Saturday, 16 April 2016

Jacaranda: Blind Date

Well, I must say, this week of gigs got off to quite the start with our usual Wednesday night new material night at the Jacaranda. In the seven weeks since this gig began it has become a real highlight in my week. It’s attracting good numbers of real comedy fans who seem to really appreciate the rawness of the show. Yea, ok, some stuff doesn’t work, and yea the weekend shows are more polished but, if you are a person who watches a lot of comedy then this free show definitely provides something different… and special.

This week saw a particularly varied and rowdy audience who I took to immediately. From Jan in the second row who was very angrily enjoying her birthday with her family, to Jacob and his young girlfriend (perhaps too young), and Jean the super smooth french student who while passing through the city thought he would catch some comedy and,with some help from me, also caught the attentions of some student regulars. There were plenty of characters for me to play with. A comperes dream. Anyone who MC’s often will know the feeling of joy when the audience laugh rapturously within seconds of the show beginning. The feeling of ‘Yep, this is gonna be easy’, and easy it was as the first two acts, Tom Short and Hannah Silvester both did wonderfully well with their new material.

From here things just got better and better, when we started the second section we had gained ten to fifteen new audience members, something which at some shows could be a huge pain as rules have to be reiterated and old ground has to be re-trodden in order to bring the new people into the fold and ensure they understand what is happening. Luckily for me this gig has a special kind of atmosphere, one which seems to make people just connect and slot right in. I retook the stage to find a completely new front row and once again within seconds I was flying. Letting them know what they had missed and discovering that these people were characters themselves, then, a man entered the room looking lost. If you haven’t been to this venue then I must explain that the entrance to the room brings you into the centre of the audience. That is where Maya (as I came to find out his name was), a very well dressed and softly spoken asian man found himself, unaware of the comedy night and feeling rather exposed. I asked him if he was ok and told him to sit down, which he reluctantly did. All the while still scanning the room like a meerkat in danger.

I asked what was up? To which he replied he was looking for Angie. Ok, I thought… Angie! Angie! I called out. Looking for Maya’s lost friend. A women on the front row pointed out a lady next her… “This is Angie”... But they were almost next to each other, surely they would have seen and noticed each other by now. “Is this Angie?” I asked. “I don’t know” Maya Replied, “It’s a blind date”….. NO!... I could not believe it. The crowd went into hysterics as my excitement got the better of me! How? Why? Why would you sit at the front of a comedy club to wait for a blind date. Both Maya and Angie blushed as they looked at each other for some idea of what to do next. I could not believe this was happening. Surely I’m not this lucky.

Correct. After the excitement died down and I could speak again. Angie, reveal she was not the Angie he was looking for. Coincidence had ruined my moment and it seemed the story. The crowd groaned with disappointment. I felt the same. None felt it more than Maya though. “Oh, god, this is the 4th time this week. I give up on older women” He cried with exacerbation. I had to ask… “Why, how old is Angie?. “In her sixties, I have a thing for older women” said Maya. Oh my god. I was shocked, the crowd was shocked, Front row Angie was shocked and a little insulted as she herself was only in her thirties. We all felt Maya’s pain whilst thinking ‘OK, he’s a bit weird’. This is a room of acceptance though, a group of all types and ages, brought together through this shared experience and willing, at that point, to embrace Maya, Milf fetish and all. Elliot, the awesome bar man swooped in and gave Maya a beer, he settled in and the show continued with two more great sets from Binty Blair and Rob Mulholland.

During the break Maya spoke to me at the bar, explaining his story fully, he had met this woman online and was supposed to meet her here. Seemingly she had had other ideas. But, Elliot to the rescue once more. Realising that he knew an Angie who fitted Maya’s description he told him that the woman he may be looking for was a poet who ran a spoken word night in the room two floors up. This clicked with Maya and the hope that he may just be in the wrong room grew. Three shots for courage later he went to find his elderly paramore.

The show restarted. I let the group know the fate of Maya. We all felt good, ready for our headliner. Karen Bayley took to the stage and immediately found her stride. The group took to her straight away and settled down for a headline set. Ten minutes in though, Maya returned, with Angie! The room went wild, I went wild, Karen hopped with glee. Angie had no clue what the fuck was going on. “How are you Angie” Karen asked. “Ok”, Angie replied sternly. She had the confidence of a performer but with the added embarrassment of the situation and all of these strangers focused she stuttered a little before choosing to blatantly lie. “We are just friends” she protested. “How come he didn’t know what you looked like then” Came the question flying from the audience, “erm….” She quickly relented and kissed Maya. It was as beautiful as an elderly woman kissing a man in his twenties had ever been and we all rejoiced! We would remember this night for a long time.

Gig review by Paul Smith

Want to get involved?

Our next show at the Jacaranda is on Wednesday 20th April with another fantastic lineup including closer DANNY DEEGAN & it's FREE ENTRY. 

Get your tickets here here