Improv sucks balls

“That was Lance’s 20th gig – welcome to the club, mate!”- I’ll admit the platitude from We Are Funny MC, Steve McLean, gave me warm fuzzies after I’d just finished my only set this week, marred only slightly by the fact that it was actually my 19th gig.

It was a quiet night, probably due to the proximity to Christmas, with no audience members apart from the other acts. Because of this, Steve suggested an optional improv element to the night, with acts volunteering to improvise around subjects chosen by the audience.

Sounded horrific to me. The whole idea of improv just doesn’t appeal, I doubt I’d be much good at it, I’m much more into writing material and then evolving it on stage. A few of the acts gave it a shot, without much success, so I suspect I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Despite the lack of any real audience members the energy was still good in the room, thanks largely to the efforts of the MC in keeping everybody engaged. Established act, Saskia Preston, headlined the night with some new material which went down pretty well – I recommend seeing her if you get the chance.

I went up in the first half and dusted off my original five minutes, which I haven’t done for well over a month. I’ve signed up to a competition in January (The Cavendish Arms annual Max Turner Prize) and I want to make sure I can deliver that five confidently, so I’ll need to practice it again a few times before then.

I got some OK laughs out of my set, but it’s always an uphill battle when you’re performing to other acts and my delivery was shitty because I had to rely on a set list again. It’s depressing how quickly the material falls out of my brain when I’m not using it every week, but that’s the cost of focusing on new stuff.

My competition heat is in the middle of January,  so I’ve got plenty of time to remind myself of that set, even though it means I’ll have to stop working on the new stuff until then.  I’ve seen the list of other acts in the competition and there are a lot of stronger, more polished comedians than me, so I’m not expecting to win.

All the same, it’ll be good experience and it means I’ve got at least two booked spots in the Cav for January. On top of spots at Funny Feckers and Rising Stars that means I’ve already got one night per week booked for the whole month, which should make it easier to hit my target of two per week.

I’ve got one more spot at The Cavendish next week, which will be my actual 20th gig, and that will neatly wrap up the year for me.

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