Thursday, 6 August 2015

First night nerves

Well here's a post that's not for Tweeting, we had an awful first show.

Although the audience were very kind, saying nice things on the way out and on Twitter afterwards, that first night at Edinburgh 2015 was a mess. A mix of me not being confident or relaxed, and the things preying on my mind, meant I didn't grab the audience from the start, meaning that they weren't whipped up into a laugh frenzy from early enough, which really showed up the paucity of the material, which I've been giving a serious rewriting to since (writing this 8am Thursday morning).

The plusses (and there are many) include a good sized audience (51 payers, out of our 90 capacity, compared to last year's opening night of just 29 payers) and lots of material which went well because it's very good material. But too much of it we have to wait for, with the opening stretch having a lot too many gags without enough of the meaty sketches.

As for why I was off form, it didn't help that I did Comic Art Masterclasses at two libraries in Greenock and Port Glasgow during the day. I've done classes before shows many times, and will be doing again through this run, but never on the first night. First night nerves at Edinburgh are a very special thing, no matter how good my previews across the country have been. One big fear is "playing with the big boys", that feeling that I imagine is a bit like arriving as a newby in a prison, and you see yourself framed through the eyes and expectations of the older inmates.

I flyered a table of comedians who I didn't recognise until it was too late, and felt a bit embarrassed by that. I was then worried that they might have come into see the show, I was imagining them there in the back row, listening critically to the juvenile puns the Socks do which, to Socks fans, are a fun part of the mix, but to hyper critical and serious grown up comics might just seem childish and inept. And once you start thinking that kind of thought, while you're performing, you throw yourself right off your stride.

Also, just after flyering those guys, I bumped my head on a low-lying lamp in the Gilded Balloon courtyard, and still have the bump on my temple. This didn't help.

Also, in between returning from my classes in Greenock (2 hour drive back, lorry shed its load on the Port Glasgow roundabout), and getting ready for my show, I wanted to print out a rewritten script. Only we've brought up with us, for the first time, a wifi printer. What's wrong with a bloody cable? Could we get this thing to attach to the wifi in the flat? Could be buggery. Which meant, not only could I not print out the rewrites I'd worked out earlier in the week (which meant I was performing with the notes and running order from my last preview), but also I was stressed from the "fannying about with technology" that always produces a certain blend of frustration chemicals in your body. Which meant I couldn't have the "power snooze" I usually have between daytime and nighttime at Edinburgh, so I'm refreshed for my 10.30pm show. I'd been working since I set off for Port Glasgow at 7 that morning, and that's not the best way to start doing a show.

Oh and Hev Tweed had been trapped in the flat all day waiting for my Minging Detectives t shirts to arrive (should have come to Clevedon on Friday, didn't arrive till Monday by which time we were already in Edinburgh, being re-sent). They didn't arrive, and won't be coming till today (Thurs) we know not when. All little things that add up to niggles and stresses that you can do without on a first night.

So we had what I think was a bad show, but like I say, day 2 will be different. And some people thought it was okay...

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