Open Mic Spot #4 – Comedy Virgins at The Cavendish Arms

After getting no stage time last week I was determined to get a spot this week, but the only problem was that due to other commitments I only had Wednesday night available, which meant that I had to try again for a walk-in at The Cavendish. Fortunately I got there early enough and managed to get a spot.

This gave my heart a boner because I’ve wanted to do a spot there since first visiting the place a few weeks ago. It’s a really nice place to do open mics because it feels like a “real” comedy club, with a decent stage and PA system, polished MCs, and it always seems reasonably full, even on a Wednesday. It felt like I was performing for a real audience, rather than a roomful of other acts, for the first time since the showcase night.

The MC was Cavendish stalwart and BBC New Comedy Award 2017 finalist, Sikisa (Twix), who did a great job keeping the energy up throughout the night. To be fair, I think she had an easy job last night because all of the acts were strong, which was a little intimidating. There wasn’t a single act that I could confidently say I was better than – if anything the night just made me realise how unpolished I still am.

A couple of acts really stood out. There was a guy (can’t remember his name) whose entire set consisted of a rambling story about him discussing the benefits of Amazon Alexa with Bruce Wayne. It was really inventive, well delivered, and took a lot of confidence to get the audience to buy into some of the more off-the-wall bits.

Another highlight was Sir Cedric, a gangly bloke with a big beard and wig, wearing an outfit that looked like your school PE kit, who delivered his set in character as an over the top thespian type. The entire routine was based on the premise that the audience’s welcoming applause must have been insincere because it was “Sir Cedric’s first try” and none of us knew if he’d be any good – for five minutes, and it worked. Again, I’m envious of the guy’s creativity.

The running order is picked randomly at Comedy Virgins, and I ended up as the third act of the night. My main priority was to practice the five minute set I’ve been working on and try to deliver as much as possible without using my set-list – I got about halfway in before I needed to pull it out of my back pocket. It feels like it’s coming together and my guess is I’ll need another couple of spots before I can ditch the set-list entirely.

I felt like the spot went well and I got some decent laughs. But last night was the first time I was recorded, and watching the video back in the cold light of day made me realise that there were quite a few bits that didn’t really get as much of a response from the crowd as I’d thought when I was on stage.

I’m not too worried about this, it’s only my fourth mic and some of the stuff definitely worked well – I need to memorise it all and experiment with my delivery before I start cutting material. That said, I’m already getting bored of my set and am itching to try out new stuff, but I need to be disciplined and stick to the plan – memorise five minutes of usable material that I can always fall back on if things go off the rails, and then start playing around with new ideas once I’ve built that safety net.

Next week I’ve got a spot booked at Funny Feckers in Camden on Thursday 20th, and I’m planning to do another night earlier in the week to get some more practice.

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