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Any advice after a bad gig

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JoshBB

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 12:09am
  • Folkestone, England
  • 16 posts

So I'm currently in the depressing aftermath of a bad gig. its only my 7th gig and the comedy forums seems to be the most appropriate place to put it.

there are 2 reasons why I bombed this gig and I'm fully aware of them. first was that I froze, my first night as a compare at this bar and I stood in the corner of the room, 90% of the room were not there for comedy, most were just there to drink and be loud. I started my set, and just forgot the words, and the fact I became aware of it instantly lead to me trying to distract myself by looking a smudge on the bar. after a good 10 seconds of silence I found my footing and managed to start to salvage it, until I was heckled.

i had a comeback in my pocket just incase someone started talking but this was full out anger. "weird, I don't remember playing the music or brushing my hair but apparently its the f**king muppet show" after this he interjected every 20 seconds or so, sometimes with a grunt, other times with "you're a f**king c**t mate" and yet when ever I started to talk to him he would go silent, really messing with the flow and meaning I had to start from scratch every single time.

so, anyone on the forums have any advice for freezing on stage and how to deal with the worst kind of hecklers?

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Steve Sunshine

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 12:14am
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14199 posts

Bad Gigs are good as they stand you in good stead for what's ahead.
Dealing with Hecklers is probably not a good thing to be worried about at this stage.
It was a tough crowd, you'll get them.
But concentrate on what you can do rather than what the Audience might do, otherwise it will just distract you.
just look at your set, see what worked & what didn't and try to bear that in mind for the next attempt.

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Tursiops

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 12:20am
  • Welwyn Garden City, England
  • 9717 posts
Quote: JoshBB @ January 20 2012, 12:09 AM GMT


so, anyone on the forums have any advice for freezing on stage and how to deal with the worst kind of hecklers?

Don't dwell on it. Carry a flick-knife.

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sootyj

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 9:01am
  • England
  • 51287 posts

Firstly you're compering after 7 gigs, your balls must be the size of watermelons.

Compering is bloody difficult I don't know anyone who hasn't done it in less than a year/50 gigs. The skills for handling the crowd only come with practise.

There's 2 things you can do as a comic.

1 Rewrite your material.
2 Practise it or rehearse it.

Every time I do that my work improves exponentially. Even if you don't use it knowing you have 5 minutes of good materialin your back pocket builds your confidence.

And finally anyone who says you shouldn't blame the audience is wrong. You will have nights where some twat brought all his mates who are only there to see them, or someone who likes to argue with the stage or some frigid soul who only goes to be offended.

Live with it. It's the shit gigs you bounce back from, not the ones you that ace that make you.

Also hecklers 3 options

1 ignore them, seriously nobodies listening to them
2 if you can think of one germaine response to what they're saying good otherwise ignore them.
3 be polite and thank them.

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David Bussell

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 10:20am
  • London, England
  • 9943 posts

Agree with soots; compering to a crowd that's not there for comedy is a situation even the best comics struggle with - let alone someone at your level. I sure as shit wouldn't wish it upon myself.

I don't think it helped that you were trying to "do material" either - your job as a compere (especially in a rowdy room) is to quiet the crowd down and get them looking in the right direction for the acts. If you're likeable that's great - if you're funny, all the better, but jokes take second place to getting them in the present to the comedy that's to follow.

Suggest next time doing a 5 spot and letting someone else take care of the compering, or at least playing MC to a room of people that sat down to see some stand-up.

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don rushmore

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 4:42pm
  • Handsome Boy Modelling School, England
  • 2842 posts
Quote: JoshBB @ January 20 2012, 12:09 AM GMT

"weird, I don't remember playing the music or brushing my hair but apparently its the f**king muppet show"

Was this your comeback or a heckle? Either way, if it's a reference to the Muppet Show theme, I don't understand the 'brushing my hair' bit - that's not in the lyrics.

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sootyj

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 5:05pm
  • England
  • 51287 posts

A bit of advice I found works in work and pretty much everywhere is

"you can't have a one sided argument"

If you are unfailingly polite and don't engage. Then they're just a drunken blowhard shouting in the dark.

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don rushmore

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 5:22pm
  • Handsome Boy Modelling School, England
  • 2842 posts
Quote: sootyj @ January 20 2012, 5:05 PM GMT


If you are unfailingly polite and don't engage. Then they're just a drunken blowhard shouting in the dark.

