I’m quite proud of myself that I did my solo show at Mostly Comedy tonight with very little notice, because one of the acts in the line-up had to pull out.
The moment it came up, I felt surprisingly calm. The performer in question is a character comic, who it was possible a sizeable chunk of the audience may have booked to see specifically, and who’d been down to do three of his alter egos tonight. Unfortunately, personal reasons conspired to make it impossible for him to come, which left us in a bit of a quandary. Thankfully, I did the show on Tuesday, so it was loosely in my mind, and on balance it just seemed to be the best option, as I was technically billed to be on tonight anyway, and it would fill a decent chunk of the evening. So, after a quick phone conversation with Glyn, we decided it was the way to go ahead.
Despite things being a little stacked against me, I really enjoyed it. While as a recurring event, Mostly Comedy is obviously going exceptionally well at the moment, there is an underlying sense of a shift in people’s expectation of what they’re coming to see. There was a time when everyone on the bill was of a similar standing, and audiences were coming to see a variety of acts they didn’t know trying material out. Gradually, as each year goes by, this has continues to change; now, punters tend to be booking for a particular act - be it Rory Bremner, Phill Jupitus, Katherine Ryan or Stewart Lee - without considering they’re coming to a comedy club presenting a mixed-bill line-up. In many ways it’s Glyn and I who suffer the most, as our integral role ends up forgotten; none of it would happen at all without us, yet we wind up looking like we’re solely the promoters and organisers, rather than an act in our own right: on one memorable occasion, when Glyn told an audience member who’d dived out of the room to go to the bar before the beginning of the show that it was about to start, they said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s only Doggett & Dave”.
Gripes aside, that wasn’t how I felt tonight. I decided the best approach was to try to ‘own’ the show, rather than be perturbed by the potential lack of interest, and use it as a chance to reiterate my (and our) right to perform on a night that we organise every aspect of. It was by no means perfect, but it felt like a world of difference to my preview back in May. I’m definitely learning - though now, I should definitely be going to bed.