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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:35 am 
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Having just started to perform stand-up ( 5 gigs ) I have seen lots of different styles of compere.
I'd like to know in other peoples opinion who is good and who should I make an effort to watch ?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 3:40 am 
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Hello! Welcome to the wierd and wonderful world of stand-up! I'm pretty new, too- but unlike most others, I went straight into compering, as opposed to doing open spots. I run a club of my own, and eventully want to concentrate on the promotions side, rather than the performing.
But Comperes i recommend you to watch are:
Daniel Kitson
Martin Davis
Micky Flanagan
I could list a few more, obviously, but it's late, i'm tired- and these are the three that spring to mind. These guys I've known for years- Micky doesn't MC that often- but when he does it's a treat- he doesn't have any gimicks, or owt. He's just completely in control,has an amiable persona and a lot of skill. Martin is absolutely BONKERS! he's the more erm...."Energetic" of MC's. And Kitson- well....I don't need to tell you why this guy's a star. Just don't let him near any young female friends you might have with you! chaos could well ensue.....he he!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 9:20 am 
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I think the only specification is that the compere should be the link between the audience and the acts.

Debating point: Is Kitson a good compere if he steals the show from the acts?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 10:03 am 
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I've compered for a good few years at uni gigs. A good compere should never forget the names of the acts, because that's painful for all involved (it was only once, a long time ago, honest). A good compere should get everyone settled but warm - get everyone back from the bar, sitting down, looking at the stage. A good compere should make everyone love the acts before they come on so they don't have to struggle uphill from the start. A good compere should not steal the show - if anything people should say "those acts were great. The person introducing them was alright as well". It's not about ego, being the compere. If you have a regular compere slot it's as much about building a rapport with the audience and using that to try out (and to force you to write) new material. A good compere should get the audience ready for what they're about to see - get them used to the idea of participation (chatting to them, doing the practise cheer, whatever your style is) but also let them know that it's time to stop chatting.
Some of the best advice I ever got for being a good compere is:
1. Don't name the act until they're about to come on. People might be less inclined to listen to the first act if they're really there for the headliner - they may miss out.
2. If in doubt, write the names of the acts on your hand. No shame in that and it looks a damn sight better than going "er... um... and now some bloke..."
3. Thank the people who matter at the end of the night. That is, in order of whose arse you should be kissing (my opion), the bar staff (free drinks...), the venue (more gigs...), the other acts (be nice on the way up etc etc), and the audience (so they remember who you are).
4. Mention the name of the venue several times. "Hello, welcome to ....." etc. That way, people subconciously have the name of the venue etched into their brain.
5. If you have any little quirks etc either joke about them yourself or don't worry if the act you bring on does.
6. NEVER BACK DOWN, NEVER APOLOGISE. But that goes for all comedy.
7. Enjoy yourself and get gigs doing sets every now and then otherwise you'll get a reputation as a compere and that's the only gig you'll ever get - compere - which is OK, but it's nice to just go on once a night from time to time.
8. Don't expect recognition for it; you'll always, in the eyes of the punters, be the one who went on between the acts. Don't know why, it's just the way it is.
9. Find out how acts want to be introduced. They may have a specific opener, they may want you to avoid certain aspects of appearance etc which may feed you great lines, but avoid the temptation - you could well be ruining the first joke of their act. Don't be tempted to follow an act by saying they were crap even if they were. You'll get a kick in the knackers. Repeat their name, say "weren't they great", get another cheer to fill time, move on.
10. Open spots - when you introduce them, don't say they're open spots, or the crowd just think "oh, s/he's new, this'll be crap - I'm off to the bar" (this advice comes courtesy of Gary Delany amongst others). They're "a good friend" of yours, you "love them" and think they're "fantastic - and you lot will too!" or something along those lines, even if you've never met them. Open spots may need an extra friendly crowd because they'll be nervous, so work extra hard for them. The need a good intro as well because no-one will have heard of them. Repeat the name when they finish. You'd want a compere to do the same for you. Maybe mention that they have to rush off or something so they're only doing a short set, and that's a good reason for everyone to keep quiet and not heckle. And never back down; never apologise. Even if they were poo.

So that's my advice. I warn you; I'm not the best compere ever. I still have a lot to learn, so follow that advice (which was given to me by far better comedians) if you want or ignore me completely.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:36 am 
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Don't forget to use some sort of dehydrated instant snack meal. A compere without one is old, ugly and smelly.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 12:14 pm 
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don't use other people's old snack meal techniques - you could come unstuck

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 12:20 pm 
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Watch John Ryan - best compere in the land

And Kevin McCarron for a really nice technique he uses to weave the audiences jobs etc. together to involve them.

