Yesterday’s final show was disappointing and not a fair reflection of how well the show has gone previously.
A comedian without energy isn’t much of a comedian at all and my energy seemed to have deserted me entirely. It was perhaps the most sluggish I have ever been on stage, with fatigue finally taking its grip on me. It was only second to Wednesday last week for my worst show of the Fringe.
Not only that, but my room was half-full. Having had full rooms for the previous Saturday shows, I took it for granted that I would get the same for the finale, so relaxed a bit with the flyering. When the show was due to begin, there were 12 people there. This threw me a bit, but I chose to make do with it and begin. Then almost ten minutes after I began, another eight or nine people came in, almost doubling my audience but stopping me from getting into a rhythm or generating momentum. Oddly, three separate people came through the curtain as the show has been going for about half an hour, not really knowing what they had walked in on and then leaving soon after.
If I had more energy, I like to think I would have been able to adapt. But my brain was all over the place and may have also chosen to leave me to it.
A lot of the material fell flat and I forgot to say bits, but the film scene did well and the quiz ensured that the large dip in the middle of the show was partially eased. I made £30 in the bucket, which I felt was generous for how badly it had gone in my mind. However, after the show, a Danish lady sitting near the front came up to me and told me how much she enjoyed it. So it might not have been quite as bad as it felt.
It has been hard performing this past week while battling an illness and I think I exhausted my energy reserves. But I am glad that I was able to hold it together for my other shows, particularly on Friday when I had my sister and friends in the audience.
Regardless of how the final show went, I have completed my first Fringe doing a solo hour show for the full-run and have had some really great gigs. I’ll write a more detailed account of my 2014 Fringe when I am back in London, if I manage to find the energy.
I have reached the last day of my Edinburgh Fringe 2014 run.
My shows on Thursday and Friday were made trickier by still being in the thick of a cold and I wasn’t sure if I had the energy to perform. Then minutes before the show was about to start, the adrenaline and energy drinks kicked-in and the gigs ended up being good fun. On both days, I had a roughly half full room.
Last night, my sister became the first member of my immediate family to see me perform. I was very lucky to have a very vocal Scottish lady in the audience called Anne, who must have been in her mid-60s. She became a big part of the show through being great source of laughs in riffing off and her bizarre interruptions. I then gave her the female lead in my film scene sketch, which was the strangest it has gone so far. She didn’t believe in reading the lines and made her own.
I had another heckler in my audience, who fancied himself as a bit of a wit. But I soon stopped him in his tracks by pointing out that his contributions were about things I had said five minutes previously and what I said was better.
I am sad that I have to finish my show today as I have really enjoyed performing it. I haven’t got bored with it yet, which suggests there is more I can do with it.
On the plus side, I’m feeling much better and have nearly rid myself of this damn cold. I can now correctly identify the days of the Fringe again. Even if today’s show is a disaster, I will still be leaving Edinburgh on a high as the run has gone much better than I ever expected. It will just be a question of the altitude of the high.
I can confirm that I have not officially fallen victim to the Edinblurgy and am coughing up green stuff.
I had a day off on Tuesday, which hopefully helped my immune system a bit and I now have just three shows left that I need to patch my body together for.
With yesterday being a Wednesday, I hoped to avoid another repeat of last week’s show and do one that was actually good. I needn’t have worried, as I had about 30 people in and they were a great crowd.
Despite my voice sounding a few octaves deeper and not feeling quite as sharp as I normally do, there were some big laughs. I have also now managed to find a way to navigate around the segment that is now not getting a laugh, but still keep the material in.
In the audience was Billy, reader of this blog who first saw me in the shambles that was A Mixed Bag in 2011. He tried to see me last year in Fear and Loathing, but the show was cancelled due to having about three people in the audience and us being on a poor run of form. I am pleased that this year has been substantially better than both shows, combined.
Also in the audience was one of my best friends from secondary school, Rob, who I had not seen in about 14 years.
In the early part of secondary school, we were part of a trio that messed around too much and ended up with a detention or two. When I saw him last, I never thought that the next time we’d encounter one another was at stand-up show I’d be doing in Edinburgh. But then 14 years ago, I wasn’t entirely aware of what Edinburgh Fringe was.
It was always going to be tough for Monday’s gig to follow Sunday’s, but it was inevitable that it would happen due to the way that days of the week are organised.
Yet it somehow turned out to be an even better gig, at least mathematically. I had fewer people in, with about 30, but I broke my bucket record from the previous day with a colossal haul of £83.
