'I was booed by 40 Postman Pats' | John Hastings recalls his most memorable gigs

'I was booed by 40 Postman Pats'

John Hastings recalls his most memorable gigs

First gig

I was a suited-and-bloated, nervous, 20-year-old with a theatre degree in my back pocket. I walked into the then smokey Comedy Works in Montreal on Bishop Street, which was a classic 80s comedy club with cocaine in the wall and old rummies at the outside bar.

I got on stage and talked about vomit and Queen Elizabeth. It went well. It went so well that I took a cab home because I thought I had found a career.

Best gig

Last gig of Edinburgh 2018. I was in the cellar or sweat box or sauna office with undetermined smell at the Pleasance, I cannot remember what the room was called. We oversold the room and people were sitting on the floor. It was sweaty and dangerous in that not-actually-dangerous way.  It felt like I had accomplished something. What I don’t know. BUT something none the less. 

Worst gig

I did a show at the Birmingham Highlight and they booed me for 20 minutes of a 20 minute set.  It was a hen do of 40 women dressed as Postman Pat or possibly they were the women's auxiliary of a Midlands fascist group and word of a Canadian taking a British person's job sent them into booing action.

I had to snatch my cheque from the club manager's hand as she was clearly gonna try to not pay me because I had done the absolute opposite of making people laugh. I cried from the doorway of the club until I got back to where I was staying in London. Silver lining nobody asked to see my train ticket as I had left it in my wallet which I had left in the club in Birmingham. A real ‘highlight’.

Most unusual location

I have done a load of shows on patios in California and one was held on a patio while a huge amount of rats fought. They moved the microphone so the audience could watch the rats and the comedy.

I also have performed in a family’s dining room for a grandmother’s 90th birthday. They wanted Russell Peters but settled for a Canadian.

The grandmother yelled at me for swearing and I told her to talk to her grandaughter. I then stormed out and then had to return to get the money. 

Strangest audience member

I briefly had a stalker who would go to open mic shows and ask the comedians where I was during their sets.

She was a married woman who brought another boyfriend to the shows which must have been a confusing situation for him.

I never found out about this as it was happening. It was only years later when one promoter told me and I asked around. Only in England would something that strange happen and nobody shares it. 

John Hastings I Hate About You - Edinburgh Fringe 2019 at Chortle.co.uk">John Hastings: 10 John Hastings I Hate About You is at Monkey Barrel at 21:30.

Published: 2 Aug 2019

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