I launched into the strongest of the bespoke put-downs I'd come up with in the interval, as you can see in this video...

The women did leave in disgust, but not due to me/Trisha. Another act had been quite brutal, saying what we and most of the audience were thinking. This unfiltered diatribe gained cheers and caused the walk-out.

When it came to the audience clap-off at the very end of the night, it was really tense. I'd concluded David Luck would be topping it, although it was very close with another act. The sound of the audience confirmed what I thought. I'd had a good time and hey, I didn't win a competition the previous night, so it's just another gig struck off.

However, I gained a pretty strong response when Trisha's name was read out. Astonishingly, David and a few other brilliant acts were out of the running as the MC decided to make myself and another act go to a tie-break.

Queen Bitch
After about three attempts to get the audience to choose a definitive winner, it was still too close to call. (Although I'd personally concede the other act really had the edge.) The two of us were declared joint winners, so we got £75 each.

Some of you are probably wondering why I'm not naming last night's co-winner. There are - ahem - vocational reasons for this and so my lips are sealed. Honestly, it's not to big myself up. I'd like to say I was the outright winner, but I can't lie.

Still, £75 is fantastic. I did mention on Facebook before the gig that the free pint and pizza was reward enough.

I was already chuffed from the previous weekend's shenanigans that took place at the World's Longest Running Comedy Night in the Atic at Banbury, as my 17 minutes of Trisha was part of those 96 hours. (On an mathematical basis, I am currently 0.3% of a world record breaker.)

To go from what was a daft joke at a comedian's birthday party two years ago, to this, is pretty astonishing. I didn't think I'd find my comic speciality in a wig and miniskirt, but that's the way it goes.

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