How To Wow And Win Over A Crowd

It was Monday evening, I’d just had a shower and I started to get ready. I put on my Kung Fu Panda t-shirt, looked in the mirror and said to myself ‘here goes nothing!’

I grabbed my keys and left the house…then I went back to my house and realised it might not be a bad idea to put on some pants too.

Now that my wardrobe malfunction had been rectified I grabbed my comedy material, my pink fluffy handcuffs, (a prop…honest!) and jumped in my BMW. I sped away heading towards the centre of London, a place that still gives me a buzz.

I was driving along the Westway with the window down; I wanted to feel the wind in my hair. It wasn’t easy because I was only doing about 3mph due to all the road works! But when I passed those…I managed to put my foot down and surged to a whopping 7mph towards Edgware.

Through my entire journey I could feel the slight buzzing of the butterflies in my belly; a feeling I’d not had since the first time I did stand-up comedy. It’s a combination of nerves and excitement that makes a powerful cocktail. I feel sorry for people who’ve never had that kind of rush.

I weaved my way past the Ritz and headed towards Piccadilly Circus. I turned off and headed down to St James Sq. I started walking towards Leicester Sq and made a pit stop to grab a soya hot chocolate to ease my nerves.

I arrived at my destination but I was a tad bit early. I decided to take a stroll around the infamous Leicester Sq. and checked out all the sights. I saw the artists showcasing their latest caricatures. I saw ones of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and the most handsome of them all…Prince Charles….just kidding.

So I finished my coco and walked up Oxendon Street and arrived outside The Comedy Store – London’s famous comedy venue where many a comedian have made a name for themselves.

I took a breath, walked in grabbed my ticket for the King Gong – A monthly competition where comedians, new and old can come and showcase their stuff. I was not billed to be on but I was determined to have a go!

I checked with the sound booth whether they were going to ask if anyone in the audience to have a go, and to my relief, they said yes! I was ecstatic but the butterflies doubled. I grabbed the only beverage strong enough to keep me relaxed in such a tense situation…a tap water…with ice! :-O

I was sat next to a man wearing a suit with a leopard skin design…it sort of put my Panda t-shirt to shame…and there was me thinking I was hip!

The King Gong show is the toughest event of it’s kind! I now know how wild west gunslingers used to feel just before showdown! The objective is to survive the stage for 5 minutes and beat the gong. During this time, if the 3 judges give you a red flag, you are finished! The crowd are allowed to heckle and jeer as much as they like.

The first act went on and barely lasted a minute. The second act went on and lasted just over a minute. The third, a minute and so on. They were blitzing through the 20 billed acts faster than I could blink!

Success! We reached the 7th act and he put the hecklers to shame and lasted the full 5 minutes with ease. A finalist at last! He was the homeless guy with the stolen suit…I’ll never forget that routine!

A couple more went on and didn’t get very far. Then the fantastic compare asked if anyone in the audience would like a go? I froze! Before I could escape my ice prison a man from Barbados called Nico went on. He again showed the hecklers a thing or two and lasted the full 5 minutes…they had another finalist!

The interval came and went and then the moment arrived again, they asked if anyone from the audience wanted a go! I leapt out from my seat and ran to the stage. I was strangely given a warm welcome and first few gags were greeted with both cheers and laughter. I could even hear the compare laughing in the other mic…the first time I’d heard him laugh all night!

I carried on my routine…I was into my second minute and for some reason, I’d gotten two red flags…the judges seemed to be the only ones who didn’t like me…and I hadn’t even done my fluffy handcuff gag! I carried on and gave it everything I had. I got my 3rd red flag before the gong.

I’d failed…and yet a bizarre thing happened as I started to walk of stage…the audience started to chant my name. Even the compare seemed shocked a bit surprised I’d gotten 3 reds. They wanted me to finish my set! Of course, that was against the rules and so I didn’t get to finish. But I walked off stage with a big grin on my face knowing that I’d reached the crowd in a way the other comedians had not.

I wasn’t a finalist, and the eventual winner, Melton, didn’t get a name chant! LOL (But he did get an awesome winning cheer!) I survived the longest of the non finalists and even though I didn’t win, I won over and wowed probably most fierce crowd I’ve ever seen…and here’s my secret…

…I showed up.

33 Responses

  1. Amie Sugat says:

    that was AWESOME! your story made my night… and i wasnt even there. and Im chanting your name… haha… you brought laughter the the valley and to me… kung-fu panda shirt and all…

  2. Sandra Lee says:

    I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation! Great story. You have guts!

  3. Christopher Kabamba says:

    You are A.W.E.S.O.M.E!

  4. Mo says:

    I’m chanting AMIT AMIT AMIT, while i drink my cup of tea. Well done mate, that sounds like a magic moment 🙂

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Mo, thank you for chanting too! It really was, probably one of those moments that I won’t ever forget…it was especially poignant for me as I had trouble remembering the other comedians names…yet the audience remembered mine straight away.

  5. Swati says:

    Very proud of you x

  6. Mark R. Williams says:

    Great story, loved it!!

  7. Roman Soluk says:

    Thanks Amit for this nice post! As always, pleasure to read you. Go on doing this!!! 😉

  8. zephaniah says:

    that was the dumbest story i have ever heard……

    i think u made the whole thing up…….

    im right..arent i…

  9. Amit, great write-up – and so funny!

    Well done – and as you said yuo did hte hardest bit – you showed up:-)

  10. skittles234 says:

    Well done, you!! That’s the thing isn’t it – just summoning up enough courage to show up? Who cares whether or not it went well….. The main thing is that you made the effort, tried and ultimately succeeded with flying colours coz the crowd did the sort of cheer that other comedians could only dream of!

    Well done dude I’m proud of u. You’re truly an inspiration to all of us 🙂 x

  1. September 30, 2010

    RT @amitsodha: How To Wow And Win Over A Crowd

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  4. September 30, 2010

    A great story! RT @amitsodha: How To Wow And Win Over A Crowd

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