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I Beat the Frog: tomorrow I take Manhattan

Alastair McCall completes his journey of self-revelation and gets in touch with himself at the Frog and Bucket

Published on June 1st 2009.


I Beat the Frog: tomorrow I take Manhattan

I’d love to able to tell you I wasn’t nervous. I’d love to be able to say that I kept it cool and didn’t let the pressure get to me.

Truth is I was bricking it. Walking through the door of the Frog & Bucket, I’d noticed the set list pinned to the wall. There, in all its glory was my name, right at the bottom. Yes that’s right, right at the bottom, with nine names above it…..NINE!

So I took my seat, got a beer and settled in to watch nine other people try for their five minutes of fame before me.

Now, I’m not going to name names because that would be unfair, but some of the acts were very good, others not so good. Some deserved to Beat the Frog and didn’t, then there were some who deserved to be booted offstage a good while before they actually were. Ultimately this night comes down to the opinions of the three people with the cards. In fact there was an impromptu steward’s enquiry when one chap was (rather harshly) given his marching orders early.

The burning question, of course, was whether those three lovely people would like my routine or unceremoniously dump me on my rear within the first two minutes.

I’d taken the professionals’ advice and completely changed the routine from my first gig at the comedy balloon. Whilst I was pretty sure this new material was stronger, the downside was that I’d had no opportunity to road test it before the big competition. The only practice I’d had was in front of the mirror on my own and the in-laws on a family weekend in the Cotswolds.

I’d gone for a routine based around “Money saving expert” Martyn Lewis. This is a man who, whilst the rest of the country is battening down until the recession storm has subsided, is having his day in the sun. A smug, supercilious little weasel who, between holidaying in the Algarve with his beautiful (and totally out of his league) girlfriend, sits on the GMTV sofa and talks to me like I’m a five year old about how it’s bad to have fifteen credit cards.

Anyway, I took to the stage and began my ranting and raving, totally unsure whether I’d still be onstage in five minutes time. After a couple of minutes I saw the first card go up, a bit like when Simon Cowell buzzes the ten year old kid on Britain’s Got Talent, I felt, hurt, angry, I thought it was going so well….. oh shit there’s another two judges.

Well readers, I love those two judges whoever they may be. By keeping their cards firmly in their laps, they helped me achieve a goal. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, I Beat The Frog!

Halfway through my bit about turning the oven off for the last few minutes of cooking time to save money, Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus struck up. I threw my arms in the air like an excited child and stormed off the stage being congratulated and patted on the back by complete strangers, good lord it felt good.

Alas I didn’t win on the night, after the clap off between the four of us that Beat the Frog, that accolade went to Tom Tolson. Tolson was very good, he tore the roof off the place during his set. However, my personal victory felt great and made me absolutely determined to get back up there. That title will be mine……

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