Sunday 4th of August I was sent to Manchester by my agent to perform at The Comedy Store in Manchester. I arrived and checked in to the Britannia Hotel. The room looked similar to those in Switzerland where people go to end their life and as I sat on the bed in my pants eating Dorito ending my life seemed far more tempting than performing at The Comedy Store.
I was told by many experienced comedians not to enter a gong show if I had never performed before as it's too soul destroying and brutal, but being stubborn and far too determined to get to the top as quickly as possible I ignored all their advice and entered anyway.
A day before the show and after reading several reviews of 'King Gong' I was starting to wonder what the hell I had got myself into. I watched clips on Youtube and saw some funny and experienced comedians fall to pieces as the audience heckled, that's when my confidence decided to leave me.
I considered not turning up but then remembered I had booked a £35 room in the centre of Manchester and being from Yorkshire realised I couldn't let that go to waste. I also considered going to the hotel, staying in and returning home in the knowledge that no one would be any the wiser, but eventually decided to 'grow a pair' as Jeremy Kyle would say.
As I sat in my hotel room going over my material all I could think was 'What if I forget something?' or 'what if they hate me?'. Several vodka and lucozades later I was drunk yet totally energetic and my confidence was starting to make a comeback. The adrenaline and excitement kicked in and then...I was sick.
I left the hotel and got a black cab to The Comedy Store. The driver said: "Are you a comedian then?! I muttered the word "Yes!" and as soon as I said it I regretted it as he reeled off crap joke after crap joke. I thought the Peter Kay 'taxi driver' routine was a myth, clearly not as his final words as I stepped out of the cab were "You can have them."...Thanks!
As I paced inside The Comedy Store I made my way to the bar, ordered a pint of lager and found myself a quiet corner to gather my thoughts. After downing the pint my bladder was about to explode so I made my way to the toilets. I locked myself in a cubicle and the first thing I noticed was pieced of torn up notepaper floating in piss, obviously someone had decided that this wasn't for them and flushed their comedy career down the toilet. Whilst urinating on someone's hard work, nerves, sweat and tears something else caught my attention, the music being piped into the toilets. I have no idea what the song was, it was old and sounded like motown, the chorus lyrics seemed to be on a loop "Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it." Was this a sign?...No, don't be stupid, it was torn up paper and a song now get a grip, man up and do what you have come to do.
7:30pm and it's Showtime. Half a bottle of vodka, two pints of lager, a bottle of WKD and still I was rattling like a smackhead on Giro day. I had asked to be on 7th as apparently it's a lucky number, I counted down the acts as they performed...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, "Ladies and gentlemen please welcome on stage Liam Tulley."....Hang on, what's this? 6th? How can this be, there's been a mistake...Obviously the person who put their notes down the toilet had pulled out so it was down to me to take his place.
I stepped on stage and couldn't see a thing due to lights and the alcohol. For a split second my mind went blank but luckily out of nowhere something took over my body and I started to speak. I was doing alright, the audience were laughing, they didn't hate me! After about two minutes I suddenly caught a glimpse of everyone staring at me and thought 'How the fuck did I get here?'. Panic set in and I just rushed out my material and hoped it would all be over...I got to the end of my act but because I had rushed I still had two minutes to fill. I was stumped and rather than stand their like an idiot I just decided to be honest and told the audience that I had run out of material, for some reason this got the biggest laugh. They continued to stare at me and I thought 'Didn't you hear what I just said? I have no material.' I do have more material but I had only prepared '5 minutes' worth and rushed it out in three minutes so my mind went blank. Suddenly a routine about being on a bus popped into my head so I thought 'do it.' I did the routine and I still had 30 seconds left so to pass time I did a shit 'dance'.
Finally my time was up and I had managed to beat the dreaded gong and finished in 4th place. Not bad for someone who has never been on stage before.