Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.
X

Posts tagged ‘How To Win A Pub Quiz’

Post

NZ Fringe 2020 – Show three

I’m writing this while I’m waiting for my washing in a laundrette.

My hostel does have a washing machine, but I wouldn’t trust it based on everything else in that place.

Although it’s probably going to cost me twice as much at this laundrette, it at means that I can avoid spending time in that awful hostel and my clothes hopefully won’t come out smelling like rotten flesh. Actually, mouldy peanut butter is a far worse smell. So I will go with that instead. Just two more nights, just two more nights…

Onto show-related matters, I think I had about 36 people in last night. So, just over half full. I’ve never known an instance where the Wednesday and Thursday shows are busier than the ones on Friday and Saturday. But this is the situation I find myself in.

Attendances have been down across all my shows. I’m obviously not going to blame my lack or promo when I can blame other factors.

They were another good audience who all seemed to really enjoy it, with many saying nice things afterwards.

It’s my final show of the run tonight. At the moment, it’s looking like it’ll be the quietest. But it is a Saturday and people are around. And as I often say on here, you never truly know how something is going to go until it actually begins. 

Post

NZ Fringe 2020 – Show two

It is definitely quieter this year in Wellington as far as audiences go. I think that there are a few reasons for this.

There are meant to be more shows on this year, meaning potential audience reserves are spread further. And the coronavirus could also be making people stay in slightly more, probably to guard their mountains of toilet roll they’ve panic-bought.

And there is another reason that a lot of people who would have wanted to see my show already saw it last year.

It is a new quiz apart from two questions, even if I am using some of the same material to set things up for later. But for the most part, it’s a different set. So one mistake I probably made was not giving the show a secondary title.

I was called out on using a few of the same jokes by a reviewer from Art Murmurs. She gave me a glowing review last year and it’s nice she enjoyed it so much that she wanted to see what I was doing for it this year. But she also said she was disappointed I’d rehashed some of the content from last year.

I’m fully aware of how complacent and lazy the show has made me in terms of writing material. And this is why I’ve made the decision to write a totally new hour for Edinburgh next year and am likely to put HTWAPQ into storage. After six years, I could do with a new challenge. So I expect this year’s Edinburgh Fringe to be my last full run with HTWAPQ.

Nevertheless, the reviewer gave me some amazing quotes. Such as this pearl:

“Love appears to be the epitome of those times you are in the shower thinking, ‘Oh, it would have been really cool if I had said THAT’, the Armando Iannucci-ian repartee a skill I greatly admire.” 

Being likened in any capacity to Armando Iannucci is perhaps one of the biggest compliments anyone could pay me. I’m not quite sure what she means here though. If it’s Armando himself, or the shows that he writes. Because Alan Partridge is certainly an influence on my quiz host twat persona.

The second show last night was also a good one, even if I could feel it dip slightly somewhere in the middle of my set. I had about 40 in, which is 20 tickets from being sold-out.

Afterwards, I met up with my friend Chloe for a drink. And I managed to magically turn one pint into five. It was the most I’ve drank in one evening on my trip. My 22 year old self would be horrified, and likely suffering from a much worse hangover.

There, I can make it through an entry on here without moaning about my accommodation. Although I did have to resort to my other token subject of Edinburgh Fringe. 

Post

NZ Fringe 2020 – Show one, plus more accommodation gripes

Having completely sold-out both my shows at last year’s NZ Fringe, it was an simple decision to come back this year.

Only this time, ticket sales are much slower and I can say fairly confidentially that I am unlikely to match last year. Bizarrely, the first show on Wednesday night had the most presales, when it’s usually the weekends that are busiest.

There were 46 people in out of 60 for my first show, which is a decent number for midweek. And they were a great audience, so I cannot complain about the people who were there.

Tonight and tomorrow are looking about half full, which should pick up a bit nearer showtime.

