I have made a return to regular gigging after taking it easy in September to recover from the Fringe and settle back to working full-time in the real world. Fortunately for you, I already have a gig tales to tell.
Last week, I performed where most performers dread: in the main area of a pub. Worse still, it was a free gig, with many of the punters not there to see comedy, there was nowhere at the front of the stage for the audience to sit and there were a disproportionate amount of bar staff working who were talking very loudly.
Fortunately, this is exactly the type of gig I enjoy doing. I went up and started berating the bar staff to get them to be quiet and then I demanded I be given a shot. Incredibly, the manager obliged and I received some vodka.
I managed to get some decent laughs out of the room and towards the end of my set, I demanded another free shot from the bar. Amazingly, this worked a second time. When they asked for money, I told them to put it on my imaginary slate. I genuinely don’t know I got away with this, especially as there was a bouncer around, but I did exactly that. If I didn’t have a microphone and wasn’t on stage, I expect I would have been thrown out.
To make things even more ridiculous, someone came up to me afterwards and wanted to book me a paid gig. I don’t know if this will ever amount to anything, but I am still willing to take it as a gig win.
In other ridiculous news, I played the part of God in Q&A at the same variety night where I portrayed the physical embodiment of the 1990s back in February. I used a bed sheet as a toga, used white face paint on my beard and eyebrows, and had a bath mat on my head.
They were quite a rowdy crowd; so I just played it shouty and sweary, very similar to my 1990s persona. I also made threats to strike people down with arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome, then told someone dressed as Jesus that he was a disappointment to me. It was all very stupid and a lot of fun, proving for the second time in under a week just how much enjoyment can be had from berating people on stage.
I have put this off long enough, so almost two weeks after returning from Edinburgh it is time to give my review of my 2014 Fringe.
It is safe to say that it was my favourite Fringe to date. I had so much fun doing the show and the feedback I had from my audiences was overwhelmingly positive. It went much better than ever thought it would. My show certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was a blast nonetheless.
At the start of the Fringe, if you’d told me that I would have audiences in double figures every day then I would have been delighted regardless of how well the shows went. The fact that the vast majority of the shows went well is massively pleasing. Out of 19 shows, there was only one show I would consider to be a total dud. It was also a shame that my final show was a letdown, but I had nothing left to give after using up all my energy reserves. And from a run of 19, to have two dodgy shows and 17 decent, good or great ones isn’t such a bad return.
What made the run all the sweeter was because I was in exactly the same venue and an almost identical time-slot as last year, when it was a real struggle to get people along. Some days in 2013 really hurt, although not as badly as 2011.
I still have much to learn and a long way to go, but I have now performed a solo hour show. I also know the level I can perform at and need to make that my standard. Because if I can, then I believe that’s when things will start taking off.