Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Blah, blah and more blah (with a slight poke at the Great Leader, and beer)

Tonight I hosted at the comedy club, which was for the best as I'd not written anything new or rehearsed this week. In fact, I really haven't rehearsed for ages.

I got away with it though, bouncing along on a tide of old jokes and inane crudeness, trying out a different order for my Shenzhen girlfriend joke (which didn't work) and getting some laughs for my porn marathon. A good crowd, even if it was just four paying customers and some comedians.

One of the audience kept heckling everyone apart from me, so eventually when I was on stage I asked him why he didn't heckle me. And he had nothing to say. State the obvious, as Wali Collins said, and that shut him up. (Jami said it was because I talked too fast for him to get a word in, which is another way of looking at it. Plus I hang off the mike stand like it's a weapon, which helps. Own the stage, however you do so.) One of the other comedians had been chatting to him beforehand - I think it's good to have a bit of distance. I don't really want to be friends with the audience; I want them to like me, sure, but they need to know who's in control.

He did wave his drink at me though, saying he had a beer bottle. I noted that he did, saying that where I was from, that wouldn't be a threat so much as a chat up line. Ahem.

The last comedian up was Anthony, who I hadn't realised was so drunk he couldn't speak. And he hadn't realise that when he flailed his arm at me, it was not because he wanted the last spot at open mike. After I realised he wasn't just doing a great impression of a total drunk, I rescued him from the stage. Forgot to do my Chinese restaurant joke though - want to really cement that.

After, we went to Duke's Burger, a 300-dollar burger joint that was closing down because, well, it was a 300-dollar burger joint. I didn't think patronising it was a good idea, if the only reason to go was because it was closing down. Like any food purveyor on wheels, there's a greater risk of problems if you can't go back tomorrow to complain.

Anyway, it was packed so we went to the Globe instead, which has moved just across Hollywood Road and along a bit, to a giant gastropub space with incredibly illegible chalkboard menus, a range of fine beers, and some great food. If you can figure out what it is. And if you can cope with wasabi mayonnaise. (And, come to think of it, a beardy man who took a long stare at Mary as she walked in, blatant to the point of ridiculousness. I almost wanted to say something, but it's not for me to start fights over slights to a lady's honour. Or I'm a coward. Goodness, manners are hard.)

After, Pete and I met Tom Schmidt, Hong Kong's Funniest Man (2007) and Pete and I chatted with him. I lamented how I can't drink in Hong Kong without getting gutsick, whereas in the UK I'm fine. "What about the bottled beers in the Globe?" asked Pete. No good, I'm afraid. I bet they'd spend the money on shipping, importing and carefully storing the stuff, but as soon as they saw me coming they'd tip it out and replace the contents with stale San Miguel. Somehow they'd be saving money. The brutes.

Then Tom told us how he liked Chinese beers, particularly the ones with "No Added Formaldehyde" (they're the ones with only all-natural, organic formaldehyde); if you have to stipulate what's not in your particular beverage, it gives you little faith in the generality of Chinese beers. Although it might explain why the Dear Leader's corpse is so well preserved.

Somehow we got to talking about fornication between two married people - double jeopardy would make the wrongness cancel out. "Right," I said, "it's like if I'm not insured - as long as I'm really drunk, it's alright to drive a car.". Tom very kindly compared my delivery to Stephen Merchant - a few months ago I'd be angry that my comedy wasn't some angelic thing of incomparable originality, but as Gerald told me the other week, that's a silly thing to obsess over. It's right to find yourself being like someone else - originality, like so many things, may be best reached by not striving for it directly.  And Americans seem to be happy to be told they're like somebody successful, whereas Brits seem more worried that they're being inauthentic just because they're like somebody else.

I like this about Hong Kong, the way you can just run into somebody on the street and have a decent conversation on a Tuesday night. So then I told Pete all about the great Richard Herring. Told him about my planned 25 minute a-duck-walks-into-a-bar joke. He swiftly fled on a bus. What a top night.


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