Up to Liverpool for my slightly over-ambitious attempt to do two gigs in one night at the Hot Water Comedy Club. Show one had sold out, but the later 9.30 show had only sold about 40 tickets by this morning (though it ended up at around 60 - can’t really count it as a sub-100 gig as it was down to having a sell out in the same venue and the average attendance was thus well over 100). I am too old for this shit. I think Newcastle next weekend will be the last time I try to do two tour shows in a day.
I had managed to secure first class train tickets for just £58 each way, which made a huge difference to my journey. If you are able to pick your trains it’s always worth looking out for cheap first class fares. It maybe was costing my £20 more than a normal ticket, but as a result I got to hang out drinking coffee and diet coke and eating free biscuits and sweets in the first class lounge for an hour before the journey, plus I got a seat with a plug (which has not been the case for any of my recent economy journeys), plus you get lunch and drinks on the train. And if you are prepared to take that for all it’s worth then you can easily recoup your money and more. The men at the next table to me had been on a jolly in London and were pleasantly drunk and they got at least three free beers each and might easily have had more. Had I not been working then I could have easily got my money’s worth.
I think that there must be a first class fare that you can buy that would make it worth not even taking the train and just sitting in the nice lounge eating toffee popcorn and drinking coke and be quids in.
I didn’t make as much progress on my work as I hoped, but it was cogitating in my brain and I made a couple of minor leaps that I hope will mean I can finish script 3 over the weekend. I really want to have all four scripts as least in some skellington form by Tuesday. Let’s see how we go.
I sensed that the word hadn’t quite got round Liverpool that I was going to be on tonight. I bumped into a couple of people (one a monthly badger) who were unaware that I was in town and outside the club met a fledgling comedian who was trying to bag a ticket at the last minute, having heard from his sister, who works with my cousin that I was going to be in town.
The Hot Water is a beautiful club with a swanky bar area, a good main room for comedy, with 170ish seats packed in tightly and a small 50 seat venue where they do Edinburgh previews and the like. The guys behind it have built it up from playing a small room in a Holiday Inn to an expanding business. Their mum must be very proud of them.
In fact I know she is, because she was at the first show and she came to talk to me afterwards. There are some offensive bits in the show, as always, but I haven’t had too many complaints this time round. But you can never guess what will upset people. In a bit where I discuss nostalgic items appearing out of an audience member’s mother’s vagina, I did a mock angry bit about why I was playing a shitty little club where I couldn’t even fill the second show, instead of the big theatre that I should be at at this stage in my career. Obviously coming at a point where I have just done some overly offensive non-mainstream material the reason I am not playing stadia is apparent to the audience (though not to my character) and you’re meant to be laughing at my inflated sense of self-worth. Plus, hopefully given all the stuff I talk about in the show, like wanting to have sex with puppets and masturbating in public, I would hope that the audience are not taking me literally.
But the proud mum was affronted by this, taking me to task afterwards for calling the venue a shit-hole. I didn’t think she was too serious and said I was obviously joking and the venue was clearly great, but she wasn’t joking. She was really angry with me. It didn’t help that she worked for the post office and I had talked about the postman I had met as being the only honourable non-bribable postal in the country (before a tongue-in-cheek ad-lib about the fine reputation of the Liverpool postal service and how I always travelled here to post my valuable items).
An apology and explanation that I didn’t mean everything I said on stage wasn’t enough. Hell hath no fury like a mother affronted and I can understand her pride in her children. But in the end I had to just walk away because nothing was going to appease or convince her. Offence is an unpredictable thing, but in the second show I made a point of saying that the venue was really great because I had been told off by the venue owners’ mum.
I was a little shaken by it all in truth. It’s not nice to offend people, but as a comedian you have to accept that there are some people who will laugh at everything, but then lose their sense of humour when something directly affects them. I liked her loyalty though and I did actually really like the club.
The second gig was harder, but somehow I managed to more or less keep the energy up. Due to time constraints I did both shows without an interval and with a few cuts and it was tricky to negotiate the almost literal climax of the first half and then go back to the lower key start to the “second” half.
But I got through it all and didn’t even get confused about whether I had done bits already or whether I was thinking of the first show. The 9.30pm show had lots of younger people in (obviously they were happy to stay up late on a school night) which changed the dynamic a bit, but I was able to joke a little bit about the references that they had no chance of understanding. They didn’t know about the Great Escape, but they were aware of Ernest Hemingway, so that’s all good.
After the show I had a beer with my cousin and then Ed Byrne popped in to join us. He’d been gigging nearby and wanted to go to a club called the Krazy House to listen to rock music. He’s a young man of just 46 and so still has the energy for stuff like this (but also, cleverly, insists on never doing any other work when he is on tour, so can stay up late). I felt pleased with myself for being up after midnight and not being back at the Premier Inn, but he was disappointed when I sloped off. Then sadly texted me that the Krazy House was closed tonight.
He is literally rock and roll. Whereas I was thinking of the journey home and the possibility of writing my third script on the journey. Or at least drinking as many bottles of Becks as I could persuade them to give me. Hoping I can bankrupt Virgin trains. Dump your shares now before it's too late
And bargain book news. Because of the forthcoming release of the new Emergency Questions book (1001 questions, only about 300 of them previously published in book form) we are having to take the two original books off sale. They are now sure to be worth millions once the new book hits the best seller lists. But we have one week left to sell as much of our stock as possible (I will still have them at all remaining stand up gigs) so there’s a flash sale and the books are now half price. Why not buy them both?
Or a thousand of each.
All the money we raise from this flash sale will go towards funding series 14 of RHLSTP.