Dream Gig: John Aggasild

Lovely Glasgow comedy night VISION BOARD is back on its feet after the pando – so who else is better to take on Dream Gig but one of VB's founding members, John Aggasild?

Article by John Aggasild | 10 Apr 2023
  • John Aggasild's Dream Gig

My best ever gig was at 6pm on 30 July last year at the Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow. I performed my second solo show, Welcome Back, twice in one night to a full room. I filmed both shows, then edited and put out a special on YouTube a few weeks ago.

The 9pm crowd were great, but the 6pm audience were just perfect. They were super on-board straight away thanks to Gemma Flynn, who opened for me and instructed them to act like they were in the audience for Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. She welcomed me to the stage as Freed from Desire (Gala Rizzatto, 1997) blared from the speakers, and the energy was amazing. In fact, stick it on as you’re reading this and you’ll get half the vibe I felt that night.

My personal highlight of the gig was an organic moment which, luckily, perfectly punctuated a part of the show that I hadn’t written a joke for (you can see it around 15 minutes into the recording).

What was worrying though, was that I had never performed the finale of the show before – two of my previews for the show had been cancelled that month. It was even more stressful because I was recording the show with technically brand new material. I felt so vindicated that it worked and people were so nice afterwards. They totally got the genre/artform mash-up I was aiming for: a Romantic (Stand-Up) Comedy (Show).

The night felt like the culmination of everything I’d done in stand-up to that point. It was not only an exorcism of feelings for this show I’d been writing for years, but a big achievement too. Having my closest friends in comedy in the crowd helped me realise that achievement and to capture it made it all the more special and memorable.

I feel very lucky in that my Dream Gig is literally a show I run with Gemma Flynn and Stuart McPherson – VISION BOARD. We all do sets and have guests. We ran the show for two years pre-pandemic and have found a new home at the Glasgow Zine Library’s new premises.

One of my best comedy mates is Chris Thorburn. He hosts Drygate Comedy Lab every other Tuesday in Glasgow. It’s a new material show and he sets up the room perfectly. Chris is warm, professional and super likeable. He’ll be our guest MC.

Gemma opens the show. She’s one of my favourite comedians to ever do VISION BOARD and I am so grateful to call her a friend. She always has something important to say but it comes from a personal place, and her delivery is somehow diplomatic and frank at the same time.

Then the incredible John Early does ten mins. I loved his 30-minute Netflix special The Characters, and everything he does with Kate Berlant (Banana Phone, 555, Rachel etc). I would love to be in the same room as him.

After the break, Stuart does ten minutes with some new stuff in the middle which we discussed over coffee earlier that week. I love watching Stu – there’s no gap between his comedy mind and his performance. What you see is what you get offstage as well.

Then Todd Glass does… Todd Glass. He is one of a kind; his energy is chaotic but he’s always fully in control. He’s aggressive yet a very gentle soul. His multi-location, documentary-special (featuring a live band) The Event of a Lifetime captures the live aspect of comedy beautifully. Nobody could follow Todd so there’s another break.

Finally, our secret headliner is Lil Rel Howery. His 2019 special, Live in Crenshaw, is one of my favourites. Much like Tommy Tiernan’s Stray Sod, it’s filmed during golden hour so the lighting in the special is magical, and the camera focuses on the audience a lot as they’re integral to the show’s community-driven theme. Rel is one of the best storytellers and I would love to see what he would make of Glasgow.

VISION BOARD is BYOB so we put empty cans in the recycling and head to a pub nearby in the Southside. I won’t blow up my spot though – you’ll need to hang around at the end of VISION BOARD to find out.

VISION BOARD, Glasgow Zine Library, 17 Apr, 3.30pm, pay-what-you-can
Follow John on Twitter and Instagram at @jaggasild