Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday April 17 2006

Last night I and some pals went to a comedy show.  There was a web page about it, but that was only to sell it.  Apparently what anyone on the www actually thought about it, and might therefore want a continuing link for, doesn’t register with this particular system.  Anyway, it was the 99 Club (again), in a venue just off the top of Leicester Square (also again).

What matters with comedy is not jokes, but confidence.  Well, the jokes have to be okay, but without confidence, they are just jokes.  What matters is: Does the comedian need you to laugh for his career to progress?  Or is he doing fine anyway, whether you laugh or not?  (This is why being on current television makes such a difference for a comedian.)

Last night it went: lady comedian, interval, two guy comedians, interval, guy comedian.  The last guy comedian, Andy Zaltzman, was the best, because he just reeled off his stuff with a hint of weary been-everywhere told-these-jokes-a-hundred-times confidence that meant we could all relax and enjoy it.  The lady comedian was also pretty good.  But the two guys in the middle, although clearly very talented and with lots of fun and off-beat material to spout, exuded slight whiffs of desperation.  The first guy had built desperation into his act because he played the part of a desperate guy.  But he wasn’t fooling us.  The desperation was genuine.

An early highspot of the evening for me was when I took a photo of the lady comedian Sarah Kendall, and she decided to make something of it.  (We were at the front.) Did you just take a photo of me?  Yes.  Why?  As a souvenir.  (Best to tell the truth and play it straight when you are being counter-heckled.) You like to take photos?  Yes.  What do you take photos of?  Well, I like to photo other photographers.  Can’t they photo themselves?  Yes, they do, and I photo them doing it.  (I remember my own dialogue better, you understand.) In among all this and other chitchat, she posed dramatically for another photo, and although the first picture, the one that got it all started, was pretty terrible, the second one came out really well.  How about that?  (With the zoom thingy, you can tell straight away if Billion Monkey snaps have come out non-blurry.) A few years back she was nominated for one of those Edinburgh Festival fizzy water awards.

I thought there might be some complaint about this from the management.  My guess is if I make a habit of it , they will complain, so I won’t.  But no worries this time.

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