Monday, 30 November 2009

From a King to a Klutz

So, there I am, last Thursday, doing my stand-up schtick to a packed and febrile house at the Chambers Courtroom in Jersey (Channel Islands, that is, not Joyzee - as if they actually fuckin' tawk like dat dere) and I'm killing...killing! I could have thrown in my legendary (though sadly underemployed) Ronnie Corbett impression and still been carried shoulder high along the prom in St Helier. Suddenly, it's like the old days - you remember, when I was a contender, Mr Jongleurs, Mr Radio 5 Live...Mr Celebrity Squares (ask my agent - his cretinous idea) - and I thought, so what if I'm a somewhat senior performer with nary a brown hair left on my head? Funny's funny.

So I'm a comedy genius. Except, as it turns out, not every night. My recent comeback to the world of stand-up has been surprisingly encouraging. I'm more relaxed these days, less hidebound by the rigidity of tight routines, more audience-friendly. In the past, I've sold myself as an impressionist, which got me plenty of work but didn't do much for someone who's not in love with the art form. I've worked with the current maestros of mimicry many times and while they fret and agonise and practise like dervishes, I only do impressions if, by some vocal happenstance, I can do them. Or if there are exceptional circumstances ('can you do Russell Grant?' 'pah! wouldn't do him if you fucking paid me' 'five grand?' 'the moon is in Capricorn...don't worry, I'll get him').

Anyway, I'm throwing the impressions away these days rather than making a big matzo pudding out of them and I hope audiences think of me as a comedian who does a few voices. Unless, of course, I'm performing in Nunhead, as I did the following night, where they probably think of me as a cunt who couldn't raise a titter if he tickled a hyena. It was a strange old night. I mean, the venue was in such a remote part of London, my satnav just said, 'fuck it, find it yourself.' It was a mixed bill - magicians, people who just got up and talked for no apparent reason, sketch artistes - and I didn't get on until 11, following a man whose sole raison d'etre was to appear from behind the curtain, wave his penis at the audience and leave. Not your typical comedy night. Not even close. And, in fairness, I raised a few muted laughs, persuaded a few people to smile and even garnered the odd whoop, so it could've been worse, but after the triumph of Jersey, it was a sobering experience

Still, as all comedians know, it's the audience, stupid.

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