My main concern is for Saturday. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect to sell more tickets at the weekend. Only at the moment, I’m barely scraping double figures. I’ve since learned that this is probably because it clashes with Wellington Pride.

Hopefully it’ll pick up, but you never really can tell. In any case, I will try to put on the best show for whoever does buy a ticket.

Now it’s time for a moan about my accommodation. If I thought it couldn’t get any worse then I was very much mistaken.

The hostel I’m staying in is appalling. It actually feels more like a prison. There’s no ventilation in the rooms and the windows don’t open, so there’s no fresh air. There is a fan contraption thing in my room, which I have going on all the time to avoid suffocating.

My room also has a musty smell to it, much like the long-abandoned attic of an elderly relative.

There are three male toilets between 50 rooms.

The showers have has their tap outside the shower curtain. And I’m fairly sure the nozzle on the shower I used on my first night is from an actual garden hose.

The kitchen has flies buzzing everywhere, and this evening there was a mountain of washing up in the sink that had been abandoned, topped with a bowl that contained some watery tinned spaghetti.

There is a cleaner I see every day. But I have no idea exactly what he does, as the same stains and grey clumps of hair and miscellaneous other matter remain fixed. I’m starting to think he could also be a figment of my imagination.

It is completely my fault for booking the cheapest option on Expedia before doing any research into it.

There is a plus side to all of this. Before I arrived, I had been trying to extend my stay here by email. Fortunately, I wasn’t able to do so.

Within two minutes of arrival, I knew there was no way I’d be extending my stay. I booked somewhere else for the extra nights, but I’ve since found out that this new place also has a similarly poor reputation.

I’m now counting down the days I have left in this toilet bowl, before I’ll have somewhere else to complain about. Just four more nights, just four more nights…

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – Shows eight and nine

Back to the shows, I had about 33 in for the penultimate night. And it was good, even if I didn’t feel entirely on top of my ad-libbing game.

The final show was the busiest by some way, almost doubling my largest audience with 68 people booking tickets in advance in a room that seats 70, although four people didn’t show up. I was expecting to sell at least a few on the door given the previous few days. Alas, it was not to be and that elusive sold-out status was agonisingly just out of reach.

I put the whiteboards and pens for the quiz under the seats before the show, as I do in Edinburgh. It was the first time in the run I’ve done this as I knew where people would be sitting due to the full room. Previously, I’d asked the show runner to hand them out during the show. However, this extra pre-show admin meant I had forgotten to put my essential prop of my facts bell on the stage, meaning I had to go off stage during the show to get it out of my bag.

This was after there was a cock-up with the radio mic, so the audience couldn’t hear my announcement to welcome me to the stage. I decided to go off stage and do it again. Admittedly, I’ve done slicker shows.

The audience were a lively bunch, bordering on rowdy at times. There was a persistent heckler in the second row who I had to take down and also deduct points from.

All in all, it’s been a decent run. The shows have all been fun and the people who came all seemed to enjoy it. But there’s been the nagging frustration of it being quieter than I’ve become used to.

That said, I shouldn’t complain too much. Many other shows have struggled this year and many of these have had to cancel performance due to no audience. I also didn’t really do as much to promote the show as I would normally do at a festival, mainly due to the heat and to avoid getting ill. I think ticket sales should have covered my flights and accommodation and should have a bit left after that.

I was planning on using the shows to come up with some new bits. However, life events got in the way, and I mostly ended up sticking with the tried and tested.

I’ve been asked a couple of times if I’d do the Perth festival again. And at the moment, I’m undecided. It’s a decent festival in a really nice city. If I’d sold-out every night and made a huge profit, I expect I would definitely come back. I’d also consider doing it if I was working through a new show for Edinburgh, so that by the start of February I would already have about ten previews under my belt.

Another factor is that I don’t actually know what I’m going to be doing or where I’m going to be post-Edinburgh. I am still expecting to have to start applying for full-time jobs again then.

