Monday, 31 August 2009

It Must Be Something I Said

Well, it's over. Over, over, over.

My free show has finally garnered some reviews, getting a whopping 2 and 1 stars.

And I have learned a lot. I absolutely, unquestionably, overstretched myself this summer. Two shows is a ridiculous amount of material. Along with the breakfast show. And I guess that is the price one must pay.

I cannot wait to get out of here. I would feel a little humiliated, but the bulk of the feedback I got from most audiences was really positive. The last two evening gigs were a delight, an absolute delight. I wish, well, what does it matter what I wish? It came, it went, it's done.

And better to have received such a cool critical response this year than last year, which would have scared me off from ever going on a stage again, ever, ever, ever.

Behind every comedian who sets themself up as being the funniest person in the room for 50 minutes, there are probably two things at work - a combination of rampant, tyrannical ego, but also, I hope, a heartfelt desire to give people a good time.

And should anyone ever read this who came to one of my shows and did not have a good time, then I really do sincerely apologise. I do not take the 'fuck you' attitude; if I failed to diagnose what you would enjoy, and then supply it, that was my fault. One cannot please all the people, etc etc, particularly the random element that must come in any mixed audience of people who don't know the comedian they are seeing. For instance, how could I ever hope to please people like the couple my dad tried to flyer last week by saying "Do you like to laugh?" to which they replied "Oh, no, no?"

I don't know what to do. I need to find my audience. And I don't know how.

If an unknown Jimmy Carr, or Jack Dee, or whoever had to play to a bar full of people who have walked in to see a show because it's free, and because it's raining, and it's four o'clock in the afternoon, and there is building work going on in the bar, the chances are they would not be able to please everyone. But that's ok, now, because people know who Jimmy Carr and Jack Dee are, and they can choose to go and see them, or not.

There are too many variables at this level - me, and the audience.

I thought this trip would garner some critical acclaim, and hardly any audience. What I got was the exact opposite. I played to over 1400 people, plus guest spot appearances. I have been, not trounced by the critics, but given a bit of a pulling-up, and not unfairly - I have no real counter to their arguments.

So what do I do, what do I do? And how do I do it?

I poured so much work into this venture, not to mention the money... And I do not think it has particularly got me anywhere. I am still proud of Hallo, Music Lovers. I still think it was a good show. And better than last year's show. Which is progress. And there were many, many nights where you could see one or two members in the audience properly losing it - doing that centre-of-gravity-tipping-point laugh where they can't stop any more. And I can't believe a serious critic could have sat through an average show there and not been forced to acknowledge the proper, belly-laughs it generated.

Maybe now, with a screaming hangover, and on the brink of total exhaustion, is not the time to try to figure it out.

I was very touched last night, by some lovely blokes who sat in the front row and laughed most obligingly throughout the show. Afterwards, one of them said, perhaps reading my thoughts before I did: "Don't give up the stand-up, mate - it's really good".

I don't know. I don't know what the point is, or the goal is, or anything... I feel like I have let people down. And I think I hate that feeling more than almost any other.


Thank you for reading.

Live text on the drive home tomorrow! Thrillin, my dear. Thrillin.

To London. To my cats. To respite. To a real bed. To home, home, home...

Peace... No, really. Peace.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Jake, this is Heidi, I came to both shows and thought they were great! You have to come back next year so I can hear some more of your amazing book extracts (I chose love on a train - genius!). The caves were a taj warm and I did get a little sea sick watching you pacing around the stage but hey I laughed out loud and haven't done that at too many shows!!! Hope your recovery is quick and painless xx