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Getting Comedy to the Edinburgh Fringe

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As I'm writing this, I'm worried. August and the Fringe are rapidly approaching, and I'm rapidly losing faith in anything I've ever written. Next month I've got to perform my first solo hour of comedy 25 times; I don't know if the show is ready and I have no idea if anyone will come.

I shouldn't be so worried, previews have gone well and people tell me the show is good - but what do they know? I'm having flash backs to the first time I went up four years ago - I was meant to be doing 20 minutes of material every day.

I, like most new comedians, had made the mistake of thinking that just because I'd done a well received 20-minute set, that I had 20 minutes of material. That may have been the case in that small friendly London club where some of the audience knew me, but when you're performing in the early afternoon to handful of Edinburgh locals who just walked in off the street; that's when your 20 minutes of gold starts to look more like 10 minutes of bronze.

To entertain a small group of random people, you need to have rock solid material. And I'm suddenly stricken with a fear that my quasi-intellectual surreal nonsense won't cut the mustard for a whole hour! Which is why I'm making brutal last minute changes; cutting out stuff that requires background knowledge, cutting out the stuff that is harder to grasp, cutting out the things I personally love but just aren't as funny.

Comedy is all about confidence, which is one of my biggest problems. If I start to lose confidence in my material, the audience loses confidence in me, and the whole show goes tits up. This is why I'm doing my best now to make the show as water tight as possible.

But try as I may it's never going to be something that appeals to everyone. I try to hit a lot of different niches (if that's possible); doodles, animations, data-analysis, government. And while that is four different things that could appeal, that's also four different things that may alienate. What if people come expecting an hour of hardcore data-analysis, and are then disgusted by the prevalence of whimsical animal based jokes?

I guess my concern is that this is the first year I'm actually asking people to pay to come see me. I had a good 40-minute show last year, but that was free entry. Why on earth would anyone pay to see me?

So in reaction to that concern, I've spent a small fortune promoting the show, and realistically there is no way I'm making a profit. So this has caused another concern; have I wasted a large amount of money?! Does anyone even pay attention to posters? Does anyone actually look at flyers? Who actually reads the adverts in magazines?

To do the Fringe properly is an expensive undertaking. All in all I've spent close to ten grand putting on Truth Doodler, so I'm hoping the audience doesn't find it underwhelming. Anyway, I've invested too much time and money into this year's show to waste anymore time writing this blog.

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