When I started the Malcolm Hardee memorial shows in 2006 followed, in 2007, by the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Shows, I realised I was in a win-win situation. If the shows were a shambolic mess, I would get credit for honouring the true spirit of Malcolm. If they went smoothly, I would get credit for putting together a good show in his memory.
In a sense, I welcome chaos.
The Awards themselves were thought-up not just to get me free access to Edinburgh Fringe comedy shows for ten years but because the existing Fringe awards had got a bit stale and serious.
So there was – if you want to look at it that way – bad news AND good news for me yesterday.
A bit of rising chaos.
First of all, in the morning, it turned out that a show was listed as not following on from our show after a decent gap but actually overlapping us in the same venue. They were due to start at 0045. We were due to end at 0100. That was sorted. Our show will end spot-on 0100 and they will start slightly late, with us encouraging our audience to see their show.
Then, in the middle of yesterday afternoon’s Grouchy Club show, an act who had, two days before, agreed to appear in Friday’s increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show, said he had decided to abort the whole of the rest of his own Fringe show’s run and return to London.
Shortly afterwards, it turned out there was a show in the same venue as our Friday Malcolm Hardee show which was not billed on the Free Festival listings but which was billed in the main Fringe Programme and which ended at 2315. Our show starts at 2300. This was sorted-out by agreeing to start the Malcolm show slightly later than billed, as soon as the previous show ends.
Last year, we had to turn people away from the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show. We were full.
Who knows what chaos may ensue when we start late this year?
My advice: get there early to ensure a seat. Be physically prepared with sandwiches. Be psychologically prepared for cannibalism. Allegedly we may start 20 minutes late. But I have not yet won the Lottery.
More chaos will ensue because this year’s show is being videoed for a charity DVD/download release.
A few months ago, I got an e-mail from Colin Simpson of AVProductions.
“We’re a small cottage industry based in Durham,” it said. “We’ve got a lot of comedians up for filming their DVDs this summer/after the Fringe and we’ve just filmed a TV pilot with Phill Jupitus and Ross Noble.
“But I’m looking forward to the Fringe right now and can think of nothing better to get us started than a charity DVD of the show I had the most fun at last year. It was beyond brilliant last year: I was sat at the front of the audience between Tanya Lee and Stewart Lee and, aye, I bloody loved it!
“Basically, we’re working for free/for expenses now as we build our name up, so a charity gig is a great idea, I’m a full-time carer for my gran so I have that £59 a week carer’s allowance to live on while I spend every spare hour I have editing stuff together that I’ve filmed.
“We have all the industry standard equipment – over £15,000 worth of cameras – but now I’m stuck in Durham looking after me gran I’m trying to replicate what I was doing at BBC 6 Music, but with comedy as well as music.”
So three cameras will be videoing this year’s increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show on Friday just after 11.00pm sometime. Profits from the DVD/downloads will go to Kate Copstick’s Mama Biashara charity as will (as every year) any donations made by the audience at the end of the stage show.
I do not cover any of my costs in staging the show and take no money of any kind in any way.
The video crew are shooting the stage show and editing the result for free. They will recover the physical cost of producing DVDs etc and the actual cost of selling the end result. But they will take no profit of any kind. I will take no money of any kind. All profit goes to Mama Biashara.
If it all falls apart, if it will be a fitting tribute to Malcolm.
That will be my position.
The show will include the official Scottish national Russian Egg Roulette Championships.
It may – or may not – also include a series of comedians doing impressions of comic Lewis Schaffer.
Lewis Schaffer will judge which is best and will give a fish to the winner.
What could go wrong?
About a week before I came up to the Fringe, I had a check-up at my dentist. He said one tooth might cause problems, but he was loathe to touch it in case it triggered anything during the Fringe.
Last week, the tooth started giving me slight, intermittent twinges. Paracetamol has been bought.
Yesterday, I left my iPhone/iPad charger somewhere. Possibly in the Pleasance’s Brooke’s Bar or in the Underbelly’s Abattoir. Possibly not. The very very amiable staff at both have not had it handed in. It is a white iPhone charger with a panda on it. Yes it is.
Last night the toilet cistern in my rented flat started being iffy on the flush. No shit.
I thought: Phew! I am safe now. That’s the Rule of Three things going wrong – tooth, charger and toilet cistern.
This morning the bulb in the tiny, windowless toilet/shower room of my rented flat died.
I think a plague of locusts may be about to descend on me.