Dream Gig: Ignacio Lopez
Spanish-Welsh comic and Live at the Apollo star Ignacio Lopez delivers a dream gig with a surreal edge
Comedians who say their best ever gig was at a comedy club, a festival etc, are either full of shit, or haven’t been going long enough to know that the best gig is one you don’t want to do – a corporate for arms dealers, or an aircraft hangar filled with stag parties – but before you leave home you’re messaged five magic words: 'Gig Cancelled. Paid In Full.'
My favourite gig (not involving me watching Columbo at home), was a solo show in Neath Gwyn Hall. Near enough to where my mother’s from that it’s a homecoming, but far enough from the anxiety radius around my old comprehensive school.
I’ve been performing since 2009, and this was 2021, well beyond the point of doubting myself; I’ve gigged for every kind of crowd (haven’t gigged for arms dealers, they ended up booking Jimmy Carr). I did my favourite material, and local jokes I can only make in South Wales. I’ve gigged in Neath loads thanks to comic Paul James. He’s put on gigs in every conceivable venue in town, and runs Neath Comedy Festival (it’s like the Fringe, except acts don’t lose money, and there are fewer English public school bellends).
My favourite type of people were there; people who had paid to see me. As well as friends I hadn’t seen in ages. My partner, Michelle, was taking pictures. My mate Leroy Brito opened, and smashed it. I was furious. I had an amazing reception. It felt like every rubbish gig, every late night coach journey, every stage death, had all been worth it. I filmed it, but I’m worried if I watch it back, it’ll be like the scene in The Simpsons when Homer thinks he was witty and charming at his dinner party, but he was actually a drunken dick.
I already gig with my favourite comics, in stunning venues. Topping that would take something absurd. So here’s the craic:
Venue: When I met my German sister for the first time, we went to a Berlin art-house cinema: a beautiful 1920s building, still standing after the war. Classic red seats/curtains, just add a stage.
Host: Me. I can enjoy the other acts, play with the crowd, and avoid all my MC pet hates (the audience don’t need to practise clapping, you dork).
Right, I’ve got Bill & Ted’s phone-box, ok?
Show Manager: Luis Buñuel. He made surreal, darkly funny films, and worked with Salvador Dalí a lot. Dalí can paint the show posters and backdrop in our pop-up comedy club. Buñuel might make things weird, but every gig needs challenges to overcome. I’d have suggested David Lynch, but he ACTUALLY runs a variety show in Paris. I’ve never been booked for it, so I assume it’s shit.
Opening: Peter Sellers doing some improv (or a character, but none of the racist ones). I’d have loved to have seen him do live stuff, and this is my chance; punch 1948 into the time travelling phone-box.
Break 1: Waiters walk around, carrying trays filled with food for nobody. FFS, Buñuel.
Act 2: Goldie Hawn. She started out in comedy, and has impeccable delivery. I’d like to hear observational stuff about her relationship with Kurt Russell, but it’s her set, she can do what she likes.
Next up: Raúl Juliá. An incredible actor who would have made a phenomenal comedian. I’m not saying actors make great comics (stay in your lane, thesps!) but he had great charisma and mischief in many performances. Such an interesting life to draw from too.
Break 2: A priest meandering, selling bottles of holy water. Nobody’s buying.
Headliner: Eddie Murphy. The only actual stand-up I’ve booked. He’s alive, but I need 1980s Eddie. Phone-boxed him a couple of months prior to the gig, so he could hit the modern clubs, tighten up his set, and update his material. He’s going to do what the British couldn’t in the 40s, and blow the roof off this place.
Buñuel abruptly cuts the lights, and releases a goat herd into the venue. I hit the bar with the acts so we can bitch about the gig. Then I head to a late night cafe with Michelle, we look over her photos, have a bite, and I consider how lucky I am to be living my dream.