Open mic spot #3 – Instant Laughs at the Grove, Hammersmith

This week I’d planned to return to Lion’s Den on Tuesday and try to get a walk-in spot at the Cavendish Arms, but it turns out that the Cav was running its summer competition so the latter wasn’t possible. On Tuesday morning I noticed that Instant Laughs had a few walk-in spots available at its Hammersmith venue so I decided to try something new instead of a third night at the Lion’s Den.

A couple of comedy-buddies from the course came along for moral support (although as best I can tell it’s not a bringer night) and one of them got a spot himself too. I met one of the other acts in the bar before the show, he saw me scribbling down my set list and introduced himself. We had a bit of a chat about the circuit and he shared some useful tips about which nights to visit and which Facebook groups are worth joining.

The night was friendly, but very quiet. There were about 10 acts, and a small handful of audience members who drifted in and out over the course of the evening. I went up about halfway through the night and did my core five minute set, despite the strong temptation to try out some new material, because I’m determined to memorise my best five minutes of material so that I don’t need to keep glancing at my set-list.

I have no problems remembering the content of my jokes, I just forget which ones I’m supposed to be doing next, but I’m hoping to fix that after a few more spots. Once I’ve got five minutes of stuff that I can reliably reel off without notes I’ll feel more comfortable about throwing in new bits.

The spot went about as well as I could hope for in an almost dead room – got a few chuckles from some of my best bits, although a couple of others bombed. The set list I used was pretty much perfectly timed for five minutes, so I think I’ll stick to that for the next few weeks and only change it if there are bits that obviously don’t work.

I had a chat with Marvin, the guy who runs Instant Laughs, as well as some of the other acts (including Mike Lash, who I’d seen a few weeks previously at Funny Feckers) and they were all very friendly. My, admittedly limited, experience of the open mic scene in London so far is that it’s warm  and supportive, which wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, so it’s been a nice surprise.

That said, I kind of want to do at least one fucking awful night sometime soon, just so I don’t get lulled into a false sense of security and get some experience of dealing with bombing, hecklers and all the rest of it.

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