In my capacity as a stand-up comedian – wait, I’m going to rephrase that. During the prolonged period in which I’ve stepped on stages with some regularity and attempted to make people laugh, with wildly varying degrees of success, I’ve met a few talented individuals. The scene is so small, relatively, that it doesn’t take long before you are on bills alongside winners of national competitions, people who write for household names, and folk who have appeared in television pilots and sitcoms. Occasionally, depending where you are playing and how things pan out, you can find yourself on the same stage as nationally-renowned comedians.
I was booked to do four gigs in the space of three days last year – a brand new set as a guest in a sketch troupe, compering a music gig, a set in a local pub, and then a spot at Glasgow’s famous comedy club, The Stand. The last two were on the same night, and I left one gig to go and immediately do another. I keep a blog about my experiences of gigs, and documented that last one here.
I got to the venue, flustered and less prepared than my previous appearances there, and scanned the running order to see when I was due on. I always read the running order to see who I know, and have my favourite acts and people that I enjoy seeing perform. This was no different, and I read down the list to see who I had missed and who was on in the same half as me – “I like him, he’s good, there’s me, and then – oh, Frankie Boyle.”
Frankie Boyle had been making regular appearances at the club for a few weeks, trying out new material for his final tour, and sometimes headlined. This particular night, he was just slotted in with all of the other acts – and that is how he ended up following me onto the stage. As it happened, I had a good gig that night, but the pressure was already off – however good or bad I might be, it wasn’t me that the audience would remember.
I doubt he listened to any of my set – at most, he might have listened to the laugh rate – but from the very little I spoke to him beforehand he came across as very grounded and approachable. I don’t always agree with his material, or the targets he attacks, but I’m glad he does what he does and defends himself rather than just apologise.