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Saturday 8th August 2009

I am getting recognised an awful lot this year. I suspect that the moustache might have something to do with this, but people are saying hello or stopping to talk to me every few minutes. It's not something I am used to, even in Edinburgh in the past few years and it's not an unpleasant experience. Everyone (so far) has been very respectful and polite and effusive with praise either for what I am up to now, what I did ten years ago on TV or what I wrote in the Guardian last week. It's very flattering, just a bit weird to be suddenly happening after all this time.
But it means there's a definite feeling that things are continuing to go right and this long slog, which some of you have followed over the last seven years, is finally coming to something.
Tonight's show was the best yet I think and I am really loosening up and enjoying it, even though the heat is close to unbearable. It feels to me like the best Edinburgh show yet, consistently getting big laughs, the serious parts seeming to hit home and ends with a massive roaring cheer from the crowd. It's great that these first few days have all sold out because that means they are likely to be more people out there recommending it to friends than there might have been. It also just helps the show to go with a real bang. When you're half full it is very difficult to build up to this kind of intensity and thus the show is inevitably not as electric and exciting, which of course affects even the best reviewers. And it affects the comedian's performance. If you have a big crowd behind you things really start to take off, but if you're cajoling a small crowd then it's never going to fly in the same way. So it's kind of unfair that you need a big crowd to do the best show, yet you can't get a big crowd unless you've done your best show. I think it would be hard for a critic to give last night's show a pounding, because the audience were so behind it. But we'll see. Dominic Cavendish of the Telegraph was in. Four years ago he declared my Edinburgh show "Someone Likes Yoghurt" the worst comedy experience of the whole year and questioned if I had ever been funny. I think it's unlikely that he will be giving me that award again this year, but you never know. You can never tell what a journalist will write. Or what they'll take out of context.
Before the shows a couple of fans had bounded up to me excitedly. They were of Asian descent and wanted to let me know that they thought the Guardian article had been outrageous and that they still loved me. "We're your Paki fans!" one of them enthused. This made me laugh, even though it's not quite the point of my routine. But it's OK in my eyes for them to refer to themselves by that name if they so wish. It was good to have the support. They sat near the front and laughed and applauded all the way through the portions of the show that were about racism or involved those racial epithets that I wouldn't like to use out of context.
It is great that the show gets this reaction, especially when sometimes the white audience members might curiously look towards the Asian and Black people to see how they are reacting.
At the end of the show I encourage people to put on the velcro moustaches I have made (at great personal cost to myself by the way - the constant rubbing of the scissors against my finger has left me with a nasty burst blister) or if they don't feel brave enough, at least to stick them on the posters of other performers. Tonight I went further and said that it would be good if people could graffiti a toothbrush moustache on every poster at the Fringe, but added I would be happy if by the end of the Festival, every Jimmy Carr poster had a Hitler moustache. This got a good laugh and though I cannot condone or participate in such vandalism, it would be marvelous if it took off. @thismanslife on Twitter jumped straight to it and stuck one of my moustaches on a Carr poster. This is admirable, but it is clearly too small and if people want to make my dream come true (and you are promoting anti-fascism and democracy remember, so if the other performers don't like it, it means they are racist) then you'll have to use a marker pen and really go for it. I have a dream that every poster in the Fringe will have an anti-racist toothbrush moustache on it. Wouldn't that be beautiful? And annoying for everyone else. One promoter lightly chided me tonight saying he'd had to go down the stair case at the Underbelly and remove a velcro moustache from all his posters. Really those Velcro ones should be on your faces. If you want to do it properly you'd have to use a marker pen. Obviously I am not saying you should do that. But if you wanted to make a point that's what you'd have to do.
It's all about democracy and certainly not about me promoting my show like some kind of publicity seeking twat.
Lots of fun after the show drinking with some other comedians and catching up with some old friends. I managed to tear myself away before I got too pissed and walked back down the hill. Late night revelers stopped me for photos and to say hello and to ask me if my moustache was real.
Back near my flat the black cat was sitting waiting for me, smiling about all the luck he had magically been bestowing on me. I stopped briefly to say hello, but a young woman was sitting on a step nearby, looking a bit depressed and I didn't want to freak her out too much and make her think that my words and little kissing noises were aimed at her. The cat didn't follow me this time. He stayed near the young lady. He uses his powers to help those in trouble and knew that his work with me was done for the time being. But it was good to see him.
Round the next corner a man was sitting on another step with his head in his hands. Was this just a coincidence or had he and the sad lady had some kind of spat? If so then he must have been in the wrong as my magic cat would only side with the slighted party.
Perhaps he was nothing to do with her anyway. On a Saturday night in Edinburgh, amongst the hustle and bustle and drunken stag parties there is much lonely misery.
At some point we have all sat on a stone step in a dark and empty street with our head in our hands - metaphorically at least. But in this city of dreams, the vast majority do end up broken.

Ticket sales remain strong incidentally. Sunday and Monday are sold out, as is next Saturday. Friday is very close to selling out, but there are still a couple of dozen tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday are only around half sold at the moment. But do book ahead if you want to come. I feel the momentum is behind me this year. And once that Telegraph review is out - who knows!

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Buy the Emergency Questions book here And help fund the filming of series 11 and 12 of RHLSTP.
My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at the Edinburgh Fringe this August and I am also doing three RHEFPs while I am there All details of shows and previews.
Buy tickets to Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from the LST website
You can download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes or watch the video on YouTube