I have another four nights in Perth. Tomorrow, I’m getting the ferry over to Rottnest to do some exploring, and possibly even some bike riding. I just hope it’s not as traumatic as what happened in Madeira.

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – Show seven

At last night’s show, I had my second largest fringe audience of the Perth run so far 33 people in the room and 34 buying tickets. This total includes a couple who’d bought tickets but only turned up just before the end of the first round.

They ended up scoring higher than some people who’d been there since the start of the show. Admittedly, only by one point to the zero that a few others had achieved. The moral of the story is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll do worse in the quiz if you skip the bit where you might learn stuff.

Seating arrangements were slightly strange again. There was no repeat of the previous night’s phantom third row. Instead, there were people sitting in the front row, but only at the ends on each side. In the middle was a gap of about six chairs.

As with the previous night, the show took a little while to get going, but they certainly got their by the end. A row of about ten young Irish girls at the back were singing along with gusto to the music questions, which is normally a reliable feature of the show but hasn’t happened much in Perth so far.

Tonight is my penultimate show here. I expect to have a similar number of people to last night.

I’ve hardly done any exploring so far, but intend to once my shows are finished. For Christmas, my sister bought me a ferry ticket to Rottnest Island, so I will be heading there next week. I’m just trying to pick the day with the coolest temperature.

In other festival news, I am currently without a venue for Dunedin Fringe. I’d booked to go at the same place as last year, but received an email last week from the fringe organisers to say that the landlord of the building may be selling it. As a result, I became venue-less. Venues have been somewhat elusive this year, with nothing materialising for either Adelaide or Auckland.

I was offered another few options for Dunedin, but was still negotiating when I was told that I’d need to decide I’d need to decided if I still wanted to go in the main brochure. This was within a matter of hours after waking up on Monday morning.

Without a venue and uncertain as to whether or not I’d do the festival, I thought it made sense to pull out. But then I had second thoughts and may now have something lined up.

Getting an audience if you’re not in the main brochure certainly makes things a lot more difficult. It’s not impossible though.

Dunedin Fringe have a requested embargo where they ask you not to mention you’re doing the festival before the programme is officially launched. As I still don’t know I’m actually going to be performing there, I technically haven’t broken this embargo.

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – Show six

Every night in Perth I’m doing a show, I get an automated email at 8.30pm to tell me how many tickets I’ve sold when they’re no longer on sale through the box office.

The more I think about tickets being unavailable through the official box office an hour before the show starts, the less it makes sense. Although tickets can still be bought on the door.

Anyway, I often don’t need this report as I’ve been closely monitoring numbers throughout the day.

Last night, my automated email said that only 11 people had bought tickets for the show. Despite achieving my Edinburgh Fringe 2014 target of double figures, it didn’t feel good for it to be my lowest audience of the run so far.

Shortly after I arrived a the venue, one lad came up and asked if he could buy a ticket on the door and if there were many available. He was in luck, there was plenty.

Ten out of the 11 pre-booked folk were seated. One person bought a ticket in advance but didn’t show up. This doesn’t matter though, because I have their money anyway.

Then a very odd thing happened. Just as the show was due to start, a group of ten people showed up and all paid on the door. So I had thus doubled my audience in an instant.

‘Very odd’ is a fitting phrase to use, as it was my strangest show of the fringe. The pre-booked folk were spread out across the front two rows, but the third row was left entirely empty and the walk-up group were sitting in the fourth row.

I later learned that the walk-up people didn’t know what show it was they were going to see, which explains a lot. They were all in their early 20s and had been drinking, so I had to step in early on to stop them chipping in and whispering to each other.

The show took a while to get going and bits that normally get big laughs received a few sporadic titters. Then I addressed the empty third row, saying that’s what I demand for all my gigs, and it got things nicely back on track.

It had been weird, but I’d enjoyed the challenge of having to adapt the show when it wasn’t going as intended. I now have three shows left of the run.

