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Saturday 29th May 2004

CNPS numbers spotted 8 (776)

Running in a new show is one of the worst and most nerve-wracking things you have to go through as a comedian. With the first ever try out of a new idea you are taking a massive leap into the dark. Will people find anything funny? Is it a good idea anyway? Has a show with a stupid and obsessive number-plate game at its very heart going to interest anyone who has not got Asperger's syndrome?
My Twelve Tasks show is quite a departure from the Cock one as it is much more of a story and totally about me. Christ on a Bike had elements of a story, but had a lot of set pieces in it, whereas this year's show will be about a beginning, a middle and an as yet unknown end. The fact that I have only completed 3 tasks, with two well on the way to finishing, but seven as yet unstarted (and I haven't even completely settled on what those seven will be) does not help matters. Nor does the fact that I only have an hour in Edinburgh and a lot of information to get across.
Trickily also, the starting point of this show is the depression and confusion I was feeling for most of last year. How far do I let people into this world? What personal details do I give out? At what point does it turn from entertainment to self-indulgence?
Today I debated with myself whether I should include a slightly intimate conversation I had with my last girlfriend, or whether that was going too far. It was basically just a romantic thing that I said to her, that illustrated how strong my feelings for her were when we got together. But I was worried that out of context people might laugh at it and more importantly had to decide whether bringing this private thing into a public arena devalued it. I decided that it might do and took it out of the script for the moment at least. It's hard to know how something will be perceived by people, especially when you have never had a chance to test it otu on anyone.
I have written about ten pages of script that only really gets me as far as the beginning of my challenges. I am hoping that this will go well enough and that the audience will be understanding enough to allow me then just to chat ad-lib about the other stuff that has happened so far.
It is horrible to have to premiere a work before it is anywhere near ready and to have to perform a non-polished work. But to be honest this is the only way to force me to get anywhere near having a script at this stage. Hopefully my embarrassment and humiliation tomorrow will mean that I will not be embarrassed or humiliated in August.
I just hope no-one comes.

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