Recently I have been playing the Fortnight Club in Angel. It takes place, perhaps unsurprisingly every two weeks above a pub in Angel and consists of a group of comedians trying out five to ten minutes of new stuff. It's an interesting night - well worth attending, though tonight it seemed only three audience members had turned up, but just as we were about to cancel, three more arrived, followed by a few more dribs and drabs that made the evening worth carrying on with. Had you been there you would have seen me attempt some slightly controversial material about Maxine Carr, Sarah Kendall do a very funny rant about Gwyneth Paltrow and Nuts magazine and Tony Law discussing his adventures with his time travelling monkey (I only stayed for the first half, but I am sure the rest of the show would have been equally innovative).
I had arrived quite early and only Sarah and another comic Johnny were in the room when I got there. Even the pre-gig banter was very entertaining. Comedians are generally made out in films and the such-like to be self obsessed and egotistical idiots and it's true there are a proportion of us that are like that (and maybe all of us have an element of that in us somewhere - says the bloke who writes a diary about himself every day and puts it on the internet), but that belies the fact that there are many comedians who are caring and supportive and enjoy just having fun with each other.
The conversation turned to the TV show "The Golden Girls".
"I've always felt that the theme tune to that programme was a bit off. The bit that goes "If you threw a party and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest
gift would be from me..." surely if you're a good friend then it isn't the size of the gift that's important. That's a little materialistic. Shouldn't it be "You would see the most thoughtful gift would be from me, probably something that I had made myself."
The other comics ran with the ball and we riffed on this idea for an audience of none or an audience of ourselves, laughing at the idea of size being the defining factor of a good gift. "Oh so you have bought be a flawless diamond, that's nice, quite small though. Ian bought be a tractor, so I think he wins."
It's nice when comedians can riff together and it's supportive, rather than competitive, for mutual entertainment rather than to try and find out who is the best at being a comedian. And though I have been in situations where I have felt intimidated and bored by other comedians's desire to top one another (only in joke terms - no genuine thoughts of murder in anybody's heads I don't think), I think I have been in more where it's about support and friendship and fun. We're not as bad as they'd have you believe and it was nice on a night of new material to have half an hour of improvisational comedy beforehand that would never be heard by anyone (well OK, a snippet of it read by you) to go along with the hour or so that would be heard by almost ten people.
I'll be back in a fortnight. Hope to see some of you there.