What's new with Janey
08 January 2006

Last Nights Show

Last Nights Show….
I had the best gig in a long time last night at Blackfriars, firstly it was the first week of January, and so we expected a smallish crowd. The surprise was -it was heaving! Apparently I got a nice mention in the Guardian Newspaper advertising the gig and that helped swell a crowd, so that’s cool.

Secondly despite a cold night there were loads of really interesting people turning up who had read my autobiography (I know this coz they told me) and that always makes an odd gig at times. People who have read my book, don’t really find out I become a stand up comic until they read my wee biog at the back flap, as all through the book there is no mention of comedy and the book ends in 1994, I didn’t really get into comedy until 1995.
So if they are not comedy fans and are just book fans, I have no perception of how they will react to my gig and they have no perception of how I perform as a comic, so it’s like performing for the first time! This is awesome!

Anyway Scott Agnew is the best comedy host around at the moment and he warmed the crowd up well, the gig went great and I tell one story that always divides the ‘book fans’ from a genuine comedy audience…it goes a bit like this.

I talk about how I had sex with a blow up doll a couple of years ago in Amsterdam, the graphics and physical antics of the set are visually funny and everyone giggles as I describe the setting…but the punchline is that I could not enjoy the act until the joint I was smoking fell off my mouth and landed on the blow up mans face and melted it….then I had an orgasm, so I now touch myself to burn victims. NOW I know that’s nasty, it is meant to be funny and it is funny for some people, the people who like comedy, the folks who turned up to see the woman who wrote the book stopped laughing as I said ‘So now I masturbate to burns victims’. I must admit writing it, it doesn’t sound anywhere near funny, but like all comedy you have to see it live and I will podcast that sketch soon as I love it.

Anyway it split the room, and that’s good coz I want the people who only know me as the woman from the book to see what I actually do on stage.

I also slag off religion, I take the piss out of Nuns, Catholics and Protestants and their King William of Orange (there is a big contingency of Catholics and Protestants in Glasgow…trust me on that) I then laugh at some Jewish influences but nothing terribly insulting to any of the above religions to be honest, but then I ask the audience if they want me to slag off another religion and they get to choose.

A room full of people sat quietly at this request, they looked at each other and started to get uncomfortable. So I took a quick poll of the collective religions in the room and there was a predominance of Catholics, some Protestants and a few atheists and some non committals…

I repeated my request for a named religion to be slagged off and still silence fell over the room and so I said
“Did anyone think Muslim but were scared to say it, if do raise your hand” and lots of people raised their hands, so I did a gentle funny set about being a Muslim woman as I feel if I left them out that would be being racist. People were scared and I don’t know why we are scared to laugh at some religions but we are terrified of laughing at others, we are a nation that is worried to have an opinion. Not me, and the people laughed trust me, even the two Muslims up the back.
Anyway the night went great and at the end I asked the audience how they wanted the show to end and a woman shouted out “Talk about your mum”.
“She’s dead” I giggled and forgot thats not giggly for others, especially those who have read my book, so I told a big funny story about my mammy and it went down well, so as I was closing the show, I mentioned that my mammy would have been 71 years old next week and by some strange act of spontaneity, a woman shouted “Can we sing happy birthday to Annie? Your mammy?”
The crowd roared and they did, everyone of those people sat and sand loudly Happy Birthday to my mammy who died in 1982, it could have been cheesy and forced, but it wasn’t, everyone there wanted to do it and they did. I had a huge lump in my throat and I almost cried and at the end of my set and I said “In the nine years I have been a stand up comic, not one audience has ever sang happy birthday to my dead mammy, you people are great”
What a lovely night and thanks to everyone there who made me feel so very special and glad that I am a comic and writer.