Last summer I graduated from Cambridge with a useless social science degree and 100 gigs’ worth of stand-up experience. On 21 April I return to Cambridge to perform a preview of my Edinburgh show ‘The 007 Conspiracy’. I’m excited, as it’s a chance to see whether I made any sort of impact during my time here. As I write this I’ve sold 13 tickets.
That sounds bad, but 13 keen, attentive and non-malicious audience members is something London circuit comics can only dream of. To give you an idea of what the open-mic circuit is like, having floundered on it for some months: an audience member recently called me a twat at a cancer charity gig. Now, if I’d had the nous to point out that it was indeed a cancer charity gig I would have probably won the exchange, but instead I sort of just mumbled and moved on, which I guess is a bit of a twat-move really. To be fair to the circuit, though, that gig was in Kingston upon Thames, where heckling new acts at cancer charity gigs is one of the more moral past-times.
I was attempting a piece of pro-Labour satire which included the sentence ‘Jeremy Corbyn enters on a horse-drawn paedophile and calls war veterans pussies’. Unfortunately, that doesn’t count for satire in Kingston because it’s what they think actually happens. They must have assumed I was a good, honest Tory, but with no jokes. Just facts. A twat with facts.
Is performing with Footlights good preparation for comedy in the real world? Only in the same way playing Call of Duty is good preparation for fighting a war in the Middle-East. If you die on stage in Cambridge you can kind of just respawn, usually in the ADC bar, and surrounded by sycophants. If you hear about someone dying on stage in London you have to ask what pub it was in to know if the death was figurative or literal. As you can imagine, I’m looking forward to performing to drunk students again. The show’s work-in-progress, but so are their lives, so I hope they’ll just accept it. If you’d like to be one of these drunk students, that would make me very happy.
The show is a surreal character comedy, serving as a bloated ego-trip for me. Unless someone heckles, obviously, in which case I’ll make it all for charity just so I’ve got a decent put-down.
‘Adrian Gray: The 007 Conspiracy’ is at the ADC Theatre, Thursday 21st April, 11pm.