Yesterday’s Grouchy Club was fairly full and, on the audio recording, not perfect with the sound of a fan – well, we actually had two fans, something the Laughing Horse Free Festival is very good at providing for stuffy Fringe rooms.
When Kate Copstick and I arrived, we found a small brown ‘willy warmer’ aka ‘cock sock’ on the floor. No surprise there. This is the Edinburgh Fringe.
The educational part of yesterday’s Grouchy Club for me, though, was comedian Luca Cupani telling us that some woman had been putting on a show in which she told people’s future from reading their cocks. I’ve heard of people looking into crystal balls, but this was a new one. Comic Paul Ricketts told us that the woman had discovered her ability “at a party” though it was unclear what sort of party and, indeed, how she read the future in men’s cocks. There were a couple of feminist queries about whether she could read ladies’ futures. But sadly she has now left Edinburgh, so we can’t ask her.
Paul Ricketts was also able to tell us about his adventure the previous day in which he performed a comedy event – Now Wash Your Hands – Again! – at all of the Big Four fringe venues.
Well, more specifically, he had performed a comedy show with guests in the gents toilets in all four venues.
“It was done,” he told us, “to protest at the unreasonably high cost of the Big Four venue rooms by performing one show within each of the four venues’ toilets on one afternoon.”
He was angrily ejected by staff at the Underbelly and Gilded Balloon, politely ejected by the Pleasance and, of the four, only Assembly wholeheartedly embraced the concept.
There is a brief video of Paul’s toilet crawl on youTube.
His quick rundown of the previous afternoon’s events is:
1. The Pleasance Courtyard – only Chella Quint, who was going to sing a song about menstruation, turned up for the four guest spots. Chella hid in the gents toilet cubicle awaiting her introduction but unfortunately we were thrown out (very politely) before that could happen. A disappointed audience of four were ushered away.
2. The Underbelly (Cowgate) – An enthusiastic crowd of eight turned up with more trying to get in but, after 7 minutes, a very annoyed member of staff ejected us from the building. He asked if we had permission to perform or film. We said No… He was very confused: “You’re filming in the toilets,” he stammered. “It doesn’t make any sense!”
3. The Gilded Balloon (Teviot Place) – A tough toilet to perform in. Too big, too empty, too bright, too many urinals for my taste. We did 15 minutes but only one bloke stayed for the whole show.
4. The Assembly (George Square) – The disabled/baby change toilet was perfect. It was easy to flyer potential audience members and even fellow comedian Jimeoin thought it was “a good idea and a good venue”… But unfortunately had just been to the toilet. A lovely audience of five turned up after our first punter came in, stood on my iPhone and then pulled the door behind him to use the convenience for its intended purpose. A member of the Assembly staff came in to have a look, laughed and let the show continue.
“Was it worth it?” I asked Paul.
“I made £2.15p,” he told me, “but we proved that you can perform in the Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly venues without paying thousands of pounds – as long as you’re prepared to do it in the smallest room.
It seemed suitable – having established the level of humour – that standout shows I saw yesterday included Christ on a Bike – a fine show in which the Saviour, St Peter, Mary Magdalene and the ‘Three Wise Men’ (ladies with skimpy skirts and painted-on beards) gyrated and sang for an hour courtesy of The Voodoo Rooms, this year doing good business with bad taste. I look forward to Mohammed on a Moped next year.
My evening was rounded off by Miss Behave’s Gameshow, with a riotously happy audience split between iPhone owners and ‘Others’. I got a point for the iPhone owners by being the oldest person in the room. If only I got £5 for every time this was the case. I think there is more to develop in Miss Behave’s Gameshow, as there is an admirable foundation of cynicism underpinning the whole thing demonstrating that, in life, fairness and honesty are not what you should expect.
Returning back at my flat around midnight – fairly early for the Fringe – there was an e-mail from Andy Dunlop, President of the World Egg Throwing Federation.
In this blog three days ago, I mentioned he was in the the cardiac care unit of Lincoln Hospital sniffing nitroglycerin.
His message last night told me:
Just back from operating theatre. 5 cm of artery completely blocked. Rodded. Two stents fitted. Morphine wearing off a bit. No pain, just zonked. Won’t be allowed to travel to Edinburgh. Have a good one.
The annual national Scottish Russian Egg Roulette Championships will be supervised by his deputy, John Deptford, during the increasingly prestigious two-hour Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show at the Counting House, Edinburgh, on Friday 28th August.