The second (25 minute) Grouchy Club weekly podcast went online last night. Comedy critic Kate Copstick and I recorded it immediately after a live Grouchy Club show at Arlene Gorodensky-Greenhouse‘s Jewish Comedy Day in the London Jewish Cultural Centre.
It was edge-of-the-seat stuff for Copstick and me, as we both had diarrhoea and had been told not to mention the Holocaust.
There was a high percentage of comedians in the audience at yesterday’s live show and one asked: “What makes a good Edinburgh Fringe show?”
“Honesty and passion,” Copstick told her, “both of which are in increasingly short supply, because now too many people just want to be on telly. They don’t really want to be stand-up comics. They want to be presenters, so they’re just looking for the shortest possible route through all the nastiness, which is stand-up.
“The most wonderful shows I’ve seen are all about passion, about honesty. I saw shows in tents, halfway up The Mound; I saw shows that only lasted 15 minutes. They’re the special ones. What the Fringe is for, especially now we’ve got the Free Fringe, is passion and honesty and doing what you want to say your way.
“If it’s your first time, then it’s finding out what sticks to the wall. NOT thinking: Ooh! I’ll do an hour by numbers because it’s just what the Fosters judges are looking for. There are hundreds of those shows at the Fringe. It’s about finding out what your USP is. A comic should have a real, burning personality and a voice that should not be like anybody else’s – otherwise, what the fuck are you doing as a stand-up?”
I added: “What’s going to be interesting, by definition, is something the audience has never seen before. If you’ve seen it before, it’s not going to be as interesting. If a comic is doing something vaguely similar to someone else, they should dump it.”
“Unless,” Copstick argued, “you’re doing it much better than them.”
“Even so,” I said, “it wouldn’t be THAT interesting. If you’re doing it better, you’re probably doing it in a slightly different way.”
The Grouchy Club will be back at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, running daily 14th-30th August at 3.45-4.45pm.
Later yesterday, in the Grouchy Club podcast, Copstick made an appeal to stand-up comics:
“If anyone has a comedy show that is on between 3.00pm and 5.00pm, then do feel free to get in touch with me (email@example.com) and try to get me to come and see your show before 14th August. If you are one of these highfalutin comics with some expensive PR who is going to turn round and say something to me like: Ummm… (insert name)’s show is not quite ready yet; we’d like you to come after the 19th, then fuck you!
“If your show is on between those two times – 3.00pm and 5.00pm – I can only really come before the 14th, because I would not want to leave John on his own, because he might not be on form. At the moment, his creativity is leaping out in diarrhoea-coloured fluid from his little clenched bottom as we speak.”
And that is why Copstick is the doyenne of Edinburgh Fringe comedy reviewers. Honesty, passion and a vivid turn of phrase.
I had an edge-of-the-seat ride home on the train.