First Gig Worst Gig

Adam Bloom

Adam Bloom

It was the first of times, it was the worst of times. And it's not springtime yet but we've gone full bloom anyway - Adam Bloom that is, the seasoned stand-up who's turned over a new leaf by writing a book, which is going down very well. Ricky Gervais and Jim Jefferies are just two of the big names who rave about Bloom on the cover. The title? Finding Your Comic Genius.

"It's an advanced book on stand-up comedy," the author explains. "Rather than being a 'how to' book, it's a 'how to do it better' one. As far as I'm aware, no one has written one
before."

Why did he? "Magician and actor friend Ady Lloyd pushed me several times to write it and I'm very grateful to him for that. What made me get round to doing it was losing my dad in 2022. I began 2023 by starting chapter one. Thank God for new year's resolutions."

But was it then a steady stream, or like blood from a stone?

"The writing process was a joy," he says. "I got so immersed in it that I frequently didn't get out of bed for two hours after waking up because I couldn't stop writing. The tweaking, trimming and checking-for-continuity stages were the real work."

He does know a lot about stages. So let's head back thirty years, to his first.

The Problem With Adam Bloom. Adam Bloom. Copyright: BBC

First gig?

It was on 13th December 1993. I was terrified and had around 15 friends in, including my sister and her now husband. I was so nervous and remember thinking 'I can't cancel, my friends have all bought tickets.'

It went very well and I can vividly remember thinking, whilst I was onstage 'My whole life up until now all makes sense; this is definitely what I am meant to do'.

Favourite show, ever?

My very close friend Phil Goodeve-Docker died tragically and I organised a benefit at The Comedy Store for his chosen charity. 25% of the 400 people in the audience were his friends and family. The gig felt more like a wake.

What made it special was a mixture of that and the insanely good line-up that included Milton Jones, Jason Manford and a surprise appearance during the raffle from Matt Lucas. The night seemed to keep getting more and more exciting.

Worst gig?

Hmmm, so many to choose from. I was once ignored by the majority of 700 drunk people in Glasgow at a corporate event (of course it was a corporate event). I was even aggressively being told to 'Get off!' by people at the head table. I left after 15 minutes of my 30 minute set and they tried not to pay me.

Luckily I saw that coming and ended my disastrous set with 'I'm not leaving until someone on the head table says I can leave'. Someone did (they did the classic 'slicing off their head at the neck with a finger' mime) and I was eventually paid in full.

Provided this kind of gig pays very well, the comedian gets the last laugh. Often the only laugh.

Adam Bloom

Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?

Harry Hill, because seeing him live pushed me to doing my first gig. Emo Philips before that because seeing him led to me writing jokes, four years before I did my first gig.

And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?

No comment (although it's probably me).

Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?

I have one line that rarely gets more than a few chuckles no matter how well a gig is going, but I refuse to drop it. During a routine that's quite wordy, I say 'Listen carefully, you have to use your imaginations for this. If you haven't got one, pretend'.

Any reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions stick in the mind?

In 1997 I was struggling at a Christmas party and made the mistake of saying 'Any questions?' A bored-looking woman, wearing a paper crown who was using the palm of her hand to prop up her head replied 'Any jokes?' Brutal.

Is there one bit of the book that comics are finding particularly useful/relatable?

Yes, the chapter on personas. It's helping a lot of comedians to work out exactly who they are.

How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?

The book has led to lots more writing work as well as several masterclasses which has all been extremely exciting. So, book sales is only a small part of this. I feel reborn and am even being more focused than normal when I come up with new material for myself.


Adam Bloom's book Finding Your Comic Genius: An In-Depth Guide To The Art Of Stand-Up Comedy is out now.

Finding Your Comic Genius: An In-Depth Guide To The Art Of Stand-Up Comedy

By Adam Bloom

This is possibly the most advanced book ever written about stand-up comedy. It will be extremely useful to anyone who already performs stand-up, regardless of their experience. Since 17 of the 32 chapters are dedicated to writing material, it will also be beneficial to anyone who's thinking about doing stand-up for the first time or does any form of public speaking.

Adam Bloom is a multi-award-winning comedian who has ghost-written for over 50 of his peers and is finally sharing all of his writing methods and theories on the art of stand-up comedy.

First published: Monday 28th August 2023

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