I had hoped that not doing the podcasts this year would give me time to see other shows, or at least read some books, but so far I have not had much time to myself and I’ve just wanted to sleep or deeply relax when it comes up. I am getting to bed at about 2am due to the lateness of my show, but still waking up at 8ish. Today I snoozed on a bit further and then watched some “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, which I’ve not seen before, but enjoyed. Jerry Seinfeld is an extraordinarily sharp comedian with a great observational brain. Generally speaking that’s not my favourite type of comedy, but he’s so effortlessly great at spotting what is stupid or unusual about even the most mundane of circumstances. I am not so bothered about cars as he is, though I do like coffee, but it’s a good format and even though the chats are short they do give you an idea of the personality (and how naturally funny) his guests are.
I watched “I Killed Rasputin” again this afternoon and the cast are doing a great job, but we really need to get more audience in for it to come alive. At the Riverside Hammersmith there were big laughs apparently, but the venue here is large and we’re only getting about 50 a day in so far and it’s hard to get them laughing. I am too close to the thing to enjoy it at the moment, though the pace and performances are good. We will have to wait and see if reviews and word of mouth will be kind to us. Small audiences also mean big losses for me, but I seem to be largely over worrying about this, accepting that my fate is out of my hands. I will cope with whatever happens, though a big hit may well make coming to the Fringe again a bit difficult for me. But I am increasingly thinking that as much as I love (and hate) it here that this may no longer be the most time and cost efficient way of producing new material. I doubt this will be the last time I come to Edinburgh in August, but maybe it makes more sense for me to premiere things in London at a time when there isn’t so much competition, or on the internet. It is frustrating that I need to prove myself every year if I am going to get a decent sized audience, but I know I am still getting good houses compared to most shows. And maybe it’s not helpful for successful and semi-successful acts to clog things up for the newer people. I can’t keep working at the pace that I have adopted this year and have to focus things a little more. Maybe a year or two away from this city would do us all good. It would still be nice if I could take my (temporary) bow out with a couple of cracking and successful shows. And yeah, I know, I’ve said similar things before and yet here I still am, lingering around like a horrible fart.
Tonight’s stand up show was my best performance of the material yet, but to a fairly typically reserved Saturday night crowd. There were no drunks or hecklers in as I had feared (in fact the play was in more danger of being derailed by some men with pints on the front row who looked like they might be a problem - they were well enough behaved, but too boozed up to follow the action and they predictably left one by one), but they weren’t as laughy as yesterday’s crowd. But I have now done Edinburgh enough to realise that this is just the way Saturdays are and to keep pumping it out regardless. I really don’t quite know how or when I managed this, but I have put together a really good hour of stand-up this year and I think it’s going to be fun to do this for another three weeks. Again I could still do with a bigger crowd, but apparently there’s a really nice review coming out in the Scotsman soon, which should help push things along.
Instead of watching other shows I had spent the evening at the flat, watching TV. I had particularly enjoyed catching “All Star Family Fortunes’ which now seems to concentrate less on its quiz (perhaps recognising that Pointless is a far superior version of the same idea) and more on attempts to create comedy from the contestants. So each “celebrity”’s family is introduced by them doing little weird, badly written and (not surprisingly) poorly performed sketches about the star. They are so terrible and cringe-worthy that they actually go all the way round past infinity and become the greatest art ever created by humanity. I want them to bring out a DVD of just these sketches. In fact I would quite like them to stop doing the rubbish quiz and just do the skits for an hour. If anything the brevity at the moment is the only thing that stops them being genius. If each sketch was half an hour long then it would all be perfect. Mainly because they would probably run out of things to mock about the celeb within four minutes and really be left floundering. When I rule TV and have limitless resources All Star Family Fortunes (With No Family Fortunes), Jedwood Deadwood and Goodnight Goodnight Sweetheart Sweetheart will fill the Saturday night schedules.