Edinburgh festival is a place where comics go to hone their skills, improve their material and/or shows, and leave maybe with some sort of deal with an Agent or production company. But that doesn’t always happen, and whilst we SHOULDN’T expect it, it’s what we want. Especially when we’ve worked on something for a long time, years in some cases, and we feel we are a good product and have value.
But you don’t always get what you want and people don’t necessarily see enough in you. It can be disappointing, frustrating, and has brought many a grown comic to tears through disappointment and the stress of running your show and being over-tired.
This is why having friends, comedy friends, people you gig with and know exactly how you feel, are your support and backbone.
I’ve been really feeling it since yesterday and more so today. Really I’ve just been thinking “fuck everything”. And it’s ok to the feel that way as long as you come out of it. But sometimes the only way to come out of it is just to be around people doing what you’re doing. They're your councillors.
I hung with a couple of comics I gigged with tonight, and we just chilled, drank Whisky (they drank girly drinks and I had the man-whisky), took the piss out of comics we don’t like (no I’m not naming because I’m so professional) and then hung around street corners working out angles of niches in comedy that haven’t been tapped. Finally, at 3am, we ended up on a street corner on South Bridge talking about how Halal meat is a scam and that we don’t believe there is any regulation at all. Then we came up with the idea for "'Hal & Al' Holy Meat" as a brand we could trademark, which was pretty fuckin' funny.
And if that’s not what Edinburgh is for I really don’t know what it is.
I’ve reached just under the halfway point of shows that I’ll be doing this month. I did the 10th tonight and I have 11 more to go. I can already feel the increased sharpness of the whole 45 mins, and I've been able to develop other parts of the show and push on them or back off. I’ve improved my delivery, the jokes, my confidence, my ability to ride out the harder audiences, and my ability to weave in and out of the show to diffuse any tension. And the feedback I’m getting from audiences is great. They really connect with the material and take the time after the show to re-tell stories they have that relate to the whole subject of “Manly-ness”.
And for me, connecting with audiences to make them laugh and have a great experience is what I got in this for. Because if THEY have a great experience, then so do I.
I’m enjoying this so much.
And also, big shout to my amazing Flyerers Elizabeth and Jamie Watt. They've been out there working their arses off in the rain to get me nice full rooms!
I’m staying in student accommodation flats right in the centre of the festival, shared with a few other acts. When I’m in the shared kitchen I always see Sara Mason and her bf Jonathan. She’s doing her show “Bondage” so I’ve been learning about all of that. Probably not something I’d ever get involved in with the whipping and stuff but I’m going to watch the show and she has sworn in the name of Allah not to involve me. Call me inhibited, but I prefer not to put one of those Pulp Fiction balls in my mouth.
It’s quite funny observing how Sara and Jonathan interact with each other in their downtime. Being unwillingly single I kind of people-watch couples, how they interact, who’s the more dominant one, who backs down in arguments, who tries to pacify, what the individual skills are that compliment one another.
Anyway I think Sara probably ties Jonathan up a lot, and that he likes it. Good for them man. Her show is doing well too. She’s turning people away due to numbers.
It’s a fun old Fringe.
The Edinburgh festival is absolutely a bubble. You're walking around a very small radius area all day doing shows, watching shows and, more meaningfully, bumping into friends you gig with all year around in England that you might not see so often. Some comedians won't have the experience you do, some will be your exact peers, and some will have experience well beyond yours. Matt Price is one of the more experienced guys who I've known for about five years. A real good guy I've a lot of respect for that I've gigged with a lot and always has something of huge value to share. I bumped into him and we went for a Steak pie and Scone. He told me about the ups and downs of Edinburgh gigs, how they differ so much from the 'normal' gigs we do due to the conditions of how people may be seeing their 8th show for the day by the time they get to you, and that a lot of the rooms are just too hot and uncomfortable, and how to deal with these things. It was invaluable information and I really appreciated him sharing all this. I might not have worked this out all Fringe and all the while be doubting my material and ability as a comedian. His advice really helped me in my performance since that point and it was stuff I could apply instantly. And if you're really trying to become a better comedian and have better shows, this is exactly what it's about.
A whisky to you old friend for the Steak Pie and advice. (he's not dead I know I made it sound like he's dead)
Had a great breakfast where I was demanding, yet charming, with the food at the TripAdvisor 4 .5 star rated Mrs McIntyres cafe. I was with my mate, and very funny comedian, Curer Ball and we talked about women quite a lot. He's 10 years younger than me but he had some insights even a man of my tremendously great wisdom could take on board. We always have these conversations about trying to find that right girl. Comedians looking for love is like comedians looking for laughs, but the laughs always seem to come more easily.
The Edinburgh experience is really living up to everything I wanted to get out of it. I'm doing my show everyday and making it better everyday. I'm really learning how to manage the tricky Edinburgh vibe with the all conditions that exist in these rooms, I'm hanging out with one of my closest friends all the time, I'm training hard in the gym, I'm watching other shows and learning from other comics, and I'm having so much fun. AND people are really liking the merch as well as the show.
Yes it's a bubble and I'll have to return to the real world soon enough, but whilst I'm here I'm having an amazing life.
So I'm here in Edinburgh after a mammoth 8 hour drive where we stopped 7 times because my friend kept drinking too much water and peeing. It's fine. It's better than wetting the car. Edinburgh festival hasn't fully kicked off yet, but the chaos is coming. It's like when The T-Rex makes the water in the cup ripple. You know something is coming, but you're not sure what...
My wristbands are a hit though and people like them! So if you're up this way grab one off me and be one of the cool people in Edinburgh.
24/7/18 - Off To EDINBURGH!
So that's it, I'm all ready to do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I'll be driving up in a hired Rav 4, the car choice of millions of hairdressers, with my good friends and fellow comedians Russell Hicks and Zahra Barri. We'll almost definitely be listening to the Batman Soundtrack on the way up. What a fun road trip! If you're up there come by and see all our shows. Here's my stupid face telling you when and where.
24/7/18 - WRISTBANDS LAUNCHED
I've just had these very cool "The Pursuit of Manly-ness" wrist bands printed up. For marketing and shit in Edinburgh. It's got a QR code which, when scanned, takes you to a SPECIAL SECRET MANLY-NESS TEST! They arrive this week so get one on at Sunday's London show!