Saturday, 20 August 2011

A podcast, a loss of legs, light relief and yet more illness.

I have just realised I have a few days to catch up on here. To say this year's Fringe Festival is going a bit fast is something of an understatement. By doing two shows a day of my own a large chunk of my time is spent (Well, about 2pm to 9pm to be precise) just sorting stuff out and living with people for the first time in over four years has also been an adjustment so I've just not really noticed the days pass.

Boring paragraph over.

Last Tuesday evening I came back straight after "The Lastminutecomedy Club" to make my podcast Punky! Radio . It was a ground-breaking cross-border Scottish Special and the first time Tony (my Nottingham-based co-host) and myself have actually managed to record the show whilst being in two different countries at the same time. The results, I think, stand up OK. An early night followed as I was still getting over a sore throat and Wednesday promised to be a big day.

It was.

It started at 1.45pm with a disappointing performance in front of six year olds as I once again took on "Huggers", Mike Belgrave & Nick Coppin's kid-friendly family-fum show which had cruelly received a solitary one star review off some student idiot (no experience necessary) critic working for nothing for some two-bit publication who said he would "Rather stick a pool cue up his urethra" than go to the show again. It's aimed at the under-tens. How can he get angry about a show for kids? It's this kind of reviewing that is the worst aspect of The Edinburgh Festival. There are few enough family shows as it is, this particular one is free AND IS AIMED PRIMARILY AT THE UNDER TENS. I can only think the reviewer in question didn't understand the jokes. Anyway, I had another crack at it and didn't do as well as before, although in my defence, there were only about four children there. The fifteen or so adults who came in half way through (By mistake) but stayed anyway turned out to be a godsend however and pretty much laughed at everything that everyone said. I had a bit of time to kill so allowed myself a couple of pints with comedy buddies before "Tweeting Beauty" (Which I am reluctant to shorten to "TB").

My own show went relatively well and a couple of comedy mates watched it and gave relatively favourable reviews (Well we're never going to be that flattering towards each other) and I decided to treat myself by going to see Frank Sanazi (finally) after threatening to go for a while. I got a beer. His show's great fun. I posted the flyer in the previous blog so check back for details. He's running the show with his buddies Osama Bing Crosby (Although he hasn't heard from him in a while) and Saddami Davis Junior. The attention to detail is terrific and the songs are great. My particular favourites are the opener "Third Reich" (sung to the tune of "That's Life") and "Bad Bad Chairman Mau". I had to leave before the end as I had my other show to do (of course). I didn't fancy the usual Guinness so was knocking back red wine before, during and after it. The show went fine. After the gig I met up with Joss, my agent, for dinner in that Turkish place I'm always on about but whose name constantly escapes me. We drank quite a lot of red wine as well. Then we went to City Cafe where (I personally) drank quite a lot more red wine. Then I completely lost control of my legs in bizarre and comedy fashion. This left me unable to walk in a straight line but being compos mentis enough to be aware of the hilarity of my situation. I bumbled and careered around Hunters Square and up on to The Royal Mile where Joss (Acting responsibly as my agent) decided that there was no way we could go to The Loft Bar (As I had suggested, still refusing to believe that "Crazy Legs" Edwards was anything other than 100% fit) and that she should instead get me in to a taxi. One was procured, we said our goodbyes and I returned home to find an extra girl in the flat, making it a total of three brunettes and a man without the use of his lower half. I didn't stay up very long.

On Thursday I woke up with the beginnings of what has proved to be at least a 48-hour cold. Practically every comedian who comes to the festival gets "Edinburgh Flu" at some point over the three and a half weeks and it's normally blamed on a number of factors: Performing at too many shows/shouting too much whilst flyering, drinking too much/not eating properly/too many late nights but this year I'm only putting it down to one thing - the weather. The bastard weather. It's been horrendous - truly awful. We've had two or three days of biblical rain and cold followed by a few hours of sunshine to kid us thinking we can leave our umbrellas at home quickly followed by sudden darkenings of cloud and further downpours that we get caught in completely unprepared. This was unfortnate as my friend Fenella was arriving for a few days of fun in the 'Burgh and had requested my presence as her Thursday guide. Obviously I met her at "TB" (I'm only calling it that when I am suffering from it). Obviously we started drinking, obviously I took her to see Frank Sanazi, obviously we kept drinking, obviously she then came to The Lastminutecomedy Club, obviously we kept drinking. Obviously we then went for a curry on The Royal Mile. Obviously we carried on drinking. Obviously we then went to The Three Sisters to catch a bit of the "Shaggers" show. Obviously we then went to The Loft Bar, obviously the booze flowed as we bumped into Radio 5's Bobby Prior, comedian Jools Constant, Rayguns Look Real Enough, Ian Franklin, Kevin Shepherd, Laura Levites, Wouter Meijs and other people that I will no doubt be reminded of. Obviously (As we all carried on drinking) they all told me how hilarious I had been on Monday night (Remember that? I don't). Obviously I was relieved to find that I had only been entertaining and not unduly offensive. I was particularly pleased not to have upset Laura (The American comediienne par excellence) as I was absolutely convinced I had. Obviously we were still there at 3am. Obviously I was leathered again.

If I've learnt anything from that experience it's that if you're planning on going up to a promoters/agents/comedians/movers&shakers bar with the intent of apologising to anyone you see for your drunken actions on a previous visit, it's probably best not to get smashed before you go up there.

Another aspect of Thursday had been the rather unexpected involvement of the Corporate Comedy Monolith that is "Avalon". Avalon are a very large UK comedy agency and yesterday afternoon called me to see if I could fit one of their acts, Lee Nelson, onto the bill at TLMCC. I said of course and for him to show up at 7.30pm. They called me back an hour or so later to say that since they were letting me have Lee Nelson for TLMCC that they wanted to know what time he was going on. I explained that they could name the time that suited them as I was flexible, but pointed out that I was letting their act do my gig and not the other way around. At 10.30pm the ycalled again, this time saying that as they were doing me a favour and letting me have Lee Nelson, that I  had to tell them exactly what time he would be on stage was he was very busy. I pointed out that I  was doing themthe favour, that I didn't care whether Lee Nelson showed up or not, that it was 10.30pm at night and that I was out with friends. I put the phone down. The next afternoon I got a lovely text from Avalon confirming that Lee would be with me for 7.30pm and would it be ok if he went on first. I said, of course. He showed up with three other people from Avalon who all came in to watch him. He did really well. He was really funny and to be fair they were really nice. When they promptly upped sticks as soon as he left the stage and went to walk out I screamed at them "Put some money in the bucket! You are Avalon the multi-million pound comedy company feared across the lands! Put money in my bucket!" You know what - they did, even Lee Nelson himself - and they weren't tight about it either. I reckon there was an extra twelve quid in the bucket thanks to them and I am going to give it all to Amnesty International.

Oh there'll be some photos to go with this blog when I get a minute but I'm in a rush now...

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