When I left the venue to get my post show burger and chips, it had been raining outside. How happy I was to get a feeling of home. It cooled everything down nicely.

As I sat on eating on a bench, I never thought that having a wet arse would be so comforting.

Now there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d ever write.

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – Show five, radio and days off

I had an early start this morning, as I was due at ABC studios at 7am for a radio interview.

This marked my first appearance on the airwaves since I started doing a hospital radio show when I was 16, which I did once a week for 18 months or so. I would often have the studio to myself, so would sing along to some of the songs I played. On at least a few occasions, I would unwittingly leave the mic on. Fortunately, I’m pretty certain that no-one was listening anyway.

I’ve just remembered that I once tried to put together a demo tape at the hospital radio into send off to larger stations for presenting opportunities, but kept messing up the words I wanted to say and would just end up swearing. Not surprisingly, I didn’t send it off. I didn’t bother with student radio after getting put off by how complicated everything looked in the studio at the taster session and then never went back.

And I’m deliberately ignoring the time I wrote and recorded several sketches with my friend Edd for Stroud FM in 2006 shortly after I’d finished uni. But upon listening back to them, I was so horrified by their poor quality that I insisted they were never broadcast.

Back to today, I was appearing on Radio Perth to plug my show. I ended up just talking about squid a lot, as the animal holds a lot of responsibility for the creation of How To Win A Pub Quiz. I’ve not listened back to it yet, but hopefully there were a few more people listening than my hospital radio show.

Onto fringe matters, I had an audience of 18 people at Sunday’s show. It continued the run of of all the shows being enjoyable.

I’ve had days off from my show yesterday and today. Unfortunately, the library was closed yesterday, so I took another visit to the cinema to escape the temperatures of 38°C.

Since being in Perth, I’ve watch 1917 (very good), JoJo Rabbit (well worth a watch), and Rise of Skywalker again (more frustrating on second viewing). Yesterday I watched Just Mercy, which I didn’t think could be based on a true story as it is such a shocking indictment on the American justice system. But it turns out that it very much true. That’s enough of me using my film studies degree for one day.

I’m back doing my show again tomorrow and ticket sales are looking quiet once more. Hopefully my radio appearance will help to shift a few more tickets. I only have four shows left now of the run here.

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – Show four

I thought last night was going to be quiet, but the discounts I set up for a certain number tickets have worked magically.

I ended up with 36 people, which is my largest crowd in Australia to date. It’s just under half of the largest audience the show has ever had, mind, but it is at least some progress in Perth.

The show was enjoyable and I am increasingly turning into more of an arsehole quizmaster with every show. It has always been a fun persona to play with, but seems to be amplified in Australia.

Tonight, I currently have ten people with tickets booked. When I first started doing the show in 2014, my main aim was to get at least double figure audiences every day during Edinburgh that year. So this is at least a success by those modest standards.

Another factor at play here is likely due to it begin Australia Day. So I expect that potential punters already have other plans. Probably something barbecue and beach-related if Aussie stereotypes are to be believed.

As always, it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing. I’m reluctant to spend too long out in the heat flyering, as it’ll just make me ill. And there’s me reverting to my national stereotype of being a whinging Pom. I make no apologies.

In itinerary news, I’ve now booked a five night trip to Sydney after Melbourne. Then, I’ll be heading to New Zealand slightly earlier than I originally planned. I’ve just booked a few nights stay in Auckland, which by some strange coincidence also coincides with the dates I arrived in 2007 as a clean shaven, 22-year-old idiot.

I’m also planning to get a bus to travel around the country. But unlike the bus I took in 2007, this one isn’t green and full of 18 year olds. I’m going to spend a few nights in places I haven’t been before as I make my way down to Wellington. The itinerary is all coming together.

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – Shows two and three

It’s now 35°C outside and I’ve taken refuge in Perth’s nicely air-conditioned public library.

Other locations where I frequent in such temperatures include the cinema; and lengthy strolls around the cold sections in supermarkets, mostly just to browse.

