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Entry 363-364: An Edinburgh summary

I am now back in London and Fringe-lag has hit me. With Edinburgh now at an end, I shall reflect on the past four weeks in this bumper edition due to missing yesterday’s entry because of tiredness.

A clue as to how our final show went can be found in our show’s name. Paul was on first and didn’t do himself too many favours by having six pints in two hours while watching his beloved Arsenal lose heavily before the gig. It was a shame his final set didn’t go as well as others because there have been many times this festival when he has been outstanding.

I was determined to have a good gig and go out on a high, but was struggling to find any energy until just before I arrived on stage and ended up really enjoying it.  I had to work hard to get the audience laughing consistently as they weren’t going for everything, so I had rescue a fair number of faltering punchlines with lots of adlibbing and it mostly worked.

For the final show we were wearing garments we had fashioned from the excess of remaining flyers. I made a waistcoat and Paul made a kilt, here he is wearing both:

Look how impressed the man next to him is.

To conclude on the Edinburgh experience, the reason I gave our show its name was that I knew it would exactly be that, a mixed bag. I was proved right. There were good days, some very good days, horrible days that were an utter struggle and days that were frustratingly mediocre. But despite our non-glowing sole review, there is a lot both myself and Paul can be proud of for the experience. We had a good run, the majority of people who saw the show enjoyed it and the fact that only once did I resort to my bad gig cure of a packed of biscuits and listening to Queen songs speaks for itself. Out of the 21 shows we did together, only three at the very most were stinkers, which is not a bad ratio at all considering we’ve both only been gigging on a regular basis for just under two years and our sets were at least ten minutes longer than we’d been used to doing. Plus every show went ahead, which is quite an achievement in itself when so many others were pulled.

My personal low point was the first Saturday when we had a full room due to the rain, but for the first 15 minutes or so of my set I was getting absolutely nothing out of the audience and several people walked out, which caused me to stumble over my words. I managed to recover, maintained my energy and eventually got some laughter. It wasn’t pleasant, but I’m proud to say that I didn’t buckle.

My personal high of the run was the second Saturday, we had a full room again but this time we were ready for them. Or so we thought, until a Hen Do appeared. This led to us both behind the curtain before the show, terrified about what we were about to endure. Hen Do’s are scary, so we knew we would really have to raise our game. And raise our game we did, it was our best gig of the run.

I was under no illusions before the Fringe about the challenge we faced, I knew it would test us both physically and mentally. But we dealt with everything thrown at us: hecklers, apathy, very drunk hecklers, no microphone, disruptions from other noise outside, ridiculously drunk hecklers, small crowds, big crowds, illnesses.

My objective at the start of the Fringe started was to simply become a better comic by the end of it. I think it’s safe to say I’ve achieved that. I still have a very long way to go before I even come close to getting anywhere in comedy, that will take a good few more years of grafting, but I’m sure that should I get anywhere then I’ll look back on the experience I’ve had this month as one that helped me on my way.

Now it is back to the London open mic circuit, where audiences are scarce and its mostly performing to other comics. I must now crack on and try to move up the comedy ladder. I know that long-term I need to move out of London, probably to the Midlands, where my driving skills can be utilised for more gigs and I can likely afford to run a car. But in the immediate future there is a lot of uncertainty as to what comes next.  In the real world, the edition of the paper I work on is closing at the start of October, so I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing after then. However, what I am certain of is that I will return to Edinburgh Fringe with another show next year. I’m looking forward to it already.

Word count: 834

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