The audience weren’t as lively as the previous night and the laughs couldn’t compare at least in terms of decibels, but they were receptive nonetheless. They became more vocal as the show progressed and said some very nice things afterwards.
In other news, my throat infection has blossomed into a cold and my voice is sounding distinctly deeper. I have a day off today and have cancelled the other gig I was booked for as I think it would be best to rest my voice and get an early-ish night.
This Fringe has gone ridiculously quickly and I have four shows left. It is normally by this point that I am giving it one last push through the final few gigs, looking forward to a rest when it’s all done. But this year, I actually don’t want it to end. My throat and energy levels may disagree, but I would love to be up here to perform for at least another week or so. Still, there is always a chance that my remaining gigs go so badly that I’ll be glad to get on the train; although I have a feeling that this won’t be the case.
I woke up yesterday and thought I smelled gas. Then half an hour later, there was a knock on the flat door to ask me to check if any of the hobs were on.
It turns out that one of hobs had been left on in the morning by one of my flatmates. I immediately switched it off and opened all the windows to get some fresh air in.
On the walk into town, I was feeling a little groggy with aches and pains. I didn’t know if it was down to the general strains of the Fringe, or if I was suffering from gas inhalation. I had visions of collapsing on stage and being taken to hospital.
I thought I’d do my show anyway and run the risk, as at least it would give me an interesting story.
Then yesterday’s show turned out to be not only my best of the run by some way, but it may well be sitting at the top as the best gig I have ever done.
It was standing room only and I was incredibly lucky to have such a great audience who wanted to get involved. As the show is so interactive, the more punters chip in, the more fun it is. For whatever reason, previous shows where I’ve had full rooms haven’t gone as well as the ones with a dozen or so empty seats where I’ve more time to play around with the crowd. But this time, everyone wanted to be part of things from the Bristol Improv students (who I ripped into and temporarily disqualified from the quiz for cheating), to the group of six Wiltshire folk standing at the back.
The music round was quite special. In previous shows, people have sung along before but never in quite such a large number and even after the tracks have stopped.
I made my record Edinburgh bucket takings of £78.79. It is going to take something pretty spectacular to top this show, but I now know the standard for how good it can be. Perhaps I should get my flatmates to leave the gas on every day.
In other news, I can confirm that I have fulfilled my Fringe obligation and have officially for the Edinlurgy. I have been coughing up green stuff. My throat only has to last for five more shows. And I have a day off tomorrow, so hopefully a rest will be just the thing I need to sort myself out.
The two Ls closely associated with my Edinburgh experience were reunited for the first time this Fringe.
No, I am not referring to Love and Langton, I am referring to Lucozade and Lemsip. In previous Fringes, I have had a dependency on both. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I succumbed to the need for artificial energy and a hot flu remedy.
This is a good thing, because I think my energy levels are better than previous years and my immune system has also managed to hold up thus far. But I can now feel the tiredness creeping up on me and then I hit a wall about 11pm every night when any prospect of going out for the night diminishes by the second. I am also hoping that my mild sore throat is not an early sign of the oncoming Edinlurgy.
Former Fringe performer and current tourist Paul Langton has also been in town for the past couple of days for his brief visit.
He was there to watch yesterday’s show, which was again just a couple of people short of a full room.
The dip in my set happened again with the same bit of material and I don’t think this is helped by me now expecting it to not get a laugh. I decided to give it a load of energy yesterday, which didn’t help because it caused me to forget what it was I was meant to be saying. I am now going to change how I do it and am will try adding something I said the other day that got a laugh. Most of the other segments went down pretty well and I was having a lot of fun riffing with a particularly smutty woman in the front row.
I made £43 in the bucket, which I reckon was a fair assessment of the show. It was decent enough, but I know it can be even better. Being the worker bee Langton is, he totalled up my bucket takings just like old times. It brought back fond memories of only getting about £4.36 one night, which we had to split between us.
With yesterday being a Friday, I was hoping I would get a full room, but there were about ten people seated minutes before the show was due to start.
I went to the bar to see if there were any latecomers and found a few more who were waiting to get served. I ended up starting about five minutes late so I could get everyone in, and had a half-full room of about 20.
Due to starting late, I had to cut the film section from my show, which is often the bit that gets the best reaction. Despite dropping this, it ended up being one of the best shows I have done so far. It is certainly in the top three gigs of the run, along with this past Sunday and one of the other good really ones that I can’t remember specifically.
The audience were really fun and up for getting involved in proceedings. There was a group of three Scottish people on my left near the stage and one of the ladies tried to ding my facts bell. I moved it out of her reach and told her that I was very protective of my bell, which got a pretty big laugh.
