The Comics Lounge

22339088_1436142239775091_362525603957493456_oOn Tuesday night I returned to my home ground The Comics Lounge, This is the biggest club in Australia and was voted number 7 in the best clubs in the world.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been doing some really tough shows in the country which really test your character and confidence so it was good to get back to a real club in front of a real comedy audience. Plus I needed to record a set to send to booker’s at other clubs so I can start 2018 with some great shows.

The crowd wasn’t huge like 2 weeks ago but a good sized crowd non the less. I was a bit quite for a couple of the acts but they were running new material so it is always hit and miss.

I got moved to the second bracket which suits me fine I can relax a bit more and get in the zone. I came out and started with a bit of crowd work that got a few laughs but didn’t really go anywhere so i went into material. Which went really well I did feel a bit of a negative vibe from a few people front row when i came out but after a few minutes they seem to relax and get into the swing of things.

I didn’t do any stories as I wanted to record a fairly tight set, I did get to add some new tags which came to me on the spot although i did forget to do a few so it balanced out ok.

I finished with a new joke that got a great reaction bigger than i expected, It was an re-write of the first bit i ever did and I managed to throw to it out during some crowd work.

The video came out great the audio didn’t capture the audience reaction but we used the recording from my phone which helped because the crowd was laughing in that direction.

It wasn’t the most electrifying gig but It was fun and I got the most out of the crowd so I was happy with it.

Lessons;  I am really staring to understand how confidence is key if you are present to the crowd and having fun they will come along the ride with you.

It is also true for crowd work I am not in fear on stage at all I am in control so I guess it feels like i am steering the ship.

This week I head back to the outback for the last of the shows and the documentary shoot on Friday. This should be a fun show as it is Kev’s home town.

Stay Funny

Flemo

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The next show

The next show was on the Saturday night in Wentworth at the Royal Hotel, Again Gibbo was on board for this one along with Dave Ickovic. We got in early as we were filming for the We are here documentary which is highlighting the town of Wentworth.

We got to go on a speed boat up the Murray and Darling rivers as they were filming Kev’s arrival using drones then we went to the Wentworth Gaol which was in use back in the bushranger’s day they would have a lot of people go in to town to send their money at the pub and then after a fight they would get locked up. I did an interview with Dave who looks after the Gaol. It opened in 1881 and closed in 1927 and was very barren,dry and hot the temperature can get up to 50 degrees which is around 122 fahrenheit.

Then we headed off to the river to do a interview at a paddle steamer the Ruby P.S. We met with the caretaker Ian who came off a bit abrupt at first but once we got in to the interview he turned out to be a champion. He was a real crack up and a real character I am really getting in to learning about all the old things about this country like i do when i am in America,like how things were done back in the day and you get a sense of how easy it is today and I think it is important to appreciate how easy we have it these days.

The following morning we headed off to a cattle station and had a chat with two 5th generation farmers  again it was really cool to see what they do what they go through each day to put meat on our tables in the city, you get a disconnect with were it all comes from,you would be spending most of your day finding and killing your food with out these guys.

Now for the show, I was told there would be a huge crowd for this one as there was a country music festival and a rowing regatta here at the same time,so the plan was to have the show outside in the beer garden luckily it was moved inside to the dining area because it wasn’t a huge crowd. It was the dinners and we kept them there.

We had a late start as the kitchen was running behind time so by the time I got on meals were still being served.

First up was Gibbo he was fun did some classic tunes that sounded great, unfortunately most of the audience were chatting and catching up but they were giving him a round of applause after each song. I was up next as an Emcee for the show and again got stuck in to the crowd work there was a lot of material in the room for me to make fun of and I bounced off the audience well. I did get pretty dirty with this show without being crass I am starting to really work out how to get away with murder up there I think the fact I am finding my voice now is helping.

Because we were running late and behind time we didn’t have a break, But when I did the Intro for Dave he said aint we having a break? No! He said, “nah lets have a break I’m going for a piss” and walked out then most of the crowd walked out too.

