I did it!
I did a whole month of shows at the Edinburgh Festival and I didn't die, kill anyone, have a nervous breakdown, get pregnant, get an STD, get punched in the face, eat a deep fried mars bar, get flu, succumb to exhaustion or sing at the karaoke!!
Although I came perilously close on the last two.
I did however, drink a lot, laugh a lot, cry on a bus, call a thirteen year old boy 'a little tit', get soaked to my pants in the rain, hug Patrick Monahan, eat Haggis, perform on the BBC stage, played a full to bursting room, played a nearly empty room and fell over playing rounders.
So I think if we were playing Edfest bingo, I pretty much got a full house.
I had a smashing month, I must say.
One of the things I struggled with this year though, was dealing with other humans.
When you do a show at the festival and you don't have a big name or a bazillion squid to pay people, you end up stood on the Royal Mile or some such heavy foot fall area, waving little pieces of card at unsuspecting punters in a desperate attempt to fill your room with human faces to listen to your lolz and therefore verify your being do far from home in the first place.
This is what is commonly referred to as 'flyering'.
There are a number of breeds of 'flyerererer' -
1. Those who stand quietly on a corner, proffering forth your pieces of paper, hoping someone will take pity and grab one. Often these are shy young girls who have volunteered to flyer for an attractive comedian in the hope they might get a selfie with him for their Facebook profile picture.
2. Those who stand quietly on a corner, trying to make eye contact with people who are under umbrellas, rushing to a show at the Underbelly, or staring at maps. Once eye contact is made, they smile desperately and try to start up a chat about the show. These are largely comedians who hate flyering for their own show and/or have lost faith in themselves, comedy and the world in general.
3. The rarest of flyerererers. Those who can effortlessly engage the men and women in the street in a jovial and chatty manner, making people desperate to receive their wares. These can be comedians or actors flyering for their own show or very occasionally are mythical creatures paid to do it for someone else while still managing to give a monkeys about anything.
4. Those pricks who rush about shouting and forcing soggy card into people's tired hands. These people are often in some sort of costume, maintain an ungodly level of joy and will sometimes break into song/mime/actoring for the viewing pleasure of anyone in the vicinity. These people need shooting.
While flyering this year in Edinburgh, I was flatly ignored by people less than a foot from my face, I was laughed at (not in a good way) by several people, scowled at, had smart arse comments thrown at me by four boys under 12 as well as actually being told to F off by a girl with pink hair.
One of my friends had a woman say to him "God, not again! Piss off and leave us alone!"
Which is nice.
The point I am trying to make is that, if you go to Edinburgh festival, please expect to get flyered by acts who need an audience. It's kind of the thing. Don't be a knob about it. Don't find yourself amusing and laugh in their face while looking around at your group of mates for approval because you just made someone with wet hair feel a bit worse about themselves.
It's easy to forget that performers are real human beings too. Yes we stand on a stage and put ourselves up for ridicule, yes, we often like a laugh at our own expense. But for many of us, our self-esteem and sense of self-worth is very much tied up in that hour of comedy you just saw. You don't have to like it. You can even go out into the street and tell the next four people you see that the show you just saw was about as funny as a punch in the nipple. Fine. Your prerogative.
But I'm hearing stories of acts who were stood next to a punter loudly slagging them off. Or another great comic who had an audience member tell him his show was the longest hour of her life.
Basically. Don't be a Dick. People don't come and stand behind your computer in HR and say rude things about your work. Don't do that to me.
Thankfully 90% of the audiences I had in my show were delight personified. And that made up for the 10% divs.
I'm sure most other acts would concur.
So thank you, if you came to see me and were jolly and pleasant. It means an awful lot. And if you see or hear someone else being unpleasant to a performer, maybe step in and remind them that we're all just trying to make our way? You don't know what battles that girl in the floral anorak is fighting. So be gentle with each other ok?
So same time next year then eh?!
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