This was to be my second gig for promoter Pearse James, arranged by text seconds after I’d arrived in the city this afternoon. It was a sunny day, and when Ed, Debby and I got to the venue he was outside the pub flyering. Ed whipped out his trombone in a bid to attract people, and Pearse crossed over the street to flyer everyone who’d crossed to avoid him. While he played, I stood next to him, offering flyers and the promise “Free comedy at 7pm” to all the ignorant cunts who walked past us.
As I offered a flyer to a woman coming up the street, she politely declined – an error on her part, because her voice immediately identified her (despite the dark glasses) as actress Kristen Schaal, from the show “Flight of the Conchords”. Having recognised her, I was trying to think of something low-key and witty to say, but I was sidelined by Ed excitedly shouting “Oh my god, it’s Kirsten Schaal!” as he had a mild star-struck heart attack and kept yelling up the street “I know it’s you, Kirsten Schaal! Oh my god, it’s Kirsten Schaal!” over and over. When he had calmed down, I asked him if he was sure her name is Kirsten and not Kristen, and on the balance of the evidence provided by the DVD case next to me as I write this, it appears he did indeed shout the wrong name at her. Repeatedly. Oops. Still, it’s not the first time someone’s got her name wrong…
I used to get properly star-struck and ask bands to sign stuff, but once I got my degree and started working alongside “celebrities” you soon realise they’re just people too. Everyone’s going properly Brad-doolally in Glasgow just now because Pitt is filming in George Square, they’re all down there going snap-happy-camera-crazy and I went down there too, because it’s a huge job and I thought there might be work going. It was quite entertaining watching the crowds though, and I think I might get some material from that so will say no more for now. My friends who got on it were only in for a few days each themselves, so I never got any work out it either.
This venue is not particularly central, and of the three times I came here (this gig, last week’s, and serendipity meant I brought a posse down the night after this to help populate the audience) the crowd was minimal. I think it’s probably down to a lack of passing traffic, more than anything else. Tonight’s crowd consisted of three sixty-ish guys from Fife, and an English woman called Liz. At the end of the show, Pearse got the acts to applaud the audience, since we outnumbered them. It was all in good fun though, and they were entertaining in their own right.
As I recall, Ed went on first, followed by Chloe Philip and then me. I knew my material would largely bypass the three older guys, and remain grateful that this set is still quite new to fellow comedians – I noticed Chloe and Matt Winning both laughing at my stuff, and am glad they were there. Debby and Ed (and Pearse) have seen the set, and it got mixed, muted responses from the other few. Not my best gig, but not my worst, and although I found it difficult playing to such a small crowd, it brought home the point, as at my SCOTY heat, that I need to work on material that will resonate with people of the older generation too. The “Mortiis” set kind of worked when I did it at Jamie Andrew’s gig, to an older crowd, so I might try and hone that. Partly it gets laughs because, I think, it is so outwith the mainstream of experience – church burnings, black metal, trolls, and then the whole getting headbutted, compering an industrial gig thing. It seems to get laughs just explaining the back story, so I’ll keep at it and see if it can be made to work consistently. Received wisdom says you learn things from every gig, most especially from the bad/mediocre ones – so that’s what I’m taking from this one.
Matt followed me, doing his Steffi Graf set. I missed it at The Stand – when I followed him – and so got to see it properly tonight, from out front. Very funny, and it makes more sense when you watch it. Alan Sharp then closed the show – I knew him by name from the comedy forum, and – more recently – for being voted one of the best one-liners of the fringe.
And that was the end of my first Fringe. Kind of, I went back through to Edinburgh the next day to see a few gigs with Sarah, Debby, Malky and Ed – Pop-Up Comedy’s nuclear family. Of the three shows I saw, Obie’s was by far the best, even though catching it meant I got back to Glasgow too late to get a train home, and had to walk to Anniesland from Queen Street. His “Jocks and Geordies” show with Dan Willis featured a few guest spots – below is an old video of my favourite, Lee Kyle, though the gig as a whole was just a brilliant end to a mental, busy, tiring, but ultimately fun week. You can see Dan and Obie’s “Funny in Fifteen Seconds” skit for the BBC here.
Next gig is covers night at The Halt on the 30th. The idea is, being sick of doing your set all festival long, and knowing each other’s sets too through repetition, you cover each other – just to break the monotony and keep it fun for everyone. My plan was to cover Connell (“with a blanket, like he’s a budgie”), but since there’s a long line of other wannabe Connells lining up I’ve decided to do someone famous instead and just avoid further toe-treading. It has a good reputation for being an enjoyable, light-hearted pisstake of an evening though, and I’m looking forward to it. Maybe see you there.*
*I wrote this blog offline, so technically it’s going online after the event. Never mind, you can read all about it when I put that blog up tomorrow. 🙂