Sometimes gigs just happen at the Edinburgh Fringe. I had planned to take most of the day off, to chill, read and advertise the podcast on the manifold of online barfing cups you can advertise a podcast on. So that's what I did for most of the day. I also wrote an article for the correspondents section on Chortle, which I shall post here if it doesn't get published by Steve Bennett.
After that, I went to see my friend Diane do her 1 hour split bill on the bus, at the Free Sisters. For people not acquainted with the Free Sisters, it's dickmagnet The Three Sisters but with lots of free comedy. Hence the clever name change. I was allowed to do 8 minutes at the end of the show by Diane and Joe. The gig was rowdy, fun and physically interesting in that due to my height, I could never really stand up properly. So I thought I'd do the gig on the stairs, one step down from the audience. Bad move. I felt like I wasn't communicating so much as shouting to the people on the bus, purely by grace of being one step lower down than they were. I then sort of clung on to the side of the stairs and continued the gig. The audience had been rowdy at the start but was completely going for it, listening intently. It's pretty cool when that happens.
Diane is a teacher, and we'd had several conversations about performing teaching. It's about asserting authority in different ways in different environments. Stand-up, although not as openly, seems to me to be similar to teaching. An audience's intelligence, as Kitson put it, is in inverse proportion to its size. That is true, but it also seems to me to have something to do with what being an audience is all about. Yes, you receive information, you process that, and sometimes there are semantic shifts or narrative doubles and you shift the mental image (because most people will always think in images) and in the gap between those comedy might occur.
The gig was lovely, although the bus was not the greatest venue I've ever played. The windows on the left were all see-through (i.e. no-one had thought to blind them) so the daylight was streaming in. That will make it more difficult to focus for act and audience alike. After that, myself, Diane and Joe had a lovely meal from what we made doing the gig. That's always a proud moment.
When I got home, myself and James Hamilton had a good 4 hour natter about life, the fringe and everything. There was fruit juice and crisps. Party 'o clock. One of the main topics is this year's anxiety about the fringe as an institution overheating. Lots of people are concerned about low audience numbers, and I am interested to see how many agencies will pull out of next year's fringe (if any will). Nobody seems to be quite sure where all the people have gone (apart from A 5 Step Guide to Being German, which I'll be playing techie at in about 3 hours).
Personally, I feel this is academic. I know that I'd love to do a split bill next year, since I do feel that it'll improve me as a stand-up. And it's just too much fun. Even if there's only 3 people in, that's still more than none (in Amsterdam...). Being on medication also helped deal with my main problem in the year I lived in England. I am now far less nervous and far more relaxed than ever. This really helps with projection and audiences making sense of the sometimes odd things I like doing with stand-up.
Tonight, I'm doing 20 minutes at the Free Sisters, Maggie's Front Room from 22:10. It'll be great, I promise. I'd love to see some of you (all of you, really) there.
P.S. Podcast-wise, we're going strong. Zoe will be editing like crazy to get them all out. We've now got a lovely website to put all of the interviews on. It's got my face on it and everything, so click on the little star and favorite it (if that's a sentence).