I don't do stand up. I write sketches, jokes and send them on their merry way to various shows but I don't get that instant feedback of the comic, putting his or her reputation, and indeed life, on the line in front of a group of expectant strangers. Sometimes I wish I had the balls to do it myself but then I think about hecklers and unresponsive crowds and think better of it. Several people I follow on Twitter do have the balls so I asked around, 'who's ever had a tough crowd?'
The first witty response was from @melodymetcalf with "@marcpaterson Does my mother in law count?"
I lol'd her back and she agreed to message me an anecdote:
Melody Metcalf: "Hello! So, was at a stand up competition. Terrible crowd. V hostile. Seemed humourless (wtf?) All other acts had lots of support I didn't. Gave them my best. Polite titters from crowd. Told a tale about marriage. Ended with joke then said 'clearly, marriage is not for everyone...' (usually laughter. Not tonight). I then said... 'as is, this comedy competition...' Not for everyone. It was just awful They were just there for their friends.
"Very normal at a comp but this was terrifying. Anyway, despite feeling 2 inches tall on stage I WON! Did not feel that coming at all. (Is this the kind of thing you want?) xx"
Yes it was. Another Tweetbuddy, Carl Buck, aka @therandombloke, a magician and performer, got in touch via email:
CARL: "Yes I've had the odd 'gig from hell'.
Last year I was booked to perform at a Christmas party at a 'country club' and had visions of gravel driveways and a champagne drinks reception. When I pulled up outside a working men's club with barbed wire on the roof and noticed that I was the only person without a tattooed face, I realised I was going to be in for a long couple of hours, and I also probably didn't need to be wearing a tie.
It was a work do and the bosses had made the ingenious decision to have a joint party with everyone, from the directors and admin staff to the forklift drivers.
All alcohol was free, all night, and within the first hour there had been two punch ups, a glass thrown at a waiter, and the police had been called due to someone's drunken, estranged husband turning up. The atmosphere was volatile to say the least and I was walking around in a chalk stripe suit asking people to pick a card.
One guy, who was barely able to stand, shouted, 'oi, Magic Boy. What number am I thinking of?' I obviously didn't have a clue, so he threw a peanut at me then fell off of his chair.
I also found out that during the week leading up to the 'party' they'd all been put down to a three day working week, and one of the lads had run off with another lad's wife.
All in all a very, very long two hours, but at the end of it the director of the company, who looked like he should have been working on the Waltzers, not managing a business, thanked me for turning up, paid me then told his son to 'get the f&*king beers in'.