This is usually the big weekend at the Fringe, where a couple of sell outs on Friday and Saturday help to make up for the quieter days. If I was ever going to sell 500 tickets in a night then tomorrow was really my only hope. But with only about 200 in tonight I have to accept that this year’s stand up show is not going to help fund the play as I had hoped. They were a cracking crowd tonight and as always I had a lot of fun on stage, but the writing is on the wall. For lots of reasons I need to regroup and think about where I focus my attentions in the future and I am increasingly convinced that the Fringe is not the best use of my resources. I think it’s still the right place for acts to learn their trade at the Free Fringe or for TV acts to come and cash in on their success, but something is going to have to change significantly to make it viable for medium ranged acts. Is the King of Edinburgh allowed to abdicate? I feel at least a year off is called for. London based runs of my new shows followed by a tour might make a lot more sense for me. But we shall see what 2015 brings.
There have been nice reviews for both shows (you can see them here), even if reviewers seem a big bamboozled by certain aspects of the shows, not considering that I might be doing the things that confuse them on purpose. Word of mouth is leading to the Rasputin crowds slowly growing (should be full in about six months), but there are simply too many shows and not enough punters for them all. The brilliant David O Doherty and Frank Skinner both sold out my venue tonight. Though I have the slight disadvantage of a late start it still feels like as much as I love Edinburgh, Edinburgh does not feel the same about me and are making my choices for me. I massively appreciate the select band of fans that I do have and I always knew this room would be too big for me, but I did better in the 185 seater White Belly five years ago than I am doing in this room. It’s disappointing and I am not delighted about the amount of money it’s going to cost me, but I knew the risks and I am still glad I put in all the hard work. 23 Fringes might just be enough. I suspect a few others might be making similar decisions. And I’d like to see the Fringe contract a bit and for the whole thing (big names aside) to go free. And for rents and other festival rip-offs to drop to reasonable levels. You may call me a dreamer and maybe I am, as there are probably always going to be a fresh influx of gullible hope-filled fools coming up here. But I wonder if the big 4 venues will be able to survive the squeeze at either end of the spectrum.
I’ll see you back here next year.
I am actually feeling happy and positive. I and a fun afternoon interviewing Francesca Martinez after watching her show and then going out for a curry with my wife and some friends. I even found time for a couple of beers after my show. And I am looking forward to finally going to see some shows (that I am not in) next week and doing some touristy things too. I am finally going to visit the underground vaults where you can see some of the 17th Century streets of the city. I can’t believe I have never done this before as it’s right up my alley (pun intended). And I am looking forward to taking September off (though I do have a sitcom pilot to write by October, so that might not quite work out as planned).
And I’ve started booking in the new series of RHLSTP which is running from the end of September until the end of November. Nothing 100% confirmed yet, but names in the frame include Sarah Millican, Josh Widdecombe and Rebecca Front. And we might even be doing a TMWRNJ reunion one, but that is very far from being a reality. Keep your eyes on the blog and my Twitter feed. Some of these will sell out as soon as they are announced.
And we’re putting out both the audio and the video for free from now on in the hope that this will increase monthly and individual donations. I can only keep these going with your support so hope you’ll consider buying a ticket or a badge to keep things afloat.