For my first show of this year’s Fringe, something unprecedented happened. I had to turn at least 30 people away from my show as there wasn’t enough room.
I was astonished to get to the venue after flyering to find people already queuing the length of the bar. I had to fight my way through the crowds as I couldn’t get in.
When I did get into my room to set things up, who should I find in there clearing out the glasses? Only bloody Paul Langton, doing the donkey work he seems to crave. Luckily, he also stood on the door to turn people away.
The venue only seats around 45, with about another 15 people crammed in standing at the back and sides. One of the latecomers was asking someone in the front row what they wanted to drink. I told them fairly rudely to get me a pint. Amazingly, a few minutes later they reappeared with a pint for me. It was clear evidence that being an arsehole gets you things.
I had a record 12 teams in the pub quiz, with teams at the front having to write on pieces of paper as I only have ten whiteboards.
In my show last year, there were days when it took the audience a bit of time to adjust to the whimsicality. It also took me a few shows to find my feet with it all. But for the first show this time, I hit the ground running and the audience ‘got it’ almost straight away. They were a great crowd and the more involved the audience gets in the show, the more fun it is.
I’ve never had to turn people away from a show before and there’s a chance that it may not happen again, but it’s certainly something I can add to my list of comedy achievements. It goes on the list to join being flashed at and performing dressed as a giant inflatable penis.
I’m well aware of two factors causing this flood of people being the first Saturday of the Fringe and the opening show of the run. I am fairly certain that not every show will be this full.
I think being listed in the main Fringe brochure this year did make a difference, but I’ll know by how much at the end of the run.
I also know full well that the punters were there for the pub quiz and not to see me, but that’s fine. As long as they’re there, that’s the main thing at the moment. Once I have them, they are mine. All mine.
I made my second highest ever takings in the collection bucket of £82, which would have been far higher had I been able to fit everyone in who wanted to come.
So, it wasn’t a bad start for my 2015 Edinburgh Fringe at all. There were a few things that didn’t go as I hoped and areas I can improve, so I can potentially have even better shows when everything goes as intended. Then again, I also know that you’re only ever one gig away from dying on your arse.
- How To Win A Pub Quiz II: Advanced Edition runs Aug 8-29 (except Tuesdays) at the Kilderkin, 18.15, venue 227.