The upside to being in the second half is that those audience members who have stayed after the break - only about 80%, usually - know what they're getting in for and have decided to stay, so they're probably quite keen to laugh.
There were about forty people remaining in the second half after a fairly lacklustre first half, so that was pretty good considering. And although the MC was funnier in his introductory bit in the second half, which put the pressure on me a bit, it did warm up the crowd for me so that was good.
The MC formula seems to be to meet and greet the audience in the first half, then tell your own story in the second half and comment on the individual comedians along the way.
The meet and greet seems the hardest part, as they've got to ask direct questions of the audience who often don't want to go public with their life stories - and fair enough. Although when it's done well, as I've seen it done a few times now, it's very effective, as the audience gets carried along as if they are part of the show and everyone has a rip roaring good time.
But if it's not done well, as it was not on this night, the 'How long have you been together?' standard question of couples gets a bit awkward when asked of those who are clearly not ready to 'come out' as couples. It seems quite a lot of not-quite-couples go to comedy. Perhaps that makes sense.
Anyway, we got there in the end and my set went pretty well. I think it was a good spot for me all said and done. I started with a joke about looking fat standing next to the mic stand, which was new and got a good laugh. Hopefully it's not pinched.
I didn't get as many laughs as when I performed that set (different beginning and ending) as my first ever stand-up back in October, but the audience was very different that time and had been well primed by the veteran pro Brendhan Lovegrove. Still, it went well enough and the applause kept going well after I had walked off, which is a good sign (unless they were happy to see me go).
The others in the second half were generally funnier than in the first half and the last guy was really very funny and probably the funniest on the night, although his main joke was that he was 18, which I didn't find all that funny. I should tell them my age, now that would be funny.
But I think I was second funniest on the night and definitely the funniest 50-year-old, so there's that. Hopefully the guy choosing the semifinalists is looking for age range.