A guy booked me to perform stand-up just for him and his date | Esther Manito's most memorable gigs

A guy booked me to perform stand-up just for him and his date

Esther Manito's most memorable gigs

Esther Manito kicks off a UK tour of her latest show, Hell Hath No Fury, in Southend on Friday, following a run at the Soho Theatre in London last month. Here she recalls five of her most memorable gigs.

First gig 

My first gig was at the Backyard Bar as part of Camden comedy school. 

I had decided to do the course to try and do something creative while on maternity leave, I hadn't planned to do stand up. I actually had zero intention of ever standing on stage and had to drink two gin and tonics just to have the courage to get up there. 

When I watched the clip back not so long ago, I realised I was talking so slowly (very different to my stage presence now) and then I remembered... oh that will be the gin. Classic mum vibes. 

My husband and sisters came with me to the showcase. My husband was terrified on my behalf and was so nervous that he got absolutely trollied. Now every time I have a big gig he gets so nervous.

When I did Live At The Apollo my friend came into my green room as I was pacing with nerves and said, ‘Poor Neil, he is really anxious out there.’ 

Best gig 

I have had a few gigs which have been so wonderful! When I performed at Dubai Opera House, I felt so happy to be the first female comic to perform there. Then doing Live At The Apollo  was a dream come true and to get such a brilliant reaction I was on a high for days! 

Another gig which really sticks in my mind was the time I got to open for Celeste Barber at The London Palladium and the audience were all women and a lot of mums. It was electric. 

That being said, you will have a fantastic gig and feel amazing, but the next day you're in Lidl with kids having a meltdown and you are humbled VERY quickly. 

Most exotic gig

Well, I have been lucky to perform in some great locations, but I would say the most exotic would be on a cruise round the Bahamas, it was literally paradise! The shows were awesome and I was lucky enough to see incredible performers (including circus performers who were sooooo incredible). The food was exquisite and the scenery was stunning, the audiences were brilliant. 

However, in true Esther style there were a few twists and turns which I did not expect, but you will need to see my show to find out about those

Worst journey to a gig 

Got on a train to a gig in the Midlands and I didn't realise you need to get off at Northampton and change to another train, so I ended up staying on and going BACK to London. So then had to get another train and head back to the Midlands.

Luckily the wonderful Felicity Ward was prepared to MC on my behalf and let me close… but so many trains! 

Every female comic has to deal with being alone on public transport and we all have horror stories, it’s so sad. 

I think one of grossest experiences I had was just after Covid and I was travelling back from a gig on the train and some guys got on after watching the rugby and I just ignored them. An older guy in the group had tried to chat to me but he was very drunk, he got fed up of my ignoring them so decided to blow in my face…eurgh!!

His son was mortified and apologised for his dad profusely.  But the ticket inspector was so lovely and moved me into 1st class and gave me a cuppa, so I also saw the good side of people. 

Most unusual location 

I did a gig from a Dubai hotel room on Zoom for a first date with just the couple on the other end! 

The guy had booked me as he said his date had said she liked stand-up and liked my comedy. I think she was a little taken aback and both her and I realised it was very intense. 

I think the poor lad who booked me was most likely sat there thinking, ‘this felt like it should have been a great idea and showed her that I listened… but it's actually really weird.’

That said, I really got with the lady and it felt like a drink in the pub, but I have to say it was probably one of the weirdest experiences of my life, but THE weirdest… for those you need to see my show. 

Esther Manito tour dates.

Published: 5 Sep 2023

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