This week, our aspiring arena acts sauntered into Streetly comprehensive school, to spend the day getting to know the kids (by pitching competing lesson plans, and then running the classes), before dropping some comedy on their impressionable young minds in the evening. Having watched the show, I now understand what the narrator meant last week when he said that this age group would be a “tough crowd”, because this was easily the most painful episode so far, with several contenders flailing and floundering, while failing to connect with their audience. Heck, veteran comic Rudi threw in the towel and cut his set short, striding off the stage and grumbling about “dying”, much to the consternation and confusion of his colleagues!
Even the seemingly unflappable Ellie had a bit of a wobble at the start of her set, talking down to the yoofs like a bad parody of a trying-too-hard-to-be-cool substitute teacher. She seemed to pull it together towards the end though, and escaped with her reputation intact… but the same can’t be said for Tiff, I’m afraid. She was already on a bit of a slump, after the “World War Two Smackdown” history lesson she dreamed up with Dan failed to attract more than a handful of punters… at least one of whom only returned after the lunch break, because she felt sorry for the pair of them. Bless. By Tiff’s own admission she “tanked” on stage too… at one point the stony silence was so deafening, she tried to explain the joke she’d just told, in the hope of inspiring some belated laughs. Ouch. If I may be so bold, the problem wasn’t that her material was bad, per se, it was just inappropriate for that particular audience. For instance, I think her line about the school smelling of “chips and broken dreams” was a great one… very poetic… but it’s a bit too bleak and existential for a roomful of fresh-faced younglings to laugh at, since their dreams are still largely intact, or just beginning to blossom! It was a good joke… but the wrong place, and the wrong time.
I got a bit nervous when she was called to see the judges at the end of the show, but thankfully she wasn’t in the bottom two this week… they just wanted to tell her to buck up her ideas, and do better next week. Phew!