When I first found out my stand up show at the Edinburgh Fringe would be at 11:30 PM every night, I'll admit I was a little panicked. First of all, if I wasn't a comedian, I gotta fess up and admit I'd probably head to bed at about 8:00, maybe 8:45 on a kicking evening. So 11:30 sounded like a fake time to me, a time where no one exists in an awake state except comics driving home from gigs, or lorry drivers hauling Tesco sandwiches somewhere. And you know, hookers.
Second, I instantly pictured the worst of crowds - the beyond drunk variety who swagger in and yell strange heckles like "I'm your Daddy!" (True story. I think I replied with "That's nothing to be proud of." Then he fell over).
So far, I've been very pleasantly surprised. It seems people are much more rock n' roll than I thought, and actually go to shows not only at 11:30 PM, but EVEN LATER, the troopers! How long has this special world-after-10 PM existed? I have a vague recollection of it in my 20s but I thought it stopped going once I did.
And although I've indeed had some punters for which I should have put out leaflets for the nearest AA chapter, no one has yet shouted that they're any relation to me. In fact, I've had that feeling of relief that I'd imagine a lot of comics doing their first hour get when they realise people are coming to see them: being flipping delighted that people are in the seats, whatever state they're in, tuned in to your carefully coddled rantings.
My show is about how I was a psychotherapist before I became a comic, and at one point I direct the audience to look at the clock I've put up on the wall. It's the same clock I had in my clinical office and it serves as a prop for a bit I do about harshly ending therapy sessions on time - but it's also handy as a reminder of where I'm at in my set, too.
Each night I seem to glance over when it's exactly midnight and each time I've had the same surreal thought: I'm in Edinburgh. It's midnight. And I'm shouting into a mic and sweating through my clothes with the effort. Is this normal?
I love that for the next month I'm in a place where it totally is.
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