Given how much writing work I am doing for free on AIOTM it is probably lucky that I have a few corporate gigs booked in this month and next. They’re usually hard work and rarely what you’d call fun, but they pay well enough to cover lost earnings whilst I indulge in my vanity project/grand experiment/mid-life crisis/whatever the fuck this is.
And just as importantly they are an enormous challenge as a performer. Playing to an audience who haven’t come to see me, that most often have no idea who I am and who are interested in getting drunk and chatting. I think I am pretty good at the awards part of an evening, managing to push things onwards quickly with the correct mixture of respect and mickey-taking. But doing the stand up can be a little more bumpy, especially when so much of my material is much too controversial for a mixed crowd.
And maybe I am just a bit too negative about my abilities. I make audiences laugh in all kinds of environments and 80% of it is about confidence. I decided that tonight I would believe in myself and my material and do my best to entertain and be professional. If you are taking the work then you have to do the best possible job. And if this kind of work means I can do the jobs that I love without having to worry about earning a living from them then that’s a win win.
You know what, it worked really well tonight. It was the Payments Awards, giving accolades to innovations in new ways to transfer money and do contactless payments and so on. I actually find this idea and the technology of it pretty interesting, so I was able to take the piss out of specific dull sounding awards whilst still acknowledging that it appealed to my nerdy side. I told them it might well be the last Payments Awards as the way the economy is going we might be heading to a system of barter.
I felt a bit uncomfortable in my hastily bought off-the-peg dinner jacket (could the audience sense the cheapness coming off me?) And weirdly I found my voice quavering a bit. I didn’t feel it, but I was nervous and I had to pull myself together sharpish. And maybe I just got lucky, but thinking of them as just another audience and having belief that my stuff was funny and risking the odd risqué joke worked well. I even had a go at an extended routine ad they listened and enjoyed it. With the stand up out of the way came the comparatively easy job of presenting the awards, which just requires the odd reminder to quieten down and listen. But this was a nice crowd and even with some drink inside them they stayed respectful and I had a lot of fun with them.
This is one of the harder aspects of my work, but I am OK at it and I left with my head held high. Maybe this is what I was born to do!
Kickstarter rewards continue to go out thanks to the hard work of Chris Evans (not that one) and I am getting some nice pics of people enjoying their T-shirts and tea towels and at least one angry wife throwing the Cumpkin instructing dish-wiper away because out of context (and maybe even in context) it might seem sexist. But it’s not my definition. And cumpkins know no prejudice on grounds of race, sex, sexuality or gender identity. It probably takes some men to fill one, but anyone can have one put on their head.
For those of you idiotic enough to miss out on the kickstarters there may be some chances to purchase the small surplus we order in case of emergencies and I think we might have to print up more motorcycling clothing badges. Also we haven’t got quite enough money to finish the series so we could do with a little boost if you haven’t yet contributed. But thanks very much to all those of you who have got us this far. The AIOTM rewards are nearly all completed, though don’t panic if you haven’t got yours yet as the rewards are almost as big a task as the shows. Then Chris has to move on to the RHLSTP ones. He really is a hero. My part isn’t insignificant but it’s nothing compared to his. You might have to wait a little while for the Emergency Question book, but as I waited for the gig tonight in my hotel room I managed to take the total to over 300. I think it’s going to be a really great reward. And it would be unfair not to print enough of these to let more of you have a chance to purchase them. If everyone who listened to the podcast bought a copy we would be able to fund the podcasts for a long time to come.