Tonight I performed at an open mic night. A microphone attached to a small amp and speaker, in the back of a bar with loud music and chat leaking through. As the last act on on a night with 20 plus comics, I was not surprised to be playing to a room with only 6 in it, however I was surprised that 3 of them were genuine audience.
Making the best of a bad lot, I chatted bollocks to them and had fun. Lots of laughter, a couple of moments where I discovered a line through having crossed it, and the evening organiser was happy. The audience were too; it had been a long night, but the couple from Oklahoma were effusive in their praise, I was their favourite act and worth the wait. I hope that was thanks to my comedy rather than purely my being exotic.
All I did was chat to the audience, riff on an idea or two, comment on the room and on some of the other things that had been said. I did no material at all. What I did do was to have fun, and I had fun with them.
I suppose what I take away from this is that I can harvest laughter out here just by playing, possibly even more easily than at home; the wordplay and the improvisation of ideas on the hoof are both skills I’ve worked on and developed at home, but out here this style seems to be less of cultural standard within stand up than it is at home. If I can build material into this, I will have a reliable set that will wow a local audience, while at the same time feeling very natural.
Maybe I should find myself a room to run a night in and compere. Maybe I have enough on my plate already. But it is tempting…