By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
I think that’s a nightmare that I’ve had at some point.
Yeah, it’s nightmare which I can’t even begin to consider. It’s like the astronauts on the pad while shit happens within five seconds, which did happen on Apollo 12. They got hit by lightning.
Has it ever happened to you, where after five minutes you’re like, “What the fuck am I doing here?”
In an early day. I make the analogy, actually, something everyone can link to, would be car driving. Everyone drives. Even the stupidest people at school — we never say, “Oh, that guy is so stupid. Never drive a car.” Everyone drives a car. It’s really weird. It’s amazing what humans can do, considering that the stupidest people in the world can get in a car. And cars are really tricky. But anyway, when we drive a car, none of us think we’re going to hit anyone, or hit any obstacles or trees or anything. We just don’t consider it. If you did, you wouldn’t get in. Some people do have a problem with driving and it’s because they’re considering those things or what they would do. But you’ve got to get into a car and think, “It will be fine.” Because it’s a big fucking tank, and it’s very unforgiving, and it hits living things, you know. And if it hits a tree, the tree tends to be unforgiving. But we don’t consider that.
So that’s what I do. But there was one gig way back, when I was just ... you get a 20-minute set in London. That’s what you have to do. And then some of us when we started getting up and playing the end of the sets, we’d get an hour up there or more. So we were trying to have the chance of doing a double set. If you had enough glue going with you, if you had enough reviews going “This guy’s funny,” and you bring enough people, or encourage enough people to get there, you could persuade the owners of the club and say, “Give me a double set. I want to do a double set.” So you’d get these extended sets, about 40 minutes. And I went on to do one of these — I think it was a free one, but anyway — and I started off and I got them, and then I lost them. Then I got them back. And I probably ended up with a 1-0 win. It was like, I was 2-0 ahead, and then I went down to about 3-2 against, and then I got them back. Maybe I won 4-3 in the end. But in the middle bit of it, I was floundering. And the people, I could see, psychologically they were going, “We thought you were funny but you’re actually useless.” They pulled out mentally from the gig and they weren’t even going to listen to what I was saying because they’d invested with me and they were sort of angry in their heads. And then I had to really stay tight and put the jokes together perfectly so that I could get little bits of laughter back so I could build it back up, so it’s, “Oh no, oh no, he can do it. It’s just that something went weird in the middle of it.” And in the end, I got them back to a gig that I sort of won. And that was the last time I remember. It was a horrendous thing. There was one other gig I did where I just lost it. I didn’t get it from the beginning. That was a television warm-up gig. I think that was the biggest embarrassment ever.
Considering you’ve probably performed hundreds or thousands of times, two losses, that’s pretty impressive.
Well, there’s more losses but those are the ones that are most sort of concrete. The Comedy Store in London, I lost many times there before I won. But it’s like when you started driving the car. In your car-driving career — mine, anyone else’s — there were probably lots of dings or bumps, or when your bunny’s hopping along into the street, or when you pulled out in the middle of a busy road and you stalled in the middle of it and everyone was looking at you or honking. We’ve got a whole bunch of those. We tend to write those out of our brains, because it’s not useful to hang onto that memory stuff.
I still imagine that time where my life changes within like 30 seconds and I hit somebody. And then it’s done, my life is over and it’s my fault and I’m in jail or something.