I also had some fun abusing my authority by disqualifying a team from the tiebreaker after they protested at my officiating. As a result, they missed out on winning the mystery prize, which was a Toploader album.
From about 20 people, I made £45 in my bucket collection at the end. So not a bad haul at all for a show I really enjoyed.
I now have just seven shows left. This Fringe has gone particularly quickly, which is a sign that it has been a good one. Then again, this next week could always be a disaster and seem like an age.
Yesterday’s show was a definite return to form and I was only a few seats away from having a full room.
For the first time ever, I had ten quiz teams who all had pens. The show itself was decent, if it not spectacular as a few things fell flat. It can still be improved further, but I did get my second biggest takings of the run with £52 in my bucket. I think it is accurate to say that the show was £44 better than the previous day.
I have been incredibly lucky to get an audience in double figures every day, but I am not entirely sure if the crowd I am getting in are always necessarily those who will go for my whimsical intelligent-stupidity and all the niche references it entails, or if it is quite the show they were expecting. Nevertheless, they are still a crowd to be won over and it is up to me to do that. A few things that have got big laughs at other gigs have now fallen flat on a number of occasions, so I may have to do some editing or listen back to recordings to determine if I am doing something wrong.
As I am now officially on holiday, I am going to make an effort to see as many shows as I can. I saw Beth Vyse last night, who was bizarre and brilliant. Go and see her.
In yesterday’s blog, I made the mistake of saying that ‘the Fringe has been very good so far and it should get even better’.
I obviously displeased the Fringe gods with these words, who inflicted their wrath on me by giving me my worst show so far of this run.
But there is only so much I can blame on fictional celestial beings and I really have to take full responsibility for my own failures. A bad gig seemed appropriate given that it was the midway point in the Fringe and a lull is inevitable.
On Wednesdays, you have to put more time into flyering as they tend to be the quietest days. But I was working remotely until lunchtime and had far too many things I needed to get done, so wasn’t able to put in enough time.
However, I did still manage to get an audience in double figures (12) but didn’t successfully connect with them. My energy was sluggish, my delivery was over the place and most punchlines were met with confused expressions.
What made this all the worse in my mind was that I was convinced that a girl at the back sitting on her own was a reviewer. I have had some really great gigs in this run, but this definitely wasn’t one of them and I would be disappointed if it was the one that was documented for future generations to read about in hologram libraries on distant planets.
To sum up the success of the gig, from 12 people I got about £8 in my bucket collection. I have been averaging £20 to £30 in previous shows even with similar sized crowds.
But it turns out that the girl wasn’t a reviewer at all, so the only record of that gig is now the words that I am publishing here and possibly the video that a German lady was taking of my film scene sketch. I suggest you alien librarians track down this video as it will help with your archives.
Having got a good sleep last night in an actual bedroom, with the sun (currently) shining and more time for flyering, I am determined that today’s show will be better. There is no way it could be any worse.
I managed to get a nearly full room for Monday’s show, but it turned out to be my toughest gig of the Fringe.
I had to work really hard to get the audience going and segments that normally go down quite well either received a muted reaction or silence. I battled on against the apathy and managed get several big laughs, but nowhere near as consistently as I would like.
After the gig, when Deech’s pizza arrived in the pub, it immediately slid off the plate and launched molten cheese, tomato sauce and pepperoni straight onto my left foot. Deech says this is his current highlight of this year’s Fringe.
I also got that review from Kate Copstick, which was very nice. She said: “Alex Love is great fun, and there is, it must be said, not much squid-based humour around, so his set gave us a rare chance to enjoy it.”
On the whole, the Fringe has been very good so far and it should get even better as I am now officially on holiday and get to sleep in an actual bed for the next ten days after I doing my time on the inflatable mattress.
On a more sombre note, like many people, I was very sad hear about the death of Robin Williams.
He was someone I watched from a very early age in Mork and Mindy and many films from my childhood. He was one of the first people I remember watching who was funny.
For me, my favourite film of his will always be Hook. Far more of his work has received greater critical and commercial acclaim. But for all its flaws, Hook will always have special place in my heart. It helps that it is protected by the powerful bubble of nostalgia, as it was one of the first films I saw in the cinema. But the key theme of not getting so consumed in your working life that you forget who you are and stop having fun is something that we should all keep in mind. Thank you, Robin. I know you couldn’t hold on to those happy thoughts, but I will do my best to keep hold of mine.