Two shows in and audience numbers have been picking up ever so slightly. I had 25 for Thursday and 29 in last night. It would be nice to sell the venue out at least once during the run, but it might not happen.

I’ve already made sufficient funds in ticket sales to cover my accommodation. And by the end of my run in Perth, I may have even made enough to cover the cost of my return flight. This has to be one of the most cost-effective way of travelling the world.

And the plus side of quieter than expected sales means that I’m now in absolutely no danger of getting into trouble with the Australian tax authorities.

All three shows so far have been good fun. One thing of note though is that I have been getting more questions from the audience about the questions in the quiz than ever before. And this may very well be the difference between a UK pub quiz and an Aussie trivia night. An Aussie trivia night lasts for an entire night due to the sheer volume of questions about the questions.

Before Thursday’s performance, I was met with the potential disaster of the bar in the venue closing ten minutes before the show was due to begin. Apparently, there’d been a cock-up with the closing times. I could feel the tension as I arrived on stage and it took a little while for them to warm up. But they did, particularly so when I mocked them for not being able to get a drink and said it was my idea for to close the bar.

In other news, I tried my hardest to get tickets for My Chemical Romance’s UK shows yesterday as soon as they went on sale. But alas, it was all for nothing.

Not being able to get tickets for something is a particularly bitter blow when you have plenty of your own tickets that haven’t sold. MCR sell-out two dates in a 40,000 capacity stadium in a matter of minutes and I can’t even sell-out a 70-seater room. It’s enough to turn anyone Emo. But on the plus side, it means I don’t have to go anywhere near Milton Keynes.

The band are actually playing in Auckland when I’m over in NZ and tickets are available. Admittedly, it is on the day that I’m due to fly home. I may just have to look into rescheduling.

Post

Perth Fringe 2020 – One show down

Last night was the first in my nine show run at Perth Fringe. With ticket numbers fairly low, I was pinning my hopes on a last-minute surge.

Because as I have learnt, you never really know how a show is going to go or how many people are will show up until it starts.

Unfortunately in this case, the pre-show report was pretty much bang on with the 16 people it listed. Although numbers were boosted by another two who bought tickets on the door, taking my grand total to 18.

I must admit that I expected sales to be slightly higher given how well the show has done in Edinburgh and New Zealand. Each festival is different and can take a few days or longer to figure out the best way to get people in. I’ve been handing out flyers, but current stats don’t look like this has had any effect so far.

And unlike Edinburgh in particular, there isn’t a daily influx of thousands of people to Perth who are in town specifically to see shows.

It’s also not the best time to be in Australia, given the environmental emergencies around the country. Some people have said that this may be having an effect on ticket sales, but who knows?

I honed the show playing to smaller crowds and my small shows in the Czech Republic were a handy reminder that I can never take ticket sales for granted. The show has no right to do well wherever it goes.

Nevertheless, it’s not the fault of the people who turn up for the empty seats around them. And I made sure that I gave them the show they paid for.

Pretty much, that is. As it was my first gig in almost three months, I felt quite rusty. A few things got a bit jumbled, mainly when I was ad-libbing, and I lost my train of thought a couple of times. There was also a lot more German speaking than usual, which was mainly from the audience.

But I felt the show went pretty well on the whole. It wasn’t perfect, but the audience laughed and got more into it as the hour progressed. I had a reviewer in, so I have no idea what he’ll write but I’m fairly sure I saw him laughing at least a few times.

Tonight is looking busier, but not by a huge amount. Then numbers drop again over the weekend, which is just bizarre as these days are normally reliably busy at festivals. I’ll just have to wait and see what unfolds, and look out for promo opportunities.

In other travel news, I’ve got the next part of my trip now planned. I head to Melbourne in a couple of weeks, where I’ll stay for at least a week. I’m looking at heading to Sydney afterwards, depending what the weather and fire situation is like then. It’s another case of wait and see.