The tedious job of trying to book RHLSTP continues, with one more booking today (available in your secret area Badgers/Plussers) but still only one guest for the first show in less than two weeks. Obviously thereâ€™s lots of people who want to do it (I am not looking for suggestions, but if you are Tom Hanks or similar do feel free to get in touch), but I could do with someone who might shift a few tickets as itâ€™s a little bit quiet so far.
Itâ€™s always a bit of a mind fuck as to who the RHLSTP audience will pay to see - sometimes a guest brings their audience with them (the boys from Ghosts look like selling out the show, largely to an audience who havenâ€™t been before if my guest), but sometimes Iâ€™ll book a guest who can sell out stadiums in their own right, but my audience isnâ€™t that bothered and their audience donâ€™t get to hear about it/want to come!
So I think Iâ€™ve got a guest who will do the business, but it turns out that I canâ€™t pair them with an exciting new act because they have failed to do the business. Itâ€™s annoying unpredictable. And really the only part of the process that I donâ€™t enjoy (though doing most of the last series through the fug of a horrible bug was a little bit tough).
Mainly I just want to book people who I think are good and I want to talk to (and will continue to do that regardless), whilst also providing a representative balance, but itâ€™s a bit of an additional pressure knowing that if sales remain low then the Leicester Square Theatre will probably not want to book us any more. Even though their name used to be in the title (RHLSTP stands for anything I want now). Itâ€™s frustrating that weâ€™re never recovered to pre pandemic levels where any show would automatically be half full regardless of guest, but I understand all the reasons for this. Other podcasts do great business with occasional live shows, but ours is nearly always live and with a cost of living crisis I cannot expect people to come to more than the occasional one.
Our downloads remain consistent (which is remarkable in a competitive medium) and consequently weâ€™re doing great business and are able to fund other projects (like the Can I Have My Ball Back? Podcast and the independent film we backed), so itâ€™s far from over and out.
But listening back to shows for possible competition entry itâ€™s obvious that the shows with a big crowd have a terrific atmosphere. But the spoiled London audience can pick and choose and they tend to go for headliners, rather than the exquisitely curated line-ups that I like best.
The upcoming show in Wells has almost sold out and the New Forest Arts gigs sold out on the RHLSTP name alone (admittedly in small venues) and so I think itâ€™s time to take the show out on the road again and today got the proposed gig list for loads of gigs over the autumn and spring. So I hope the uncynical people of not-London will come out and support us (some of the venues are very big) and am very much looking forward to the incredibly arduous task of finding guests who will be free on specific dates in specific towns. But I just about managed it last time. And this tour will provide enough podcasts to last us almost two years (if we only put out one a week). And there will be some in London, for you spoiled babies. Use them or lose them!
And then, maybe I can take some time off of RHLSTP (as the silo full of podcasts is slowly drained) and do a Can I Have My Ball Back? Tour in autumn 2024. Will anyone come to see it? It will be over six years since the last stand up tour and most of my elderly fans perished in the pandemic.
I know this sounds like I am complaining, but Iâ€™m not. Itâ€™s just confusing. In many ways my career and the podcasts are successful beyond my wildest dreams - I never envisioned them directly making money or giving me a secure wage or becoming my main focus - and Iâ€™ve worked constantly for the last 33 years. But whilst I gradually built that stand up audience up over 15+ tours, it still remained at modest levels and thereâ€™s no guarantees that I wonâ€™t have to start again after all this time.
I still consider myself to be in a sweet spot, where I get to do exactly what I want and yet can live my life without much interruption from rabid fans (I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve even had one fan whose devotion had bordered on rabies, which is obviously what most comedians desire) and am also somehow making some money. I have lucked out completely.
All I am saying is that this bit is mildly irksome.
And all today's work led to one more booking (though in fact I did most of the work for that one a few weeks ago).
If you want to take a punt on the show and get cheaper tickets and potentially be right at the front for a big name guest then head here