This evening, I saw a show that was genuinely dreadful. Awful. Catastrophically, diabolically, overwhelmingly shit.
I sat in the audience, getting increasingly bored, frustrated and finally angry as the laziest comedy ever written unfolded before me, one wasting-my-life-just-by-being-here sketch after another. The writer-performers wouldn’t know a joke if it slapped them square in the balls. Which is precisely where they should be slapped.
The thing is – this was a well-reviewed, very successful show. And I seemed to be the only person in the room who disliked it this strongly. Sure, not everyone loved it. Chatting to them afterwards, some had a few criticisms: that it was a little lowbrow, perhaps a little amateur. But, still, you know, fun in its way. (It was not. It was horribly bad.)
Being alone in my contempt for the show has made me wonder – has this ever happened to me? So far as the performers were concerned, tonight went very well – full of loud laughter from beginning to end – but in the audience was one furious bloke, hating it all. Have I ever walked away from a successful gig and left behind an audience member fuming at my very existence?
I’m not sure. No one’s to everyone’s taste, of course, so even at a good gig there’ll be a few happy to see me say thank you and gooodnight, eager for the next act. That’s just indifference.
But I’d be very surprised if I’d prompted any outright loathing – if only because, to be as gob-smackingly crap as the show I saw tonight, you really need to put in some special, dedicated work.
These guys made a real effort.