New ground approaching

Tomorrow, I will perform the preview of my first ever solo show.

The thought of doing a solo show fills me with both excitement and dread, which are useful for motivators for ensuring that it is in decent shape.

In previous years, I haven’t started my Edinburgh previews until June. But I am actually feeling pretty confident about my show at the moment. Most of it is all written and much has been already been tested. However, until you start performing it in full, you can never really be sure if it all flows or works as intended.

The idea of the show is to have 35-40 minutes of stand-up and then a 15-20 minute pub quiz at the end. I have been thinking how I am actually going to be able to do this, because I would not have the time to mark participants’ answer sheets. Well, I could have the time, but I don’t imagine that watching me marking scores would be the most entertaining thing in the world.

I had played with the idea of having the audience compete against a team of experts via a ‘satellite link’ that may or not be fictional. Then I thought that people would actually quite like to compete against other teams in the room and be able to properly win.

So I had another idea of splitting the audience into teams and having them write their answers on small whiteboards, then they’d show me what they’d written for answers after five questions and I mark it as I go along. They’d then rub their answers out at the end of each round so they can write answers for the next round. Again, I don’t know if this is actually going to work, but I have a good feeling that it might just. I have bought ten A5 whiteboards and a bunch of marker pens. I will have a better idea of whether this idea actually works at around 10.30pm tomorrow night.

But failures are good and healthy. They give you a kick and make you think harder about at what you’re doing and how you can improve. I have experienced two such failures in the past ten days at high profile clubs in London at a time when I was on a good run of gigs. I have said many times before that it is easy to blame doing badly on factors beyond your control, such as room layout or audiences. But ultimately, you have to learn how to handle these situations to avoid the same thing happening again. It is better to die on your arse and learn from it, rather than coast along in a bubble of mediocrity.

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