This will be my second full length Stand-up Comedy show at the Fringe. There is one week left before the National Express train flings me into the festival and all it entails.
Firstly, the show isn’t ready. This is normal. Most comedians will make wholesale changes in the first week of getting to Edinburgh as they slowly realise that many of the jokes they assumed would work in Edinburgh are just shit. Last year I made changes to half of the show after week one; far, far too late. I think I’m safe to say I’m not alone in relying on pressure to deliver the goods. I have two more previews, one in Colchester (which could be intimidatingly ‘provincial’) and one in Camden (which by all rights should be good and tight).
Comedians become exceedingly tedious at this time of year. The usual needy disposition is put under the microscope and every iota of self-doubt comes to the fore. Today I returned from Latitude Festival which was a wonderful combination of music, performance and activity. So why was it that I didn’t have one conversation that wasn’t concerning the Edinburgh Festival? Edinburgh looms like a behemoth each year because of its importance, relatively speaking, when it comes to getting on with your career a bit. That, oh, and the small matter of losing nigh on ten grand. Gulp.
No show can ever be perfect, so the next week will be spent on structure to hopefully hide the weaker jokes a bit. Make sure that the runts are surrounded by handsome, beefy jokes. The other key preparation points will be pleading with the bank for a bit more cash and girding my liver (this may not be possible – I don’t know if girding is exclusively for loins or not) for the ‘networking’ aspects. Oh God, the networking. For the uninitiated, networking is a euphemism for drinking your bodyweight in overpriced lager until you pluck up the courage to either approach that influential executive or punch that reviewer in the face. The latter is known as inverse networking.
So two more previews to go and a great deal of writing and practising. Then I’ll get up there, get drunk and pick my way through some semblance of the show. All this work will have been for nothing. Just for reference later, I’ll state my aims for this year’s festival.
1. Be happy with the show by 4 days in, and stick with it. Changes after that should be minor.
2. Try to actually enjoy the experience instead of smiling weakly day in day out.
3. Keep the networking in check. That’s not to say deny all networking, just don’t network so much that I haemorrhage money and mental health.