Last week, I touched on some of the wonderful times I had travelling up and down the country with my stand up act.
The were some testing times in some clubs and you would drive home questioning your own ability standing on stage for one hour making people laugh.
If comics tell you they have never died on stage, don’t believe them.
Believe it or not a man came up to me once with a tape measure and pretended to measure me…
I won’t repeat the language he used.
The only real way you can get through it, is to remember you’ve been doing it for years and getting paid well – so maybe it’s the audience, and not you.
I hasten to add I didn’t die a lot, but there are thousands of things that contribute to a bad night.
One of my first experiences was Stanley Working Men's club, Durham.
The North East and Scotland had a reputation of being difficult for many reasons.
I promise you this is exactly what happened that night. I walked on stage, said good evening and they shouted “Get him off he’s crap”
I hadn’t even told a gag.
I was bewildered and wouldn’t move, which made it worse.
I came off and my clothes had been put outside my dressing room, sorry, store cupboard.
I can’t tell you how upset I was.
I even went to the police station and told them what had happened, such was my naivety.
The sergeant at the desk said: “Well you must have been crap.”
I never did get paid for that gig.
Then there was Northern Ireland – the Abercorn Cabaret Bar in Belfast, it was bombed by the IRA in 1972.
The night I worked there, after going through several checkpoints and entering the ring of steel I actually had a really great gig.
The audience loved me, the problem was afterwards.
I was staying at the Royal Avenue Hotel, which had also been bombed.
Picture this, I went to my room, opened my door and sitting on my bed was a rather large man in a black coat, with his hand in his inside pocket.
My life flashed before my eyes.
He said in a quiet voice “I believe you’ve been talking to the soldiers.”
I thought he was going to pull a gun out of his pocket.
I collapsed to the floor, to which he said laughing, “Peter I’m the doorman of the club, it’s a joke.”
I changed my pants, and got the next plane home.
Another club I worked at in the North East, the name long forgotten, was hysterical.
The concert secretary announced me from his box. I ran on the stage to a packed house.
There was no microphone.
I shouted, “Haven’t you got a mic?” He answered: “tough.”
I shouted my act for an hour and couldn’t do the rest of the week as I’d lost my voice.
Here’s a great one from my early days.
I was with an agent years ago, who I got rid of very quickly (eventually finishing up with Mike Hughes, who was a star maker, but that’s another story).
This first agent had sent me to a brand new club in Malta for a week’s engagement. I was so excited.
I got there to find a piece of wasteland, the club was actually being built the following year.
Someone had paid for my flight, but I got no wages.
I never got to the bottom of that story, but I had a nice week’s holiday … at my own expense.