That’s the reason you don’t have a break when its getting late because people are tiered they have been held up already so you need to jump on and get going, So when he came back in I did the intro again to only a few people. His set was always going to be hard as most of the crowd had left, he tried his hand at roasting me but it just came out like a rude insult. I did hear one of the best Heckles i have ever heard he had his guitar out and was playing a tune but before he started singing a drunk sang the works, “listening to you is like watching paint dry” The people who were still there lost their shit!

Again we hung out with the crowd after and had a few laughs sang some songs they were a really cool bunch.

The next show is in Morgan South Australia which is Kev’s home town so it will be a great show.

Lessons on this leg;

Again flicking the switch and just going for it sets the tone for a show and lets the crowd know that you are in control.

And getting back to crowd work, I haven’t done much of late and you tend to jump in to your material but I am really a lot more comfortable on stage now, after the hard shows I have done this year I feel like I cant be broken as I have already been to hell There isn’t anything they can do that’s worse than what I have been facing.

I am looking forward to some gigs this week and maybe just doing crowd work and a couple of new bits. If I can get really strong with the crowd work i think I can take on any crowd.

Thanks for reading If you like give it a share and a like.

stay funny

Flemo

 

The show goes on.

The next show was at the Toolyebuc Sports Club, This time I was Joined by 2 other acts, Nick Capper a 10 year vet and Dave Ickovic a 20 year vet. Again the AFL and NRL finals games were on this weekend so it is always hard to pull crowds this time of year.

Nick and I caught the 2 hour train ride together from Melbourne to Bendigo which was good cause I could give Nick a heads up on what to expect from the trip as it isn’t a normal comedy setting. I was good to get to know Nick a bit better, we have done a few gigs together and shot a couple of comedy skitz together but never hung out much.

The crowd was small on this one I was Emcee, They were good for a small crowd but it was always going to be hard to get a good rhythm going but I got them warmed up with about 20 minutes, I was saving material for the second bracket where i was going to do another 20 before bringing Dave on.

I found some holes in my set for some of these shows where it was a bit wordy for a small crowd but in saying that I wasn’t on, as in going crazy, I was doing the work to try set up the show for the other guys the same set in a real club goes great.

I brought Nick on first this was Nicks first gig on these shows, he is from a country town in NSW and is very original in his style and delivery which i like. The crowd warmed to him but it wasn’t a punchy set so it did come off a bit wordy but that is Nick’s style I think if i had of introduced him in a different way it might have set the stage for him a bit better. But i know for next time as we are very different acts If rolls were reversed it might have been the same for me as they get set on one style then get presented with another. But we wont know till the next one and a bit of trial and error.

We didn’t have a break because of the small crowd so I brought Dave on and he did some crowd work early and then went into his set. He was struggling with losing his voice a bit but hit them hard and had a strong set although lots of swearing but he was drunk, and a lot of stock jokes and older acts material which a lot of the older acts still do in Australia although they never admit it.

That is what I love about America if you got up and stole jokes or just did stock joke book jokes from the 70’s the crowd will turn and the other act’s on the show will ruin you and you wont get work again! I can only prey that happens here one day.

I went looking for Nick during Dave’s set he vanished when i found him he looked a bit dejected which i know that feeling as I had many gigs like that at the football and cricket clubs when i started. But with Nick If we did a show the next night we would have smashed most likely I think you forget that especially when its fresh in your mind.

The positive thing is he is 100% original he writes his own material and it is far better to die on your sword doing your material than stealing jokes or doing stock jokes and winning. I let him know that and i think that is really important and told him that, I wasn’t trying to give him advice as he has been doing comedy twice as long as me It was more a support for a team mate sort of thing I do hope he took it that way.

On the Tuesday night I jumped up at the Comics Lounge again and had another really fun set in front of about 450 people. I put the foot down in parts and got a lot out of it I am really finding my voice on stage now. It was also great to hear my jokes get what the should be getting and to build my confidence back after these tough shows. I know what i can do in a comedy club and i do it consistently.

