I have watched quite a number of shows today and even the earlier ones have had crowd control issues. Particularly the free shows which have been plagued by marauding groups of drunks. It is raining. The streets are full of drunks, angry wet drunks.
I can only imagine what my show has in score for me. I feel tired.
I have also been watching other acts today and particularly North American acts and how they commit.
On the contrary my audience file in in silence. This is never a good sign. If they don’t even have rapport with themselves what the hell am I supposed to do with them. One of the first groups to enter are a group of men who immediately take the back most row. I hate them already. People like that clearly don’t want to engage and are committed to the show to the bear minimum.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a group of lads occupy the very front row, boisterous and full of cheap cocktails. One of them stands up holding court, I can see that they are going to be a problem already. They are physically intimidating and will probably destroy the show. I am already very angry at various member of the audience for things they haven’t even done yet. I stand ranting at the fire escape.
I do not feel ready or mentally prepared tonight. But the clock is ticking on and I introduce myself from the sound desk.
As I step on stage, my tiredness has evaporated and I start almost as if mid sentence. The energy from my pre-show ranting is evident. My energy and focus and very good as I launch into the opening moments of the show. I find the tone of each bit really easily. I am wrong about the group of lads at the front they are clearly into it and supportive, also getting some of the more obscure references. Perhaps I shouldn’t judge people but then where would that get us?
The opening couple of routines land really well and I already have the audience on side. I get that thrill that only comes from a strong opening. A mixture of pleasure that it has started so well and anxiety that I can only screw it up from here.
I am as realised as I have ever been in this run and my confidence is up.
I tag the punchline at the end of “suicide” it works really well I cannot remember what I said. I don’t even know if it is any good or just works in the confidence of the moment.
The slow starts to flag a bit at around 40 minutes. The energy drops here every night. I cannot work out whether my energy is dropping or whether it is the material. I suspect it is the material. All the bits here work individually but together it doesn’t seem to build at all. The Vodka Girl - Safe Word- Teddy Bear has been a constant source of frustration to me but is now become more evident because I have fixed a lot of faults in the earlier part of the show. Nevertheless while I feel the rhythm is off here and it doesn’t have the momentum I want by the time I get to WW1 v WW2 I turn it around. Probably based on sheer genuine enthusiasm for the topic. I feel like ending the show here as it has crescendoed. Teddy Bear Girl does fine but the Trump material at the end dips. Nevertheless I make it sound like an end and bring all the strands together.
This is the first performance of my show that I am really happy with. Most bits landed. It had a momentum that I have found difficult to generate in that room and then end felt like an end to a show rather than just a conclusion to a bit of stand up.
I was sharp tonight although I was aware of occasionally grappling for the correct word when I was ad-libbing. This may be the first signs of Edinburgh fatigue in and/or cognitive deterioration.
The instinct for a stand up is always to ease yourself in as there is no compere. But in “a show” you really have to hit the ground running and this feels counter-intuitive to me. I think this is the first year I have really learned that.