This week, I am staying in Brighton to perform a show at the Fringe festival.
It is the third year running I’ve done so and I have always found it much more enjoyable than Edinburgh, partly because the weather is better, and partly because we are only ever down for a few days and not the whole month, so it’s never as draining financially or emotionally.
But from what I read before I came down here, shows have been struggling for an audience. With Snigger Happy, we have always done pretty well with audience numbers because of our many hours of flyering. But when you hear stories about low audience numbers, it is a concern.
This year, me, Paul and Luke are performing at the same venue we had two years ago when there were five of us doing the show. So the venue has some fond memories of those days when we were fresh-faced newbies.
The first day went really well, we managed to get around 12 people in and they were very friendly and audible laughers. It was an enjoyable gig and I was pleased with how my set was received and Paul and Luke also did well. We made about £30 in the collection bucket at the end, which is a good indication that our audience enjoyed it.
For day two, we had to deal with sweltering temperatures because the sun had decided to show itself. Hot weather is not always the friend of the comedian, as the sun generally makes people prefer to go to a beer garden instead of a darkened, stuffy room.
Nevertheless, we still upped our audience numbers from day two by two, so we had 14. I was due to open the show, but minutes before I was about to go on stage, Langton told me that Steve ‘Mr Chortle’ Bennett was in the audience. This added some considerable butterflies to my stomach, as I would obviously like a decent review from one of the premier critics in comedy.
I didn’t start very well, as my opening joke – which often goes down well – was met with a slightly meek response. Added nerves caused me to rush through the first few bits and the hot room was also another factor, but I recovered and got some fairly regular laughs. I would have just liked a better gig in front of a reviewer. So we shall see what it says, but if I can’t take criticism then I shouldn’t be doing comedy.
Langton was up next and did very well indeed. Luke was closing but a week’s worth of insomnia caught up with him and it was quite an odd experience for all watching. But we made £34 in a bucket, so I think the audience enjoyed it. Or they were so confused by a Luke that they just put money in our bucket to escape.
We have two more shows to go.