I had the crowd in my hands and did a solid 15minute set I made a Youtube clip of about 8 Minutes you can check it out here.

 

The next night I went to guerilla comedy the small room i usually go nuts in by the time i went up the crowd had cleared and it was just open mic acts watching which really pisses me off. They don’t laugh and if the clicky acts are there they just fake laugh at their friend act and cross their arms for you. It went good though i just worked on presence and control so i ended up getting a bit out of this one.

The next show I did solo at the Robinvale Golf Club this town is very multi cultural.It was a huge Asian and Maori community but also form all accounts a lot of crime. Which suits me fine as I grew up in Springvale which was the Heroin Capital of Australia, you know your suburb sucks when that’s the crowning achievement and what you brag about.

When we got to the club we noticed that the advertising wasn’t the best the poster had betting odds stapled over the top of it, so i wasn’t expecting a big crowd. I did tell the promoter that the posters were not good they don’t have any reference to stand up comedy on them just a small mention at the bottom of it which nobody will read when the poster doesn’t invite you to bother reading it.

When your doing gigs to help out, you want a great crowd so it isn’t painful or really hard work then you can enjoy it and as i was hoping when i agreed to do these shows I can work on my new material and building a bigger set. But it has been a fight the whole way which is making me strong in one way but can beat you down as well.

We had a folk band playing before and after me on this one. There were so many children here really young and a couple of tables of Yee Haa Grandma’s and Grandpa’s so i got up and interviewed Kev and gave them a warning. I would prefer to go hard to nobody than be safe to a crowd that isn’t suited.

There was a good crowd in the end people had come in from the bar area and were right into it. I did a lot of crowd work in this show which set up the material perfectly, They were really fun and interacted with me so i could bounce off them.

In the end everyone had a great night we got a huge donation for the charity and everyone at the show donated so it was a positive experience all round.

The Next show was at the Nangiloc Tavern which is near Mildura, This small town was heaps of Backpackers there and we also had a muso playing at the start Gibbo, unfortunately he has playing in one room while everyone was in the dining room. He was really original and very good I dug his stuff. The next show he will have the crowd in front of him.

I was really worried about this one the crowd were in the dinning room and I was just wrecked and half asleep. But once i got started it was a really fun show, I did heaps of crowd work with the backpackers and riffed on most of it for 15 minutes. I blended my material in here and there I did about 45 minutes and it ended up being a really fun show.n The locals were really nice people and lots of fun.

So the lessons from this lot just work with what you have got.

For me connecting back to crowd work it does get easier just build the tension then release it. I am looking forward to doing a few crowd work only gigs this week in Melbourne it really helps to command the space.

And stay humble just know where you are going and only worry about where you are going. So many people will try and bring you down to their level because they don’t work hard or want to work hard.

Thanks for reading

Stay funny

Flemo

Touring the country

I’ll give you a brief run down of these shows as the are not all fresh in my mind and i have tried to delete them from my mind. The crowds are small if any which is the problem when you don’t charge entry plus most people in these town don’t know a shows on.

I started a tour along the Murray River a couple of months back for a charity which is raising awareness of mental health issues for our farmers. The Murray river is a very long 2,508 Km to be exact and it runs through three states New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. A huge part of the trek is us following a Kayak-er Kev Cook who is paddling the whole length over 64 days and 42 towns.Four farmers take their lives each day in Australia, so the tour is set up to stop in at the local pub,Golf resort or sportsclub and raise some awareness and bring some laughs to the locals.

We started in Jingellic at the local and only pub in the village, There was only a handful of people at this show but it went well considering. I made one lady spit her drink across the room which is always a win for a comedian.

The lessons range from gig to gig, at this one there wasn’t much i could do either way just plow through it.

The next show was at a golf resort in Howlong, It was a big venue not really set up for comedy but non of these shows are.

Kev and the crew had rounded up a crowd the problem was they were all over 80 years old it was a retirement village show so i was holding back and trying not to offend them.

