Short version: Because some of you don’t like reading, the short version is some of the pictures I showed were too small… and other stuff.
“You should do the pictures.”
“Do that pictures story.”
“Gosh that’s a good bit. Do the pictures.”
“It’s pictures for me.”
And more over the advice I had was to do the pictures routine. I planned to do another routine, two of my dating short stories. No pictures. Just three spoons and words. I don’t regret the change. Don’t get me wrong. The support and successful expectation was too much to ignore.
The routine I did involves pictures, where I tell a story and use images as comic breaks and narrative. It’s worked in the bars I’ve performed in before, and it was expected that the novelty of the pictures, compared to those doing “normal” stand-up, would elevate me above the pack at Raw. At least, that was the advice.
Raw Comedy is a stand-up comedy competition in Australia. All of Australia. It’s a big competition. Entrants are non-professionals. Those who don’t get booked. Those who get paid with a free drink, if at all. Those who wait for hours at open mic nights to try their routine on a stage after everyone has gone home. It’s not for the cream of the crop, but it does find the cream by weeding out the chaff. If you get my meaning.
So I had this pictures routine. Practiced and ready. As said, it’s gotten a great response previously. Often people would tell me how they enjoyed it after a show. In fact, the audience at Raw Comedy seemed to enjoy it too. So why didn’t the judges?
My set went okay. Fine really. I made a couple of stumbles but nothing anyone seemed to notice or mention afterwards. I did notice the crowd didn’t respond to some pictures as quickly as crowds usually do. You see, unlike the small rooms I’d performed in before, this Heat of Raw Comedy was performed in a genuine theatre. Seats leading far to the back of the room. If I held a hand out, the body of some people would appear to fit into my palm. Imagine from that distance looking at a laminated sheet of paper and getting the joke on it. The judges were near the back, and they didn’t get the best view. While much of the crowd was okay, two people mentioned that one picture was not identifiable enough. If you look at the picture attached to this report, maybe you can decide for yourself. Is it what it should look like?
Furthermore a friend was a judge. Fully impartial, as my failure would attest. Her advice following was for some of the pictures to be bigger, and for myself to be more of an identity. The Raw competition likes to have personalities or characters on stage. Stories about characters. I’m not a personality. I’m more of a facts and figures kind of guy. At least, that’s normally all people ask of me. Do I even have a personality? I don’t know. That’s not what the pictures routine is about. It’s about events. Funny thing is that the dating stories I originally planned to do is more of a character piece.
Anyway, her advice didn’t reference a minor stumble of words or any error in content. She gave a couple of keen ideas on improvements, but nothing life changing. So while it could have been funnier, the easiest fix for Raw Comedy was to consider the scale of the room, and to tell a story of personal or character insights rather than just events.
Maybe that will work next time. If there’s a next time for me.
(The educational version is much more educational, right?)