To be honest, I didn't think he'd go for it as I dashed across Nicholson street with my right hand raised up (half way!). But we connected and Bam! Henning Wehn and I high-fived. Proving once and for all that Germans are fun. And never trust your casually slightly racist stereotypes.
Nick Helms Keep Hold of the Gold. Most specifically the 10 minutes or so he spends carefully dragging up nearly every member of the audience onto the minuscule stage for a song, before declaring 'to be honest, this bit worked better when we only had nine in yesterday'. Lovely stuff and a show well deserving of its plaudits. Helm, you gave me some fire in my belly that day.
Paul kindly gave me a comp to his show 'Kiss the Badge, fly the flag' a few days from the end. Little did I realise, the night we watched the Germany vs. Spain World Cup game, Paul's rather strange and slightly pished support for both teams was captured and used to great effect in the show. Legend.
I'm a semi-finalist in this years So You Think You're Funny? That's it. Done. Dusted. A week earlier than it should have been. But I loved every second of the experience. Well, not the finding out that morning part, or the bit before, nervously waiting in the Café of the Gilded Balloon. But I did have a nice but very brief chat with Jarred Christmas and Patrick Monahan gave me one of his lovely big hugs beforehand too and wished me luck. And there was a lot of lovely support outside from friends about to become audience members. But I digress. The minute I started loving it, was the moment we entered the wine bar room. As soon as we took that step, all my nerves just lifted as I thought 'hey, it's not that big a room and the audience is going to be lovely!'. And they were. It was a lovely gig, with three guys in the front row totally losing it with laughter about a third of the way in. Which was slightly off-putting, but great fun playing with them. But, I was channelling my material and performance from the round before, I paused for too long at the beginning and, well, there are about a million things running through my mind as to reasons why I wasn't good enough to go through. Not to take it away from the man who won his way into the final, he's a potentially excellent young comic. Anyway, the point is, I can do better. I will do better. And breathe...
Yesterday, I had three gigs booked. The first was We Love Comedy, which was a nice compering slot. Followed by a 10-15 at the Crypt in the Jekyll & Hyde pub. Coincidentally, it is where this story begins...
I died on my arse last night. I snuffed it at the Crypt in the Jekyll and Hyde pub. There were a couple of old ladies at the front I had on side for the first couple of minutes and a row of three fairly friendly looking girls behind her who looked quite happy to see me at first. The rest of the room was fairly full, albeit with a few Spanish speakers at the back. Frank Cassidy, the MC, did rather well warming them up so I didn't have any excuse for doing badly. My turn, and as I may have mentioned already, the first couple of minutes went fairly ok. Then I lost the room. My focus was pulled onto the three women in the second row, who had gone from quite smiley to much less so. I kept trying to get them on side, but was getting absolutely nothing and this was making the rest of the audience feel quite uncomfortable. I performed the remaining 7 minutes to almost complete silence.
My instinct at this point was to crawl away and curl up into the foetal position under the nearest rock or parked car. But no, being the first one on, thought I'd see how the other two booked acts would fare. These being a Tom Jones 'OAP' tribute act and a cabaret comedy magician... The Tom Jones tribute act came on with his two walking sticks, playing up the pensioner angle to a tee with his Tom Jones style singing voice, reworked lyrics and jokes as old as the man himself. He found it hard work for sure, but fared much better than I, even getting a reaction from the silent girls when he started to straddle one of the old ladies at the front. The third and final turn was an American burleque comedy magician with deliberately ramshackle 'hack' magic tricks, at one point utilising a hair dryer and another a hoover. Clever twists on an old theme I thought and a very good act. Still, he struggled to hold them, but was brilliant at appearing not to care and I really enjoyed what he was doing. Then he went to do a 'character piece' as a private detective, complete with overcoat and music. For this he required an audience member and went to pull up one of the quiet ladies from the second row. To say she was reluctant was a major understatement. He pulled and pulled until finally she was dragged up onto the minuscule stage area and he positioned her behind him, with her arms sticking out in front so her arms became his. He proceeded to act out the scene:
"So I saw her walking across the street and I just had to stop and wave..."
He looks down, perplexed. "I said...wave..."
Half turning round at this point,
"I said, WAVE..."
"WAVE!?! Why aren't you...?!!!"
It was at this very point, one of the older ladies at the front shouted out "she's deaf!".
My third gig that day, I could do nothing else but tell that story.
A scary baby.
The nice lady at 'So You Think You're Funny?' called me up a couple of hours ago to ask whether I'm in Edinburgh and if I was, could I, please, change my allotted semi-final heat on the 16th to tonight?
So, give-up a week of preparation? A week of many guest spots to hone my craft? A week of 'We Love Comedy' shows and a chance to practice in front of good sized audiences? And possibly most important of all, give up one of my only days off without a comedy spot booked?
Of course I said yes... Well, it was more like (after half an hour thinking about it): 'Ummm, ok, errrrr, hmmmmm, alright, let's whip that band-aid off...' For all the extra preparation, gigs, our own show and the day off, there is also the weeks worth of niggling fear to contend with and to be honest, I've had a good time here so far and although a bit physically drained, am pretty much as mentally prepared for comedy as I can be, coming off of two good shows yesterday. So I'm going to relax, do some improv games as preparation and try to enjoy every second of the experience later tonight. See you there?
Just a quick note to say 'WOW!', what a first show we had yesterday. Sin (on Cowgate) is a brilliant venue for comedy and we must have had well in excess of 150 people in the audience for the show. The reward for an afternoon working hard out on the High Street and Cowgate, selling the show (and the venue's cheap drinks!) to people. The show itself, was a joy to do. Every act brought it and barring the microphone playing up a fair bit, was a great experience for all involved I think. Now, what will today bring? I'd better get out there and find out...
Well, this was the view from my girlfriend's seat several hours ago, just after boarding our train to Edinburgh at Kings Cross. I'm not going to share a more recent picture than this, for fear of frightening old ladies and children – that's the current demographic looking at my screen as I type. So far the train ride has been fairly without incident. I've had to do a last minute flyer design for someone using the keypad on my laptop. With a 9/11 theme. That certainly scared the old ladies. Well, we've got another hour to go 'til we reach Edinburgh for the start of our month. What will it bring? How will it change me? What shows will I see? Will I be a better comedian for the experience? We shall see. I've certainly got enough gigs booked in as a performer to find out, including our own We Love Comedy event in association with PBH's Free Fringe and the 'So You Think You're Funny?' heat on the 16th of August. Aaaaaaaagggrrrhhhh! Sorry, just got the fear. I'm breathing into a brown paper bag now and it's easing off a little.
Anyway, keep coming back, I'll be posting more regular updates than usual here...