The slightest swear word got gasps one lady was just shaking her head the whole way through the show. The only positive was crowd work with a couple of the old fellas to the side of the stage they were having a great time a least and came over for a chat afterwards. Tony was a funny guy really friendly and he had a ball so it makes it worth it in some way. The crowd work saved me on this one the material was not suited at all.

Next stop was Corowa Golf Club again this wasn’t set up for comedy and the crowd were there for a raffle so they were held hostage till the comedy was done. And like the night before it was like a retirement village, Add to this there was a darts tournament on right next to me as the show was going on and the AFL Finals on the TV’s.

Again not many people here but at least i found the people who were into it and just worked on making them laugh so it was a slight win. But i was starting to realize the shows might not get any better than this. Again crowd work helped although i didnt do much and punched my way out was becoming the norm on these shows.

Lessons dont finish with a joke about strokes when most of the crowd has had one!

Next was Bundalong a small pub in the middle of nowhere again nobody was there for the comedy it was two groups there for birthdays and I just interrupted their parties with my jokes. I made a dumb move here as i got a child up to tell some jokes which got a great reaction because it was a kid then when i went back to material it didnt work so we had a joke off with some old stock jokes which worked but im not that kind of act i’d prefer to die doing my material than win stealing other comics jokes or reading from a comedy joke book.

Lessons don’t bring a child up on stage until you have finished this gig sucked I sucked the crowd sucked the best thing i did was finish.

Next up was Club Mulwhalla a huge club on the border of NSW and Victoria.

We go in and there are no posters up for the show and the manager knew nothing about the show being on so another good start. I was really over it each gig has nobody there and we have to round up a group of Yeehaa Grandma’s to sit through my hardcore set. The only good thing was it had a huge stage which i feel very comfortable on but a huge room with no audience in it. By the time we finished dinner I really didn’t want to go up, It is more damaging for my mental state and confidence than anything positive that could come from this, I really have not had this many bad shows in a row before.

So I start the show with an interview with Kev and Peter about the trek then head into some jokes. There were mabe 15 people a few ladies from Melbourne who i messed with and did a bit of crowd work but they didn’t hang long. Someone would come down from the pokies so i would hang it on them till they left.

This gig was the best so far mainly because i really didnt care at this point so i didnt hold back or care if i offended anyone plus being on the big stage helped me feel more at home.

One thing I learnt was when i just let loose or get in the zone i win it has been that way over my 25 years in entertainment. It is just hard to let loose when your getting kicked night after night.

When i got back to Melbourne I jumped up at The Comics Lounge which is my home ground and had a killer set, which is just what i needed. I was starting to doubt my material after these shows but when you get up in front of a comedy crowd at a comedy club it made me realize it is the audiences I’m performing to not me.

The next night i got up at a open mic room and ripped out a 28 minute set in a 5min spot haha they dont mind. I went nuts as i do in this room I use it as practice to connect with the crowd.

I really need the real gigs each week to lift me or I will get down,It is hard to get up for a crowd that hasnt turned up for comedy and hasnt paid for the show they have no investment in the show.

But these shows a making me a lot stronger and able to handle to bad things that are going to come up in the next leg.

I’ll do another blog tomorrow about the next leg,

Stay funny.

Flemo

 

 

My past year

Hello again, It has been a while since my last post.

I have been doing a lot of different things over this past year from doing some really fun shows to being homeless to traveling through The united states of America to a small tour i am currently doing in Outback and country Australia.

It was about a year ago I was feeling a bit down with the lack of shows coming my way, As i was leaving my apartment with Chris Nelson who is one half of the Nelson Twins a great comedy act here in Oz, He asked me what i had booked I said nothing just the Comics lounge weekly show then my phone rang it was a Sydney number I only get calls from Telemarketers in Sydney so i ignored it.

We had a chat down stairs before parting ways I walked down the street to my car I thought i would check the Voicemail.

