Tag: stand-up

Fringe Diary #4

Ah, yesterday was lovely, just lovely. But also I think I have scurvy? Like, really really quickfire scurvy?

Or I just ate a really pointy chip and it’s making my gums bleed.

Anyway, don’t panic, Mum and Dad.

Back to yesterday! Yep, fab day, chilled out, got a little taste of the mad world of flyering for punk rock comedy, Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show, which yes I can say five times fast, thank you. I turned up to the Location at 5pm sharp to be ushered upstairs by Kate and Lyris. They handed me a Hello Kitty hat, some flyers, some stickers, a promo t-shirt for their band, Slanty-Eyed Mamas. (They said it would be fine for me to wear.)

Now some of you reading this may think you know me. But you will never truly know me until you have seen me react to someone trying to hand me something in the street.
Usually I will automatically beam like a toddler at anyone smiling at me, before suddenly I realise what’s going on and make a split-second decision (split-second decisions are decidedly not my strong point) whether I want the flyer or not, whether it’d be best to just take it to please the person or leave it with them so that they don’t waste a flyer, and usually what happens is whether I take it or not, I’ll yelp something like “THANKS SORRY YOU SEEM NICE THOUGH BYE!”

So it was nice to be on the other side of that for a change, doing an hour of intensive flyering on the Mile as Slanty-Eyed Mamas (sorry) played some great and obscene music about stereotypes of Asian feminine sexuality. For some reason I only handed flyers to 100-year-old people with furrowed brows, and tiny children.

My gig that night went well, too! I’d briefly met up with my brother, his fiancee and some friends at The Auld Hoose, home to the largest nachos in Edinburgh which ARE THE VERY SAME NACHOS FROM THE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENT OF THIS DIARY. I do know this city! So I was in a cracking mood before the gig, having wolfed down an egg-cress sandwich very much behind a wheelie bin and definitely in the rain, which is my favourite meal. I unexpectedly opened the gig and it was no problem. I felt amped, a little tense but calm and excited for the show, i.e. the ideal mood.

By this point I’d realised that however well the early part of the set goes, to my mind it hasn’t been a success unless I get that big closing laugh. The length of my slot increased since there weren’t as many people, going up unexpectedly went from 5 to 7 minutes. So I did at first just chill out, riff a little, and talk to the crowd, which I’m getting fonder and fonder of doing as I get more confident on stage. But the extra time meant I didn’t find my way to an ideal, heavy-hitting closing line. I got a laugh at the last joke but it felt like a connector, not an ending.

Now … I could have just said “thanks, I’ve been Josie Parkinson, goodnight!” and felt a bit stupid and lukewarm about the gig.

Or, you could do what I did, which was say [and this is verbatim] “I’m gonna go now, so, um could you do me a favour and just laugh really loudly?”

And they flippin’ well did! Listen, here’s proof:


Anyway I have to go wash a bunch of make-up off my face and get to a show. I’m going to be performing at Cosmic Comedy 19-22 Aug at Espionage Edinburgh. Promo GIF below:

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Lizard Man

Lizard Man

I hardly slept last night because everything was too funny. Yes, everything.

Okay so to begin with, I need to tell you about my first ever stand-up gig in Berlin. I’d been here a week and got sick in record time. I woke up the morning of the gig and tried to yawn and some kind of hoarse ancestral howl came out instead. “Oh!” I thought. “Well, as long as I don’t have to say any audible words during my stand-up set, we’ll be fine.”

My solution was to cobble together a really high-energy routine and undercut it by wearing a bathrobe and coughing a lot, and then just hope that the steady and unwavering stream of snot making its way down my face wouldn’t affect my stage presence too much. You know: comedy.

Once I staggered to the venue it was clear that it was not at all the right crowd. They were chatty and sarky and it occurred to me to be very terrified. I backtracked from the original idea, got up on stage, and realised that this now meant that I had nothing prepared. But was still wearing the bathrobe with a box of tissues stuffed into the pocket because obviously that part was rock solid.

Of course, I bombed. In a bathrobe. I somehow sounded both way too sick and not sick enough, I was all over the place, I popped weird German painkillers onstage.

 

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this is actually how i went onstage

After the show, I was chatting to some of the other acts, who were being quite sweet about how terribly I’d done. A young bloke came up to me and said “I really enjoyed your set – it was – you know, there was something very poetic about it…”

He was quite charming, very talkative. As he spoke, I was running the numbers: he was in his twenties, I guess quite attractive, I was obviously gross and sick, but then it was a very dark room…

Then I came back to the conversation and heard him say: “So, I’m still somewhat sceptical, I’m still reading about the lizard people theory; in my view, perhaps Donald Trump isn’t a lizard man in a skin suit per se, but certainly a snake or an insect person…”

Ah.

So that gig was pretty much a total failure, (or not quite – I did get friended by Lizard Man on Facebook) but it was as good a way as any to get my start on stage here. I didn’t take it too much to heart – that was a month ago now and I’ve done many more successful gigs since then, in a newly-created character of a healthy person.

Last night, I was up at Monday Night Mics, my tenth gig in Berlin. Someone from university I hadn’t seen in years came along, which was a little surreal, but really lovely. (Shout out to Chris!)

I go up and do my act, effectively, lot of stories about dating, my rubbish taste in men, and my Berlin romances so far, of which there have been, surprisingly, any!

Partway through my set, a guy walks in. It’s dark but it looks like a guy I’ve been seeing here. “Ah, that’s sweet of him,” I think. He goes and sits down at the back as I finish my set with a joke about that weird lizard man guy I met after my first gig here. Pleased with how I’ve done, I bound towards the back of the room and it’s only when I’m a step from my seat that I realise that this wasn’t my guy, but Lizard Man himself.

“Oh, God!” I announce to no one.

Lizard Man is already coming up to me, greeting me, and I can’t tell if his tone is angry or amused or reptilian.

But he smiles and says, “You can use me in your comedy anytime.”

Phew!

“…It’s actually really good that you’re giving this theory more exposure…”

Ah.

Soon I’m trapped in his own private discussion of the merits of comedy for spreading conspiracy theories, which he is going into with a Quentin Tarantino-style intensity while Chris has uselessly gone off to bum cigarettes from strangers.

I eventually extract myself and run to the toilets, where I text Chris “Omg please save me from lizard man”. This is a request that he either doesn’t see or interprets somewhat creatively, as when I come back from the bathroom, the two of them – Chris from my year at university, and Lizard Man – are playing table football together.

You know: comedy.