And Jarred Xmas - for how to get energy into a duff room.

And Ed Hill - for how to come across as the nicest man ever.

And Huw Thomas - for how to get the audience so warmed up that you don't mind going on first.

Watch me - for how not do it.

And watch PJ, just watch him, carefully, at all times.
:)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 12:23 pm 
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what about me gary?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 12:32 pm 
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Nothing comperes to you, DC.


Actually mate, I dont think I've ever seen you compere to be honest.

But I have seen Dave Ward and he's great. Forgot to mention him and he's a mate so I have to. But he is a fine compere mate or no.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:26 pm 
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That's it, no really. I am the best compere and I have a newspaper clipping to prove it. A man can only be modest for so long.

As for the kitson question. Daniel is a brilliantly funny comiedian but a compere should never be the star of the show. I've compered nights where the audience has asked me to encore. On these nights I feel I've done something wrong. I'm not saying you have to be shit, far from it but compering is about more than satisfying your ego.

Andy Fox's Rules of compering.
(I reserve the right to continually amend or change my mind on these points).

1. Check your ego in at the door.
2. Take control of the room. Spot potential trouble or fun before the show starts. Check with the promoter what they know about that evenings audience.
3. As compere test the water to see where the audience are at when the show begins (some audiences don't want to join in or be talked to so you may have to segue into material).
4. Find out who is in the audience (this can benefit the acts and saves them set up time).
5. If acts are late a good compere will explain to them anything of interest that has happened in the room (i.e. John on the front row is the comedy puppy for the evening).
6. Unless it's the fault of the audience if a comic goes tits up you are on the side of the audience. If a comic goes tits up and it is the fault of someone in the audience you are on the side of the act and the rest of the audience.
7. Do not be afraid to stop being funny and lay down the law if that is what is necessary.

There's lots more but I just realised how much I'm getting paid to tell you this.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:28 pm 
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Definately agree on John Ryan and Jarred Christmas, also Alun Cochran and Alfie Joey. John and Alfie have a lot of ideas of the art of compering which I'm sure they would share with you if you bought them a drink.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:33 pm 
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Good advice from Fat Bear.

Couple of things though: For fuck's sake if you can't remember the names of 4 people, do some kind of memory course.

Also - never lie to the audience. This doesn't mean following an act who's died and saying 'well they sucked', can mean going on and saying 'oh well you win some, you lose some' to pretend that someone who's had a stinker did really well is patronising and the audience won't trust you any more.

Why would they believe the next act is 'fantastic' when you've just said the act who bombed was?

Excellent advice from Mr Fox as well which just appeared as I was typing this.

On a couple of occasions I've had 'good' compering gigs and punters have said to me after - "I really enjoyed tonight, and, hey you were quite good as well - ever thought about becoming a comedian?"

I guess it's because for most people the compere is, I dunno, just the chairman of the rugby club or equivalent.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 2:11 pm 
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Not to mention one of our resident lurkers, Toby Foster. A cracking compere.

And the amazing Agraman. For those who don't know him, for 12 years he has run the Buzz club in Chorlton, Manchester. It's now traditional for him to come on stage, do 3 or 4 groanworthy puns, then say "Shall I get an act on, or do you want more?" And the first act gets under way pretty soon after that.

"They call me wobbly jelly, because I've got a dodgy set"

Sounds like a crap compere? Not a chance. At the recent World Record gig, each one of Agraman's deadly puns got cheered to the rafters by the other comics. The man's a star, and runs one of the best clubs around.

There is some bloody good advice on this thread, and I won't contradict any of it. But there are exceptions to every rule.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 2:12 pm 
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I'd add to Gary Delaney's list:

Pat Monahan for likeability and getting the whole of the room involved

Greg O'Connell for more likeability and a quick wit for ad-libs

Andy Fox for his total headmaster-like control over a small room.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2001 2:13 pm 
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On the london new act circuit I really like Rufus Hound at the Crane. He gets the audience all loved up and he is very funny. A bit of advice what not to do...

1) never introduce a female act as "next up we have some girly comedy" or if they are young "student comedy" - especially if you don't know what the act is going to be like.

2) in small audience situations DO NOT suggest getting into groups of two audience members and a comic and workshopping ideas!!

see if you can guess who might have done that.

and does anyone else hate when comperes say "please welcome your compere tonight (insert appropriate name) then jump off stage and then back on again!! how tired is that discuss...


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