Thursday, 24 September 2015

EDINBURGH DIGEST



I’ve had some terrible Edinburgh's. Edinburgh's that would turn other people’s pubes grey. I’ve been critically mauled, degraded, disowned, bankrupted, and emotionally destroyed. I’ve hidden under tables to avoid people, been dumped during my own show, slept rough on the Royal Mile, been threatened with a knife by a sushi chef for refusing to pay £16 for black cod, been told off over a hundred times and got my foot stuck in a floor light in a giant blow up iglo on the opening night of my debut Edinburgh show amongst other horrors. I’ve not fulfilled my ambitions, I’ve not met my own high standards, had financial failures and creative disasters. Yet here I am again.


DAY ONE
Edinburgh 2015, Day one. The show is rammed. I completely die on my hole. I’d previewed the show in London to pretty much to no one, how was I supposed to know what worked. I went straight home to bed. It was at this point I realised that my bed had come with the thinnest pillow known to man, my head a neck would have had more support if I was lying on a rizla paper.


END OF WEEK ONE
The first week is spent discovering what my show is with mixed results. It swings from going well to going badly and not much in between. Then there is a breakthrough and I have the show I want. What that is I couldn’t tell you and neither could the audiences on most days.


MARKETING STRATEGY
One of my marketing strategies is to get a different  big name act to introduce me every day Another bright idea is to allow comedians to come in during my show and flyer for their shows. The later doesn’t work so I stop it. However it went on long enough for a rumour to circulate on the Royal Mile that you can come and flyer during my show. And they come. Twice a day unannounced.


So this is my show right now. A comedian comes on slags me off to a room full of people who have no idea who I am. I spend the next 15 minutes trying to win the audience back and when I’ve just about done that an all singing dancing part of the Royal Mile enters my show. How do you stop a rumour on the Royal Mile. Stand at the end of it and shout to a thousand drama students “don’t come and flyer during my show”? That evening I look in my flatmates rooms they all have two pillows. I ask if I could swap my rizla pillow, they say no.


TWO WEEKS IN
My show is an experience and weirdly people are coming. Most days people think they’ve watched a person have a nervous breakdown not do a show, some days they are right. I’ve put my parents through a lot of shit over the years. They’ve had to watch as their sons career never really goes anywhere at great financial cost to them. They could do with some joy, I think long and hard about it and decide to text them to say “it’s going well.” It’s tempting fate but they deserve something. My pillow feels thicker this evening.


The next day a bird shits on me whilst I’m flyering outside my venue. Don’t worry it’s good luck. No, it foreshadows how badly the show is going to go today. After years of not being able to tell people about what their son is doing the embargo is lifted and the floodgates opened. Friends of my mum and dad’s could now turn up at any time and they do today to the worst show of the run. A Chinese drum band enter to flyer, increasing the tension. They stop to announce the title of their show. “And what time is it on?” I ask “Sorry no speak English” they reply.


REVIEWS
I have not courted the press for this show (see  reviews of previous shows for details), during one show I look up and there is a man sitting on his own surrounded by carrier bags and eating a bag of trail mix. At the end of the show he approaches me. “Harry, can I ask you about Israel and comedy?” Perfect comedy fodder one of the most politically charged subjects in the world. What am I supposed to do, offer a solution? Also who is going to read a piece on Israel and comedy and then go and watch that show? I can tell you as two weeks later the people who would read an article about Israel and comedy come and watch my show. The type of people who would watch a show after reading an article about Israel and comedy hate my show. Four old Jews. Two couples. One of the guys walks out 15 minutes in and then the wife, who decided to stay, says when the show ends “I don’t know how your mother puts up with you.” Turns out like Israel my comedy divides peoples opinions.


HALFWAY POINT
Half way through the run I need an objective view on how it’s going. I know I’ll enter my name on Twitter. Sixteen shows in and  the most positive tweet about the show is someone who has double booked themselves and is trying to offload their ticket. No takers. At least I’ve got got my rizla pillow. Just when I’m feeling pretty low about it a flirtatious text from an anonymous number pops up  


WRONG NUMBER: I think I love therapy almost as much as I love my therapist


ME: Who is this then?


WRONG NUMBER: Andrew innit. Hang on is this not the Annie I think it is?


ME: Annie who?


WRONG NUMBER: Okay well this has just gotten embarrassing. Lets just say that no one loves their therapist and all move on in life


ME:You are sexting a man


ALMOST THERE
The end of the run is in sight...I get my first review the highlight pull quote being “Trips over his props, has a no show from his own parents.” In the remainder of the run the following things happen. One day during the Q&A a woman asks me who made me wear the jacket I was wearing, it gets a laugh. Twenty minutes later it’s really hot so I take the jacket off, that gets the biggest applause of the run. Another time a group of lads turn up, I sense the show might not be for them “How did you hear about the show?” “We’ve just been thrown out of another show for being too drunk.” One of them abuses me and I have to throw him out.  My flat mate Luke Mcqueen puts everything I say in the flat on his Facebook which gets more likes than my own posts. On a particularly bad show a man and his wife are sat behind a pillar, they can’t see anything, a pillar of stone is more appealing than watching my act. A group of people who had interrupted my show to flyer the other day come and watch my show. A man asks me how many pairs of shoes I have because earlier he saw some shoes by a bin if I want them, then a woman takes a picture of me “To send to her son in Japan.” I swear my pillow gets thinner throughout the run. My own flyerer flyers for his other show during my show as he thought “it would be funny.” My flat mate Luke Mcqueen runs out on breakfast without paying in a desperate attempt to get likes on Facebook after I take a vow of silence in the flat to stop him writing about me online. A flyerer for a student production of Othello turns up in a suit made out of flyers and aggressively throws an Othello flyer in a woman’s face. I have good shows I have bad shows you probably couldn’t say which were which, but I know. Somewhere through the festival I discover who I am on stage.


JOURNEY HOME
I’m exhausted, I slump in my seat on the 12:00 train back to London. A comedian sits down opposite me then another “we wondered who the fourth person would be” “Oh, there is another person coming, who is it?” “B***y F***s” He is my sworn enemy, I stand up and let them know I can’t sit here “As I hate him” I sit on the floor next to a bin all the way back to Edinburgh.I'd rather sit here for four hours than next to him.


I arrive home. At least I’ve got the material for next years show


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