Friday, 11 August 2017

The Stand (Not by Stephen King).

Today’s show went back to being fun again, after the quietness of the day before.

Setting up for today.
Performing comedy is like an exercise in psychology. I find it fascinating how two similar-sized audiences can respond so differently from one day to the next, often due to how comfortable they feel about the numbers in the room. Both today and yesterday’s shows had less than ten in, and while today’s crowd were very vocal, yesterday’s seemed self conscious and ever so slightly perplexed, like they’d wandered into the room not expecting a performance to be happening at the far end of it, but didn’t want make a scene by leaving

I always try to establish from the off that the audience size doesn't make me feel awkward in the hope this will help everyone relax, but it doesn’t always work. It’s like when you go to an event you’ve been looking forward to for ages, but when it comes to it, you start to over-think things and don’t settle and end up not having the good time you’d hoped you'd have as a result. You often need a few big laughs early on at a small comedy gig for the audience to feel they’re allowed to make noise, as without them it can wind up being silent throughout, which only ramps up the sense of unease; today people got on board very quickly, whereas yesterday, everybody’s buttocks remained tightly clenched throughout (you don’t want to know how I know this).

While today’s show was one of the most enjoyable so far, the lead-up was pretty fraught. I received an email yesterday afternoon from the comic Daniel Cook - who’s in the space after me and is sharing some of my equipment - to say my projector stand had broken post-show. He told me he’d ordered a replacement on Amazon, but it wouldn’t arrive until too late for today, but he’d do his best to temporarily patch the old one up so it would be usable in the meantime. He was hugely apologetic and it really couldn’t be helped, but it still put me in a panic, mainly as I had some industry people coming today and didn’t want to have to compromise my set-up.

No sooner did I receive his email than I began furtively Googling for somewhere nearby where I could pick up a temporary replacement. Thankfully I found a company quickly that hired out AV equipment at a reasonable price, but they closed in less than an hour. I phoned and reserved a stand, before my wife and I sped to Waverley Station in hope of hailing a taxi to take us to the company’s base at an industrial unit close to where the Royal Yacht Britannia is docked (for point of reference). Unfortunately the queue for cabs was way too long, so I phoned the shop to say we'd come over to pick it up the next morning instead.

Me, doing a one-man Please Please Me before carrying the projector stand up the stairs to my digs.
Spin forward to today and my wife took the taxi to collect the stand for me to save time while I got ready for the show, before we carried it in two pieces to the venue. It took me a long time to get it set at the right height for my screen, but I eventually managed to sort it with minutes to spare; there’s nothing like sailing close to the edge.

My wife and I prove we're hot, at the Camera Obscura.
After the show was finished my wife and I turned into tourists, enjoying a lovely meal at a Mexican restaurant on the Royal Mile, before visiting the Camera Obscura. It was nice to do something entirely un-show-related, particularly after the stress of the previous evening. Tonight, we’re off to watch Phil Kay, as it frankly isn't the Edinburgh Fringe without him.

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