Here’s how some of the Irish comedians at the fringe got on over the weekend. Previously
So that’s that. Day one of my first Edinburgh Fringe over.
As it’s my debut Fringe, I decided to make things difficult on my myself by doing two shows a day: a split show with Aidan Greene called “Cavan the Craic” (we’re both from Cavan, we didn’t pick a random county for the sake of a limited pun), and my solo show “Dysmorphin’ Time!”.
The Cavan show is a nice, relaxed affair, with Aidan and I sharing hosting duties as well a having a guest act everyday. Handy stuff. My solo show is an attempt to discuss my struggles with body dysmorphia and inability to relate to masculinity. Those cliche comedy chestnuts.
The big worry with coming to a festival where you’re competing with literally thousands of other shows is not having an audience to perform to. Somehow, both shows were full today which was such a huge relief. The Cavan show was a perfect first show to have. Lovely audience members, little noise bleed from elsewhere in the venue, and strong sets from everyone (today’s guest was ire magnet Ryan Cullen)
An hour later I found myself in front of a full Whistlebinkies, the most twee name you’re likely to find on a rock bar. And an hour after that, I was sitting at the back of the bar, counting my earnings, and over-thinking my midshow interactions with a few rather disruptive audience members. Rather than be annoyed at them for disrupting the show, I was annoyed at myself for letting them affect my performance and in turn the experience of the other audience.
A lot of fringe veterans (which is what I also called reformed scene kids) assured me before I came over that “it’s all a learning experience”. One day in and I absolutely understand what the mean.
Day 2. What the hell happened? Had a good gig with The Irish Alternative. 8 people, £15. Result! Next was Jed Marshall’s Titter Truck. If you’d told me one of the greatest experiences of my life would be in the back of a white van with ten strangers, I’d have told you my dogging days are behind me. But this gig was amazing. I spent the rest of the day recommending it to other comics. After that was me playing Donald Trump while a brilliant Irish comic named John Sheehan interviewed me about my connections with the KKK as Trevor McDonald at the end of his show in the White Horse. So much fun.
Everything changed when I was flyering for the last gig of the night, a late night Amsterdam comp show I blagged my way onto. Five drunk assholes refused a flyer and proceeded to grab me and try to pull me to the ground. After telling them to fuck off and fighting back, they left laughing. I was angry and now I had to go upstairs and do comedy. When I arrive upstairs I find out there’s a heckler who’s been ruining the show for all the comics. What I did next was wrong, unprofessional and I feel ashamed of myself. I got on stage furious and asked the audience to join me in a sing song, I then proceeded to point at the heckler and sing the words “you’re a cunt” over & over again for about a minute. Everybody joined in. The guy’s demeanour changed. His face was red, his eyes became glassy & for a second I thought he might cry. Being rejected by a room full of people is one of the most horrible feelings you can experience as a human being and I was the guy who did it to him. I was bullied and instantly became the bully. I suck. Promising myself I’ll never do something like that again, I make my way home. Day 3 will be different.
Day 3. Day 3? It feels like I’ve been here a week. My two comedy comrades, Roger O’ Sullivan, Cornelius Patrick O’ Sullivan & myself are sitting around the apartment discussing conspiracy theories when we realise our show is on in an hour, we are about that length of time away from our venue and we’ve done no flyering. Leaving ancient aliens & Nibiru behind, we sprint/walk briskly to the bus stop. We arrive some time later with a few minutes to spare to a nearly packed out room(16 people! Double yesterday’s draw) and proceed to have a great show. We make £15. Roger heads off with his girlfriend to spend his earnings on a coffee. Cornelius spends his on an antioxidant rich watermelon juice. I buy donuts. I do one more gig, eat some nandos and head to bed at 9pm. Rock and roll.
This is my fourth day of the fringe. I’ve got ten more to go. I’m not counting down the days but I need to start keeping track of them. At the moment it’s just a blur of good gigs, bad food, pints & power naps. Today I played to a family of four in the back of a van, the Oranges. Lovely people, they liked me too but such a surreal experience. They, along with the homeless guy I ate spag bol with & the flyerer who offered me weed, promised to come to see our show tomorrow. I believe none of them.
It’s funny Edinburgh for me has dominated my working mind since January. I have done countless gigs in preparation for it. Written and rewritten then scrapped it all and started again. Then yesterday at my second show I scrapped my last eight months work and did material from five years ago. Why? I’m not sure. I think maybe it’s cause the vision I’ve had of here and the reality of what it actually is are poles apart and it drove me temporary insane.
There were three of us flyering again yesterday. Pretty hard too, yet eight turned up to see the show. That’s one more than the previous day. An optimistic would say we are getting there a pessimist on the other hand would argue that we are pissing against the wind. Im somewhere in the middle right now. All eight came from the Fringe app that suggests a show close to where you are located and seeing that our venue is closer to Aberdeen than the Royal mile maybe eight was a great crowd.
It was my turn to close the show and my two comrades did reasonably well prior to me but as you can imagine it’s pretty difficult to whip eight audience members into a frenzy. I decided impulsively to do my show bare foot ( I’ve hurt my ankle and my shoes are uncomfortable ) and in my underpants.
Maybe today I’ll keep my clothes on.
Day 5; My wife is six months pregnant. I’m so guilty being away, however she is more supportive than the new maternity bra she bought in Pennies. Her backing is so important and we are in constant contact. Thank god for facetime. Moderne technology is amazing. If it were not for it I could not see and chat to her every day and also no one would come to my show.
See what I did there? A little segway back to my journey here. Flyering is not working. Today, Monday I had eight in at my show. The capacity is twentyish so that’s not bad. Particularly for a Monday when shows often get cancelled at the festival. They all, bar one, came from the program and the app. I’m getting into a flow now too and starting to feel really feel good about myself and my material. It’s strange performing at 1:15pm. Folk are less likely to be pissed and much more critical. So getting laughs is a real sign you’re doing something right. I have ten days left here. I know when I’m home I’ll have withdrawal symptoms but one thing is for sure…. If you fancy yourself at all as a comedian…. You must show up here every year. Okay I’m off to ring the wife. Later. Cornelius..
The Edinburgh Fringe is all about broadening your artist horizons. With that in mind I’ve decided to express my experiences of the first few days in the form of a haiku.
Tough gigs Testing emotions
Will Make you stronger?