Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Comedy Masala

I don't know if it was the idiots bellowing in Mandarin outside my room at 12:30 last night, or waking up half an hour early by accident, or being hungover from reading 15% of Great Expectations, but I felt dreadful today. By late afternoon all hope had departed and I wanted to have a sit down and a little cry, instead of wrangling spreadsheets into some sort of order.

Come to think of it, one of the worrisome miracles of modern technology is that I know how many percent into Great Expectations I am, rather than the page number. But right now I'm also unsure if Dickens really did write the early characters with heavy accents, or if some optical character recognition has gone wrong. Can somebody look at page 8% and ... oh, never mind.

After I got home and lay on the bed for an hour, I realised I was wasting the opportunity to experience Singapore by skulking in my hotel. So I went out and bought a sandwich at Subway.

My real plan was to get to Comedy Masala, an open-mike night on Circular Road. Well, on Upper Circular Road. Cue me walking past a parade of girly bars on Circular Road in the rain, slightly confused and with women of negotiable virtue calling out to me.

Luckily I found the right place eventually; unlike the club in Hong Kong it's a squalid bar, full of shouty drunks, which provides a pretty good atmosphere. When TakeOut is good, it's very good. When it's a Tuesday night and you're performing to three people who don't understand a word of English, less good. It feels a bit cruder, or at least more robust than Hong Kong; people swear a lot more. This isn't a bad thing in itself, but I suppose I've avoided that because I feel if you're going to focus on tourists having sex with pigeons in Trafalgar Square and then eating them, you need to live and die on your material, not whether you said "fuck" or "ass". If your act is clean and you look filthy, the audience will be happy; if your act is filthy and you look clean, that's fine too. If you look like you're just filthy, they tend to be less accepting.

Still, what works, works. I'm going to try to get three minutes next time I'm in Singapore, and already I'm having to figure out what will work and what will just wilt and die in another environment.

It's been a year that they've been doing this in Singapore, and as part of the anniversary celebrations they flew Jami, the owner of TakeOut, over. On a Tiger Airways plane. I don't think his stank of piss or got struck by lightning though. Or at least he was too polite to say so. I would have stuck around for the second half of the show, but I needed to call my wife (and some early work calls tomorrow) so, suitably impressed by it all, I went back to the hotel.


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