Luckily I haven't taken on too many extra gigs or interviews this Fringe (and I can't believe I managed to write an Objective and an AIOTM up here in previous years), but unfortunately most of them seem to have come today and yesterday. I had an early interview on the Fred Macauley Show and then a late night gig at ACMS at the Stand. And the small matter of two shows in between
I hope I can keep up with the pace of all this, as just at the moment I am struggling a little bit. My podcast guest was Sarah Millican and despite our on-air sparring I think we both enjoy having an annual battle of wits. Sarah has come out a clear victor in the previous years (though ever the professional I am happy to serve up the the feedlines for her, knowing it will make a better podcast - that's why that's happening), but she was hungover after half a pint of shandy today (seriously) and I was weary and I think we slugged out something closer to a draw today. Plenty of funny stuff in spite of our slight lethargy and plenty of ill-judged and offensive stuff too. Now she's a mainstream superstar I have noticed that some critics like to write Sarah off, but those critics are idiots, she's one of the sharpest and wittiest comic talents in this country. And still down to earth and up for a laugh. Have a listen to us attempting to offend each other here.
I had some chores to do, including paying in a heavy bag full of Scope money (the running total is now up to £4000 including all the preview gigs, so thanks for your donations) and getting some groceries. I misread the time when I got home, thinking that it was just after 4 and it took me an hour to realise that in fact it was now approaching 6. I missed most of Pointless. I was gutted.
I did feel weary at the start of WAGTD and made a couple of weird slip-ups, but then I dug in and enjoyed myself, adlibbing a lot more than normal. I had also decided to make some changes to the running order (and a couple of cuts), moving the stuff about my grandma earlier in the show and reversing the order of Hamlet and the Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. It's hard to be certain after just one show, but it felt like that worked a lot better. My manager had commented that it had felt like the show is ending for the last ten minutes and by putting the slightly less laugh out loud Hamlet bit as the finale and losing some of the stuff about my grandma and how death might be like turning into a butterfly (makes sense just about in context) I think the shape of the show is now better. Sometimes if the Hamlet bit didn't grab an audience it would put a dent in the show and make it harder to get laughs with the other routine, but at the end it means that it's OK if people want to take it more seriously. I had been toying with this idea for a few days, but I am glad that I am still trying to perfect the show, even at this stage. Though it's important to come up to the Fringe with a show that is ready, it's a pity if you don't use the time to hone and improve it. It's strange that so much of the critical reaction is decided in the first week - I am sure most shows are way better by week 3. Some gems might be missed.
It was a little scary making the changes with an already slightly sluggish brain, but it also energised me and pulled me out of the funk of tiredness.
I had time for a little bit of Indian food and a couple of pints of beer with my wife and my mother-in-law (who had been at the show - luckily she is used to my filth) before walking back to the Stand for my last gig of the day. ACMS is a show dedicated to alternative and weird comedy, or just people taking a chance with something unusual. I decided to have another crack at my Mars Bar routine, in which I question the existence of Mars Bar, mainly by saying Mars Bar too much with slightly the wrong inflection. I think there might be an hour in this at some stage. I had another drink and was feeling a bit disconnected and loose, but it led to some interesting places. I explained that it was really a comedian's main job to remind people of redundant sweets and thus it was a tragedy for me if I wasn't even really sure whether non-redundant bars ever existed. I broadened the routine out to include Star Bars and also the Twix. The latter especially sounds completely made up if you say the word a few times in a row.
I enjoyed watching the show too and it's well worth seeing. The first act was an Italian who did her whole routine in Italian to both bemusement and amusement. It was fascinating to see someone delivering what was clearly a competent routine in a tongue that most people couldn't comprehend. Thom Tuck and John-Luke Roberts are assured hosts who think quickly on their feet. Occasionally an element of smugness pervades this clever-clever show, but it possibly deserves to be smug about itself. I think there's a good chance that the team behind this are going to be the next big thing. It was a fun thing to be a part of.
And again I really wanted to hang around and watch the second half of the show and drink with Michael Legge, but knew I had to be in my bed. With luck I can get a couple of lie-ins and be back to full power, but if not then I have to rest up and protect the little strength I have left.
It'd be nice to be more social, but it's more exciting for me now to be experimental and still working on the shows. Do come along and see them if you can, or just listen to the podcasts on line. I have a fun job, but I am working hard right now.