day 9: close to perfect

I woke up to Chuck bringing me coffee. Chuck is another friend from London who’s staying. I like having visitors.

I spent the morning (by which I mean ‘Edinburgh Festival morning’, ie 2pm-4pm) walking up Arthur’s seat with Chuck, Anneliese and Ross. It was so different to last year’s attempt, which was bleak and lonely and done against the wind and drizzle. This was just for fun, because we could, and the sun was shining and the breeze was behind us – I’ve never put sun cream on in Scotland before, but today I did. That’s how beautiful the day was.

Near the top of Arthur’s seat, there is a plateau. From the very top, you can see that people have used the rocks which are strewn around to create shapes: patterns, flowers, the names of people they love.

We made a large cock and balls.

I think Chuck was a little uncertain about it, but I am here as in my capacity as a comedian and I didn’t climb all that way to not create a large cock and balls out of rocks.

When we got down, I finally got a replacement iphone (and started the huge task of going through emails). Then the shows were great again; there was a good crowd to see James Sherwood, and Rachel had an absolute stormer. I had the most fun compering I’ve had so far, too – at one point I noticed that there more ‘woo’s coming from the audience than actual cheers or clapping, so I pointed it out and then a few members of the audience started to shout ‘woo’ in inappropriate places. But I made mock frustration at that into a theme of my time with them, got some good laughs from that, and still managed to get it clear to the room that it wouldn’t be funny if they did it with the other acts. And generally they didn’t. It was a great gig.

The flashback show was the best yet, too. The room was full, but we filled it with energy and fun and for the first time the show felt like a four or five-star show; the pace was perfect, the ad-libs were sharp and well placed, and the whole cast put in brilliant performances. In particular, Rachel hit the pace and tone to perfection (I’d like to think because she had the earlier gig to warm up with, but really I think it’s just because she’s brilliant).

This is getting to be a lot of fun…

Showcase – Audience: almost full; Performance 8

Flashback – Fucking brilliant. Though we can still improve the johnny and baby scene…

Overall – BIG BIG WIN

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day 12: university of comedy

The biggest problem with being a stand-up comedian at the Edinburgh festival, I think, is the same problem that students face at University: that incredible learning opportunities are accompanied by opportunities to indulge in a remarkable social life. This wouldn’t be a problem were it not for the latter’s potential to completely wreck the former.

Which is not to say that networking isn’t an invaluable part of the festival; it is just that it can sometimes be hard to know exactly where the line is between networking, and obscenely hedonistic drinking. The fact that everybody is drinking doesn’t really help; it just means that you know you are meeting a lot of people but it’s not always clear to simple folk like me whether the people you’re meeting are the people you intended to meet. But it certainly is possible to drink your way into some terrible performances.

Thus it was that I, after quite a late night the night before last, crunched on my hoop yesterday lunchtime.

There was no excuse; I was tired, I stammered, I ummed and ahhed throughout my set, and at one point I even described Edinburgh as being a rainy city “in the North of England”. I didn’t get any laughs after that.

I made up for it in the afternoon with a good performance at the Comedy Manifesto, in which myself and Eric somehow managed to beat David Mulholland and James Sherwood, who is a proper bona fide topical comedy writer. Ironically, if I hadn’t been out late the night before I wouldn’t have been drinking with Eric and Jools Constant, and wouldn’t have got the gig. So the ‘networking’ ruined one gig for me, but got me another at which I was quite good. And this is how the balance is restored.

Also, yesterday afternoon, I saw a play, called Splinters of Light. I had been given a free ticket by a flyerer and I enjoyed the performance of the ‘clock-fixer’.

The evening show was also pretty good. I didn’t do puns, just a solid set – perhaps one of the best sets I’ve done, albeit still not as slick as it could be…

So, the work continues. And when drinking and being hungover feels like work, then I guess there’s probably some kind of learning going on.

CTD: Audience – full; Performance – dire (2/10)

The Comedy Manifesto: Audience – full; Performance – solid (6/10)

SSS: Audience – full; Performance – Good (7/10)

Other stuff: okay, considering the late night the day before…

Overall: DRAW

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