“You should consider Lewis Schaffer for the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Award for comic originality,” Lewis Schaffer told me yesterday. “I’m so original people are starting to imitate me.”
“No-one could imitate you,” I told Lewis Schaffer.
“Yeah, they’re starting,” said Lewis Schaffer, “I saw this young comic who said he had done 1,000 bad shows.”
“And was he,” I asked, “too young to have done that?”
“Well, I don’t know if he had done it. I’m not saying I am the only failure in town, but I think people are realising it’s very easy to be a success at being a failure because most comedians are failures. There is heavy competition for my spot as the premier failing comic in the business.”
“And for this reason,” I asked, “we should nominate you for the increasing prestigious Malcolm Hardee Award for comic originality?”
“Well,” argued Lewis Schaffer, “when people come and see my show, they say: God! I’ve never seen anything like it. That means it’s original.”
Everyone has to have a publicity angle in Edinburgh.
For me, yesterday, it was worth seeing Cassie Atkinson & Oh Standfast (Graham Goddard)’s Comedy In Progress show simply for the reference to the great Dudley Sutton who has one of the great unpublished autobiographies, as evidenced by his 2003 and 2006 Fringe shows Killing Kittens and Pandora’s Lunchbox. Anyone who mentions Dudley Sutton is OK with me.
Then I bumped into Italian comic Giada Garofalo in the rain about 20 minutes before her show started. She had been feeling ill, it was raining quite heavily and she had done no flyering, so expected me to be the only member of her audience for Live in the Staff Room (Sex, Fairy Tales, Serial Killers and Other Stuff). The second half of the title is very commercial; the first half not-so much.
But people in the full-to-overflowing audience yesterday seemed to have come simply because of the word-of-mouth. There were people listening to the show from the corridor because they couldn’t fit in. One couple had been unable to get in the previous day (no room) so had come back again, determined to see it. They were not disappointed.
Then, on the way to check-out The Counting House Lounge for my Grouchy Club with Kate Copstick (which starts today), I bumped into Giada’s fellow-Italian Luca Cupani, who has got through to the final of the So You Think You’re Funny comedy competition.
“It was unanimous,” Luca told me, “but one of the judges thought I might not be Italian. He said I looked like an Italian ‘character act’ though he admitted my accent was very good. I asked him: Why should I pretend to be Italian? I would not wish anyone to be Italian.”
“I have just seen Giada’s show,” I told him. “She got a full room and had not done any flyering.”
“Yesterday,” said Luca, “I flyered two tramps. I thought it would be kind to offer them to come see a free show on the BlundaBus. But they were smelling in a wonderful way. Sometimes poverty stinks. Then I thought, if they get on the bus, maybe the act on after me will be not so happy. Luckily, they were a little bit drunk and didn’t take the flyer.”
Then I saw Harriet Kemsley’s show Puppy Fat. Immediately afterwards, I texted someone:
Good grief! I just saw Harriet Kemsley’s show. I think the audience and I need counselling. Talk about suddenly changing the tone without warning! There was no hint of it coming. Mouths were open and jaws dropped. It was like a trapdoor suddenly opened.
Then I went to see Elf Lyons’ Being Barbarella. I bumped into Kate Copstick by accident in the cafe next door to the Voodoo Rooms. She was going to see Elf too. There was a mystery girl manning the door of Elf’s room who recognised both of us (always unnerving). Under intensive grilling, she admitted she performed comedy “occasionally” and was taking part in an Edinburgh Fringe show, but refused to say who she was or what the show was.
“But it’s publicity,” I suggested to her.
“I like anti-publicity,” she said.
She has something to do with shadow puppetry. The first person to grass her up and tell me her name and the show’s name gets a copy of Malcolm Hardee’s increasingly prestigious but tragically out-of-print autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake.
Elf Lyons’ Being Barbarella: mesmerizing, barnstorming, hyper charismatic performance.
Then I saw The Story Beast (John Henry Falle)’s show – mesmerizing, barnstorming, hyper charismatic performance.
Yes, both mesmerizing, barnstorming, hyper charismatic.
In between, I went to the launch of Freestival’s new venues at the New Waverly Arches where I bumped into Nicole Harvey.
“I didn’t know you were doing a show up here,” I said.
“I was coming up for a jolly and to support mates anyhow,” she told me, “and was warmed up after the Brighton and Camden Fringes and I saw Freestival had a new venue, so I thought Why not? But I wasn’t expecting to have to wrestle my Gorgeous Gavin from a rough drunken Scottish girl.”
Part of Nicole’s show Delicious and Dateless involves an inflatable man.
“This girl actually wanted to start a fight with me over Gorgeous Gavin,” Nicole told me. “His rather extended protrusion had been modestly covered with boxers but she was carting him off flashing all in sight.”
I don’t normally give show time and date details because it means bugger all to people reading this blog in Paraguay or in three weeks or two years time but, in this case, Nicole is performing her show Delicious and Dateless at Freestival’s New Waverly Arches:
15th August: Arch 1 at 6:45pm
16th August: Arch 2 at 6:15pm
18th-22nd August: Arch 2 at 6:15pm
Welcome to an everyday story of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe fucked-up by the mess at Cowgatehead.
But the Fringe is all about surprises.
This morning, I texted comic Chris Dangerfield to ask if he was coming up to Edinburgh. He told me:
“Avalon asked me to do their Comedy Central shizzle This Is Not Happening.”
Well, that should be interesting, then…
Chris Dangerfield is not Mr Mainstream Showbiz.
I asked if I could mention it in my blog.
“Of course,” he replied. “Just say …with Fringe big hitters like Chris Dangerfield not doing a show this year… or …with Chris Dangerfield successfully bribing me with drugs for copy this year…”
It is all about publicity. It is all about self-promotion.