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Archive for August, 2017

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Edinburgh Fringe 2017: a summary

When I woke up this morning, it felt a lot like that scene towards the end of Hook when Peter wakes up underneath a Pan statue to find himself back in the real-world and dressed in formal clothes. Thankfully, I didn’t find myself outside or have to climb a drainpipe to get back into my flat, but did have to go back to the day job.

I definitely felt like I had left something magical behind and wondered whether or not what I’d experienced in the last three and a bit weeks was real or just existed in a dream. I have since decided that it definitely was real, because no-one would dream something containing so many lifestyle choices that have such severe and detailed consequences on the bowels. If Narnia and Neverland had a child that liked to drink, it would be Edinburgh Fringe.

Admittedly, getting home was a lot easier for them in Hook as they just flew and I had to drive 4.5 hours. Fairy dust was seriously lacking in the equation and I had to make do with Lucozade and glucose tablets, because I’m sure I would have been able to generate the necessary level of happy thoughts from just thinking about my Fringe. This would also have saved a lot of money on petrol, depending what taxes fairy dust was subjected to.

What a Fringe it was, with 100% of my reviews being four-star. I may have only had two, but that’s not the point. I also gained the necessary ticket sale requirements for official sold-out status for my run and made a healthy profit that will unfortunately make me appear on HMRC’s radar.

Before the Fringe started, I was seriously thinking about jacking comedy in and becoming a grown-up with a career and a mortgage. Following the Fringe, I have realised that there is no way I can leave this behind. How To Win A Pub Quiz in particular has something magic that is going to ensure fun whenever it is performed, or at least for a large percentage of performances if I do material that actually works.

Now I just need to work out a way of ensuring that everything fits in around comedy, instead of trying to make comedy fit in around everything else. I’ve also got a few other potential projects in the pipeline that will be very exciting if they materialise. Hopefully I will have more details on these shortly.

I always say that next time I go back to Edinburgh will be to do solo hour without a quiz and have decided that this will happen in 2018, which I’m intending on doing alongside HTWAPQ. You now have this in writing, so please sue me if I don’t do it. My current idea has just been inspired by half a bottle of wine and features jetpacks; actual real jetpacks, live on stage. What could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned for more.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2017 – Day 21-22

Thursday 24 August turned out to be pretty good. Despite ticket sales being my second lowest of the run and having two empty rows due to people who bought tickets not showing up, it was a fun little show and crucially bumped me 20 seats closer to the magical 95% mark to achieve sold-out status.

And I am pleased to announce that today, ticket sales have gone up further and I have now crossed the official sold-out threshold with two shows to spare.

In spite of having done the pub quiz show format for four Fringes now, I am still really enjoying it and finding new laughs in bits of material I have done countless times.

In other news, the end of the Fringe is fast approaching and I am trying to muster enough energy to get me through it.

It could be that my Fringe stamina has decreased after I only did a half-run last year, or my tiredness could be the result of having to walk 3.5 miles every day, but I am feeling utterly exhausted in any case.

I now only have two shows left and in many ways I don’t want the Fringe to end. In an ideal world, the Fringe would last for 12 months of the year and then I really could do this full-time. However, many areas of my body are currently protesting at doing this for just one month a year and threatening to punish me if I continue this ridiculous diet and lifestyle.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2017 – Day 10-20

Before the Fringe began, I did not think I would realistically get sold-out status for the full-run. Now I am within touching distance of those damn sold-out laurels, I am determined to get them.

For those not in the know, you need to have sold 95% of your tickets for your show to achieve official sold-out status and receive your Fringe laurels. And at the moment, despite all expectations, no PR and a significantly reduced numbers of punters in the vicinity due to nothing happening in St Andrew’s Square this year, I am currently on 91%.

Not that I’m getting obsessed with it or anything, but I just need to sell 32 more tickets from my last four shows to reach the magic 95%.

In a year when many of my incredibly talented friends have struggled to fill their rooms, I have done ridiculously well and really shouldn’t be so fixated on what is only really a graphic I can use on promotional materials.

For someone who doesn’t get anywhere near enough paid gigs, I know I should just be grateful for having done as well as I have in what can only be described as the comedy equivalent of a personal Narnia. In a week’s time, I will have gone back through the wardrobe and into a totally different reality where I am much less successful.

And whether or not I get past the 95% threshold all really rests on Thursday 24 August. Ever since I have been checking the presale numbers thousands of times daily, this has been the one day that hasn’t been selling anywhere near as well as the others. Even when the Fringe started, this one day was stubbornly on six tickets. At the time of writing, the number of tickets sold has risen to a significant 32 as if to taunt me.

To stay on target, I just need to sell four more tickets for tomorrow, then sell-out the other three days and I will have just scraped through. I’ve done as much as I can; now it’s for the Fringe Gods to decide how many more people will come to see my show.

The important thing is that the response from people who have seen my show has been hugely positive. Whatever happens and however many people I end up getting through the door, I am just going to enjoy my four remaining shows of what has been a great Fringe.

Nevertheless, I am so close to getting those damn laurels that I can taste them. They taste laurelly.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2017 – Day 4-9

After the first three shows of trying to find my rhythm, I hit my stride on the fourth show and it has been fairly consistent since then. As a rule, the less I write here, then the better the shows are going.

A significant improvement came as a result of me cutting newer bits that weren’t working as well as I’d hoped, and using sections that I know work from previous runs.

Surprisingly, finishing the quiz with the final question involving a track from Paul from S Club 7’s metal band didn’t prove very popular. I have since reworked the show and dropped this track entirely, reverting to stuff that I know works for the paying punter.

I have always been really lucky with the audience I get for this show, and the last few gigs have been no exception. It is both bizarre and amazing just what an extreme reaction answering a question correctly provokes in people. Every audience has been really competitive, determined to win, and arguing passionately that they deserve a point for their answer.

In review news, I have received my first ever four-star review for anything. This is nice, but I’m firmly of the belief that reviews in Edinburgh don’t matter quite as much as people expect, and usually fade away once August has ended. Nevertheless, there’s part of me that wants to better this still. On the best days, it feels like a five-star show. So, even though many reviews are fairly meaningless, it would be nice to get some text and characters to prove that I’m not completely delusional in my belief in the show.

When I started the run and wasn’t enjoying it so much, I was counting down the days for how many performances I have left. Now things have picked up, I want to be up here longer.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2017 – Day 1-3

Three shows into Edinburgh Fringe 2017 and I’m exhausted already. Things have been going pretty well, with definite room for improvement.

The best show so far was the first one on the Friday, with an audience that was both competitive and argumentative. Saturday’s and Sunday’s were surprisingly reserved by this show’s standards.

I’ve added a few new bits to the show this year, some of these are working nicely, but others either need honing or dropping. My preparations this year were far from ideal. I had three previews in the diary, one was awful, one ended up booking me for a different day to the one that we’d confirmed, and the other was rescheduled and then booked me as the same night they’d already scheduled a band. Nevertheless, the pub quiz structure is a solid one that works nicely and it’s only a few bits that need fine-tuning.

I know I should stop being so fixated on audience numbers, as the rooms have been nearly full every day. But when you’re doing essentially the same show in the same venue and time-slot as the previous year when it sold-out, you do start to worry when there are still tickets left over even if it is only a handful. I didn’t expect every day to sell-out this year, but I did hope that the weekends would at least.

I really can’t complain though, as I’ve already covered all my costs and made a bit of money. This is obviously amazing and shouldn’t be sniffed at. Although the show have been nice, I’ve not been fully satisfied with one yet and want to feel like I’ve earned anything I make.