It was finally here. The day I launch my first ever live comedy show. I’ve watched other people do this hundreds of times. (Maybe even thousands.) How hard could it be, right?
T-minus 5 hours
I spend a few hours in the early afternoon once again standing outside the local shopping hotspots handing out flyers for the gig and letting local shoppers know there was going to be a “Free Comedy Show” just a few hundred yards away later that day. Generally, the response was positive. Although a few did look at me like I was offering them a rohypnol-laden supermarket brand cola.
T-minus 90 mins
I was a little miffed that I still had about 80 flyers left. But it was time to get to the Fox and Goose and set up for the show. The staff at the venue have been exceptionally positive about the show. They did feel the show would be more of a success if it was in the main bar, but were happy for me to go ahead and run it in the larger room at the back.
I started setting up the tables and chairs in the usual way I’d done hundreds of times back when I worked at The Glee Club. The venue had predicted I might get ten people. Comedians on the circuit estimated between 30 and 40. Personally , I would have been happy with 20 punters, but set the room for 60 people just in case. Making sure to put out “Reserved” signs on the back three rows to force customers to start filling up near the front.
Tomorrow, I’m launching my first live show. Ever. It’s called “POD Comedy” and will be at the Fox and Goose pub in East Birmingham, where I grew up. I’ve received a lot of positive advice and messages of support from the vast majority of the comedy community.
However, a handful of people have said, and perhaps many more have thought, that it can’t be done. That it shouldn’t be done. “An open mic comedy night? In Ward End? At The Fox and Goose? On a Sunday night? It’s going to be a car crash!!”
A week ago, I realised I’d booked a full slate of comedians but still hadn’t sorted out an MC for the gig. Birmingham does, of course, have it’s fair share of very experienced and talented comedy comperes and I was fortunate that one of the finest of that particular elite group, Mr. Dave Dinsdale, was available.
I’ve been involved in the world of comedy since the beginning of this millennium – mainly behind the scenes in various capacities. Earlier this year, I decided I would start performing stand-up comedy and treat it the way you would any full-time job. However, unlike most people starting out fresh on the circuit, I had the advantage of my experience working with, and watching performances by, hundreds of professional comedians over the course of many years. Based on what I’ve learned, I wrote myself the following “Ten Commandments for a new comedian” that, I must admit, I haven’t always stuck to as religiously as I should have. And I know I would be a better comedian if I had. Here, I share them with the world…
Hello comedy lovers and lovers of Jay Islaam. (Many people argue those are two non-intersectional sets of data on a venn diagram. I hate those people.)
A non-comedy post from me today. This is just a simple request, urging my UK friends to sign the petition requesting the British government take action to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM aka female circumcision). Sadly, this is a dangerous cultural practice that still claims many victims around the world, causing unnecessary suffering for millions of women. It is outlawed throughout the West but still continues “below the radar” even in places like the UK. The petition requires 100,000 signatures to trigger a Parliamentary discussion about it in the UK.