Edinburgh Fringe Days 3-4
Day two had two people show up by the starting time of 6.15 but the great thing about a/ being a minister and b/ being used to run workshops is that you're not fazed by small groups and can engage with them quite happily.
So I just sat and was funny with them for the first ten minutes and found out a bit about them and we were getting along really well when three more people turned up. They were great too but that meant I really had to start the act proper.
All of them, bar one, was (or should that be 'were'?) my age. As the show does rather need the audience to remember Newman, Baddiel, Punt and Dennis's show 'The Mary Whitehouse Experience', and hopes they will remember the real Mary Whitehouse this is very helpful.
Strangely enough, the original couple, Colin and Sue, who were over from Australia for the Fringe (wow!) did know who Mary Whitehouse was which surprised me quite a bit.
It was lovely ... they all engaged and two of them actually told stories as part of the show which everyone else enjoyed. So it was a really happy gig. I did the whole set (I forgot a bit on night no.1) and felt very relaxed. And the donations were generous too.
Gig no. 3 ... The act before me is three guys called Tickled Pig. Both previous nights they've had bigger audiences than I have and they are funny. But they are not unusual whereas it's fair to say that I am.
This time, I turned up to find them quite agitated. They had had a group of young corporate guys in suits in the front two rows who had obviously been drinking and who made it clear that they didn't get tickled by the pig.
"You don't want them at your show," the Ticklers said. But once the Suits had all got another drink, they came back upstairs and started asking me if I was funny. I said 'I'm certainly very unusual and most people think I'm very funny. No idea if you will.'
'We'll give it a go,' they said. 'Can't be worse than the earlier act.' And then they sat down to pass the fifteen minutes before I started playing cards. They invited me to join them - and said they'd teach me. I'd not have worried if it had been poker as I remember that quite well ... but it was 'Scabby Queen.' Never even heard of that but it's actually rather fun and I lost spectacularly and happily which is usually a good idea because then they think you're a good sport rather than a know-it-all.
The rest of the audience were two Methodist ministers and a just-retired Anglican minister who used to be a hospice chaplain. We had a great chat while the Suits had a second round of 'Scabby Queen' and I counted them down to the start with the microphone; they speeded up and managed to finish the game just as I said 'Zero and I'm starting!' Big cheers all round and they came and sat in the front rows.
So ... which genre should I play to? The Suits had never heard of either incarnations of Mary Whitehouse and would appreciate a raucous show. The ministers knew them both (and one lived five minutes from where Mary W taught in Telford) and would appreciate the subtleties of the Biblical bits.
Well, I did it for both of them. Told the Suits to check their FB accounts while I did the bits they might not get ... but bless them, they listened to the lot, were incredibly good humoured and were actually interested in the bit about how to beat a fundamentalist at his/her own game and promised to try it out next time they met a Jehovah's Witness.
At the end, everyone said it was a great night (hooray) and the Suits told me I was much better than the Tickled Pigs and that they'd tell all their friends. The ministers said they didn't mind the swearing at all and how lovely it was to have intelligent comedy.
That was a good night.