“Hello Justin?

This is Andrew Laing from A-List Entertainment We were wondering if you would like to Support Akmal Saleh on his Tour of Victoria in October.”

I thought it was a prank I wouldn’t be on A-lists radar, But i rang back thank god because it was real! He said they had heard good things about me and they wanted me for the support.

I got off the phone and just balled my eyes out I really didn’t expect this to happen.

So from nowhere a gift came and we headed off for a month in Victoria playing all over the state doing some really fun shows on big stages too which i am a lot more comfortable on, I guess from my years singing for Pegazus.

I did learn a lot on this tour, as I had to open the show cold and like when we opened for International acts in Pegazus you have to work really hard to win them over because your the person in the way of them seeing who they really want to see.

One thing I did notice on getting this gig was how some people were really pissed off at me for getting it and in some circles i was punished for getting this gig but it doesn’t matter in the long run.

I went to the USA in late March for a great backpacking comedy boot camp.

My plan was to spend 3 months there going from gig to gig while smoking as much weed as humanly possible. I made the choice to throw all of my older material away so I would have to write while there and also write to their humor. I started off in LA and did some gigs but really wasn’t into the scene I guess my goals didn’t match the rest of the scene.

Most of the comedians goals in LA are to make it which wasn’t why i was there I just wanted to get better fast and to learn as much as I could. So when i do go back there to make it if i ever do i will be a beast.

So after a week I went to Sacramento and stayed at a beautiful Hostel the only one there. The gigs I did were really fun the weed was great and i started to really get to writing and understanding the place, I cant wait to go back there and catch up with some of the local comedians who i made friends with and to do some bigger gigs to.

The next place was San Francisco I didn’t like it much I had a weird feeling when i got there It was so expensive but the gigs went well and I started to get a few minutes of material together.

Then i went back to LA for a few days I decided to get up at the comedy store during the Kill Tony show and ate a big one although It was a o1 minute spot. The jokes that worked in the other cities had no reference in LA, I learnt there that what is funny in one city or state might no work in another. The interview part went well comics were coming up after the show saying i did well the most important thing is the interview part, not in my mind i want my material to work. After that show I went to room in Hollywood that a mate Alex runs and had an ok set there running new stuff. It was very Urban which was cool I want to do those rooms and latino rooms because it is just so different from what i would get back home and the people are pretty cool.

The Vegas I didnt like the place that much just gambling non stop I’m not really into that.

The Queen Creek Arizona to hang with my homie’s Deni and Jackie who I met just before I left at the Arnold Classic which is a bodybuilding comp held in Melbourne.

I just chilled out there for a couple of weeks and hung out with Deni and her hubby John who was really cool. I was a bit messed in the head by this stage I was smoking way too much weed and had been for a year, I found that traveling on my own is great but also dangerous for me as I get stuck in my own head and I can get really depressed. Which sucked because they weren’t getting the best version of me to hang out with.

But I really had a great time just sitting and chatting with Deni about life and telling stories, she is just a really great human to the core.

Then I went to Denver, I got goosebumps walking down the street it had a great vibe I had a really good feeling about this place.The gigs I did there went well a few I went nuts and let loose and my style and material was working really well with them. The weed was great too and cheap plus the altitude and i got really high!!!

I was there a few weeks then Headed back to LA then home. I got what I wanted from the US, I got better I also saw what I have to do and also where I am at in the comedy scene If I let loose In a long set I can more than hold my own and excel.

Since I got back I have quit weed and been having some great shows the spots at The Comics Lounge have been crazy I have smashed and feel like I am bringing it all together.

The most important thing I have taken away from this is always be as honest with yourself as you can be. I see so many acts come off stage saying they just smashed or they think they are on a level that they are not. If you suck or a joke sucks and you don’t acknowledge it, You wont fix it or work harder to get better.

I just want to be the best I can be and I know that can be great.

I will write a blog tomorrow about the country gigs I have been doing.

Thanks for reading if anyone did read this.

Flemo