critique of (early) judgment

I always judge gigs too quickly.

Tonight’s shows, at the ‘London Comedy Club’ (quite an ambitious name, if technically accurate in the sense that it is a comedy club in London), seemed at first like they might be awful. The early show had about forty people in, but they were forty VERY quiet people; and the later one only had six.

But then both shows turned out to be very pleasant. The second show in particular was surprisingly nice under the circumstances: it’s the smallest audience I’ve played to in a while, but it was made up of some very upbeat gents, a truly delightful couple, and a friendly young Asian man who came in partway through. And while I’ve known some rooms of 100 spoiled by one or two idiots, this little bunch made it really nice. It was also good seeing Dylan Bray headlining, clearly a different and more confidently self-deprecating and truly stronger act than he was when I last gigged with him a few years ago (if there’s one thing I love about stand-up, it’s seeing acts develop. But that’s for another blog).

My point is, any pre-judgment I seem to make about gigs almost always turns out to be wrong. I remember doing a gig outside London a while back – I won’t say where – which was possibly the world’s most perfect room for comedy, the promoters had given careful thought to the night, and by showtime the place was packed. And then pretty much every act struggled to get laughs.

The other interesting thing about tonight is that it is the first gig in a little while where the E-word was hardly mentioned at all. Edinburgh is not till August, but now is the time when decisions need to be made, and as a result it’s a pretty common topic of discussion amongst acts: Are you going? Are you doing a full run? What kind of show are you doing? Who are you doing it with? Have you sorted out accommodation yet?

I don’t quite know the answers to these questions. I do know I have an idea of what I’d like to do. But if that doesn’t work out it’s better not to really tell too many people that it was what you were planning. You know…in case things go differently.

Basically, you don’t want to be making judgments too early.


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