25 acts, and a big gong. King Gong at Manchester’s Comedy Store in Deansgate. If you survive the full 5 minute slot, you get to come back to do a final minute at the end of the show, then the winner gets £50 and an open slot at the club.

Here’s the stage before anyone’s on it:

I got in before the rest of the audience so I could soundcheck my uke, and snuck a snap. Then, when I’d told him what my project was, the very friendly sound engineer went and got me a free book on the history of the Comedy Store. ‘It was commissioned by the owner,’ he said, ‘so it’s a bit shit, but hey. Did you know it was this night that started the Comedy Store in the first place?’ I did not.

Here’s how I felt afterwards:

I lasted 2 mins 40 secs, if you must know. That was above the night average, but some distance from being good. I should have ditched the uke and gone for straight stand-up, focusing on simple punchliney stuff and animated character pieces. Having said that, by the time I was on stage I was so high on adrenalin I expect I would’ve remembered none of it. Weirdest of all, the thing I found most off-putting was when the audience laughed at my first line. There were at least 120 of them, so it was quite a noise. It made me feel responsible for them.

Ah well. My dreams of being instantly brilliant at stand-up are not to be. The contrast from the familial warmth of Glasgow to the bearpit atmosphere of this gig was huge! Still, if I’m honest, it was fun. Off to lick my wounds, and see if I’m able to put aside the petty, egotistical baby part of me, and try to learn from my mistakes for the next gig. In other news, I miss people. You know who you are.

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