'I never bomb...but the audience sometimes do' | Adam Riches on his Unforgettable Five gigs

'I never bomb...but the audience sometimes do'

Adam Riches on his Unforgettable Five gigs

Interactive character comedian Adam Riches is about to perform two London runs and a UK tour of three different shows. As he perpares for this busy period he takes time to recall his most memorable shows...

First gig

I think that would be at the Battersea Arts Centre on a Scratch Night. Generally these evenings are meant for fledgling theatre ideas, where the audience are empowered to write their thoughts on each act and hand them in or (as happened in my case) tell them directly to their face afterwards.

I'm only 99 per cent sure I was the only person doing an out-and-out comedy character that night but I'm 100 per cent sure I was the only person doing a faux lecture on DVD piracy whilst simultaneously skulling Yakult, that ended with me beating the living hell out of (what they didn't realise) was a stooge. I still have the feedback sheets. I still ignore their advice even now.

Best gig

The last one I did. Always.

I share a monthly show with Dan Cook, Ben Target, Stevie Martin and John Kearns called 'The Night of Nights' and Dan has a theory that psychologically you're only as good as your last gig. If you bomb, you feel cack. If you fly, you feel great.

I disagree with this. Vehemently.

I never bomb. The audience do.

I'm on fire every single time I go out there but sometimes, VERY RARELY, the audience just aren't on it at all. Their laughs are weak, their silences unoriginal and I really have no idea why they keep going with that bit where they take out their phones and scroll. So I'm not going to take the heat for what is clearly their bullshit. I'm always great.

Worst gig

The last one I did. I was awful.

Gig that changed my life

I think this would have to be a spot I did on one of Harry Deansway's nights in Camden years ago. Harry was always great about letting the more leftfield acts have their moment in the sun and along with James Wren who ran Lowdown at the Albany, was the first to actually ask me to perform.

But Harry's stands out as it was the first gig where I was actually going to be paid. I remember that feeling like a big hurdle to have overcome, for this to be something I could actually earn from. It gave me a huge amount of confidence even though it was far from a huge amount of money!

Best heckler

That would be my Grandad when he came to see me perform Dumb Waiter at the Fringe. The play was set in a grubby basement with crap everywhere and I started the show lying down on a bed fast asleep.

Lights up and I hear this familiar gruff Glaswegian accent bark 'Look at the state of that boy's room. Adam. ADAM! Pick up your stuff! PICK UP YOUR STUFF!'.

My mum tried to quieten him down and remind him it wasn't real, to which he replied 'He's got to learn, Shelagh, the boy's got to learn.' I was 22. And he was right.

 Adam Riches is performing The Guy Who… at Drink Shop & Do, London, on Februrary 4 to 7 and 11 to 14; The Lone Dueller at Soho Theatre, from March 11 to 16; then touring The Adam Riches Experience from Apr 25

Published: 30 Jan 2019

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