© Andy Hollingworth

'The look on their faces still haunts me'

Andrew Ryan's most memorable gigs

Worst gig

I got booked to do a gig in Liverpool. It was a 30th birthday party. There would be an MC doing 10 minutes then me doing 20 minutes. As I walked up the stairs the music was blaring, waiters were all topless men with six packs, chocolate fountains, and champagne everywhere. I thought the party must be in the other room, thinking this was another event.

When I arrived I was brought to the room where the comedy was on. No seats, a small stage. I asked how it was going to work and the bloke said: ‘Oh they will all come in and stand and listen.’

The walls were pumping from the loud music; I quickly thought: This is a shambles. As the organiser went off to get people into the room about 20 people turned up. The host did about three minutes then brought me on.

I lasted seven minutes.

I’ve never done a gig before which I actually felt scared. These people were dragged from a party to listen to me. I was five minutes in and hadn’t got one laugh. The look on their faces still haunts me.

A bloke walked up on stage and just squared up to me. I put the mic down and walked off. I asked on a number of occasions to be paid, but nobody was listening. I then stood at the side of the bar watching the boyfriend propose to the girl whose 30th birthday it was.

It was then I noticed the red fire alarm box on the wall. I thought: ‘If I’m not getting paid then no one is getting married.’ I contemplated smashing it and then doing a runner. I didn’t have the balls to do it.

It wasn’t their fault. I should not have been booked.

I got paid - eventually. I still think about the couple. Did they get married and did they have a comic at their wedding?

Least welcome post-show comment

‘Why do you pretend to be Irish on stage?’: Burnley, 2014

Best heckler

I was doing a show in Ireland and my parents were in the audience. It was the first time my mum and dad had been to stand-up. The gig was going very well then when I started talking about my mum on stage.

Just after I delivered the punchline my dad heckled me: ‘That didn’t happen, your Mum never said that.’ The audience didn’t know my parents were in. I had to explain I wouldn’t be doing a comeback as the heckler was my dad and I needed a lift home. The rest of the gig was me asking my dad to review me while I was on stage.

Most exotic gig

I went to Dubai to do an outside gig. 200 seats in a five-star hotel complex; poolside bars, near the beech, 30C heat. We turned up. But no audience did. An hour later we were back in the hotel. The place looked amazing. We flew for six hours to get drunk in a hotel. It was a fantastic night.

Worst journey to a gig

Myself and a couple of acts were going to Derby for a gig. We set off from Manchester it was pissing rain and the traffic was chaotic. When we got about 30 minutes away from the gig the driver got confused with the country roads and the sat nav and took a corner too late.

We ended up driving up a bank and hit a roadside sign (nobody was injured).

After about 20 minutes we decided to continue to the gig with the bumper hanging off and the steering wheel not fully turning left. Somehow we made it.

After the gig we said ‘let’s risk driving back’. Instead of hitting the country roads we drive up to Leeds on the motorway and then turned left (Just about) on the M62. I found out afterwards the that the driver had to pay £800 to get the car repaired. The most expensive open spot I’ve ever heard off.

Andrew Ryan: Ruined is on at Assembly George Square at 19:50.

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Published: 18 Aug 2016

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