Problem is, they're still shouting - and screwing up your act. We need a foolproof way to shut these 'blowhards' up for good.

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zooo

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 5:22pm
  • England
  • 68246 posts

DaButt's got some.

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The Man in the Bowler Hat

  • Friday 20th January 2012, 6:50pm
  • England
  • 39 posts

Get up, dust yourself down, and get back on the horse.

No point beating yourself up about it, have a think about how you could have handled it better but don't torture yourself over it. Go and do the next gig.

Remember, everyone has died at some point. Everyone.

It happens, and you can generally learn a lot more from a bad gig than you can from a good one.

As for compereing after 7 gigs, wow! Agree with the others about trying to shoehorn material into compereing - it's not good and usually it doesn't work.

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Tony Cowards

  • Saturday 21st January 2012, 9:55am
  • Wiltshire, England
  • 1762 posts

Sarah Millican has a rule that you are only allowed to worry about a bad gig until 11am the following day then you just have to let it go and get on with life, I find this is a good rule to adhere to.

Bad gigs happen, try to learn what you can from them and then move on.

As for hecklers, I generally agree with Sooty, ignore them as much as you can, unless you have a really good comeback and the severity of your response should only go up if they are consistently interrupting.

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JoshBB

  • Sunday 22nd January 2012, 10:11pm
  • Folkestone, England
  • 16 posts

Thanks for the advice, I'll go back to doing just being on stage, my thinking as to doing compare was just to get as much stage time as possible, but hey ho.

thanks sootyj for the dealing with hecklers advice btw, I may only have 7 gigs under my belt but I'm in college and working, not to mention I live in folkestone so I have to travel to get to any kind of open mic night.

but anyway, I'm going to make comedy more than an occasional hobby so you guys should see me on the forums alot more. (hopefully with a less depressing thread next time)

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Failed Comedy Writer

  • Tuesday 24th January 2012, 5:31pm
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • 73 posts

Sir, I salute your persistence.

Not that you should take advice from me - I've not done stand up for years now, but my preferred way to deal with hecklers is never to meet them with aggression - the hardcore bastards thrive on it and you may be playing into their hands.

I always found that being overly polite is the easiest way to disarm them, unless you have the whole room under your spell - only then are you likely to get away by ripping into someone. Otherwise it just gets uncomfortable for everyone and the spell's broken.

Also don't address them individually or directly. Play to the crowd - no-one has come to watch you have a 1-1 conversation with a drunken attention-seeking twat(*). Get them to turn on the offender - I once co-ordinated the whole crowd into pointing at the heckler and getting them to deliver a tortuously long-winded put-down on my behalf.

And keep going. Wish I did. Might get back to it one day...

(*Unless of course that's the performer)

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JoshBB

  • Wednesday 25th January 2012, 10:07pm
  • Folkestone, England
  • 16 posts

If anyone is still interested in the thread, I've recently been chatting to a comic I know Martin Mor, who gave me some advice when I was first starting out, when I asked him about this kind of heckler he told me: "sometimes you just can't deal with them. Try to get the rest of the audience on your side and ask him to shut up as he is spoiling it for everyone else, otherwise the bouncers have to chuck them out."

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Tom G

  • Sunday 29th January 2012, 4:38pm
  • England
  • 453 posts

I agree that taking on a compere role after 7 gigs is a tough one but not impossible. I've been compering since my 16th gig and its always gone alright. I just made sure that the venues were going to be well set up for comedy first.

By this I mean I made sure the venue was solely being used for comedy, there were paying audience members, not too many acts on the bill, sound and lighting on the stage etc.

If you want to do material then I'd suggest asking the audience questions that can lead into it. If you have some material about the "worst holiday you ever had" for example then ask the audience first what their worst holiday is.

Someone will join in and you can chat to them and hopefully get something funny from it, if not then just go in to your routine.

I think its important as a compere to deal with hecklers. Firstly I'd reccomend laying down some ground rules at the start. You're a host so you don't have to be funny all the time. Let them know the structure of the night, tell them to turn phones off, tell them not to heckle. You are the link between the acts and the audience so you want to get them onside. Don't be overly aggressive with hecklers, make sure the audience are on your side not theirs!

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