Saturday, 14 July 2012

Saturday 14th July 2012: Sorry + Is Stand-up Dying?

Well, that was a bit of a disappointment. The gig ended up being pulled, because there were exactly 0 (zero) audience members present. So the emotional build-up was- as ever- for nought. It is quite difficult to do gigs in Amsterdam anyway, because of this apparent dearth of audience caring for comedy. It's different to what I hear is going on in London, and I got the beginning of last year. There are just too many open spots. Too many losers, like me, who want to see their name in lights. And it may well be that it's just going to be too difficult to have a career as a stand-up, precisely because -as Dutch uncles tell you every day- 'everyone's a fucking comedian'. It may just be the case that, like in Holland in the mid-nineties to mid-noughties, there was an interest in comedy, which will just wax and wane. Friends of mine who work the Cabaret (a theatrical form of stand-up, with clip-on mics and satirical songs- not like burlesque in any way) circuit in Holland talk about the difficulty of getting up and running. Once a career has got going, and you've been on the television in the past, you've got a career. But, like one friend who recently won one of the leading Cabaret competitions, it's never certain that you'll even get booked e.g. get the chance to start your career. Because the bookers are theatres, they'll only book the big names, to get a regular stream of bums on seats. 

The huge numbers of open spots currently trawling the capital and surroundings worry me for the very selfish reason of just not being able to slot in and have a sensible career progression as a stand-up. I want to get good, I want to play clubs both horrible and wonderful, and I want to do Edinburgh. But I'm worried that- due to nothing else than the biscuits being eaten and shout before I even got the chance to get near them- I will not be able to do stand-up anymore. The reason for that is that I'm deferring my MA at UCL for a year, in order to -you know-, get better. Especially since I won't be able to get my regular shot of stand-up, I should actually maybe consider learning to be a proper person. Some friends don't agree with my pessimistic view of the comedy circuit. They say quality will get you there, as long as you're prepared to put in the hours. But we all secretly know life doesn't work like that. You can try and try and still not get anywhere. Past a certain point, this has got nothing to do with quality. Of course if you're really shit, then of course. You're never going to go places. But it might just be that -like the Dutch theatre world- the U.K. comedy circuit is overheating and lots of acts who could have been brilliant will therefore fall by the wayside. Whether we should bemoan this, as I'm clearly doing now- is another matter entirely.

SO BASICALLY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IS THIS: I will be putting poems and more short stories on here as well, as I'm writing those in addition to stand-up material that no-one might ever see because there are just too many acts and too few spots. If stand-up is really dying, I will be seeing that with my own eyes at this year's Edinburgh fringe. Will it be a last hurrah or a moan, curling up and dying? Or maybe I'm just wrong? Convince me here on the comments-bit. I will of course be writing about my Edinburgh experience. Through which media you'll get to know what I'm thinking- well, you'll just have to wait for that. In the meantime, love to all. xxx

P.S. I'm currently writing a thing about an open spot experience I'd had last year. The general idea that most people have is that most comedy open spots are in some way damaged or mentally ill. That is of course a cliché of the comedy open spot, which unfortunately happens to be exactly true. I saw one who fitted that bill perfectly, who in fact gave me a full-blown panic attack. In Portsmouth. But now, more than a year later, the realisation has dawned on me that I'm basically just as bad as the mentals, I'm writing about that person. It may turn up on here. It's now called: The Ocean Queen of Portsmouth. We'll see how it goes.

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