Hearing laughter at last is a good sign as we enter into the official Festival Fringe squeaky-bum time - Vladimir McTavish
For us comedians, that is a very sobering thought indeed. Or in my case sadly not sobering enough, as I’m still suffering a hangover from a friend’s 60th birthday party. Anyway, we are now in what Alex Ferguson would describe as squeaky-bum time.
Believe it or not, there is a lot of preparation to do before standing on a stage talking utter bollocks for an hour every night for a month.
For a start, we have to write the rubbish in the first place. Then we have to try it out to see if it’s funny. If that rubbish doesn’t get laughs, then we have to go away and write a whole lot of different nonsense and if that tripe doesn’t raise a titter then it’s time to make last year’s jokes sound new.
I started trialling this year’s show back in May when I did four nights at the Brighton Fringe and have been tinkering with it since at various open mic and new material gigs over the past two months.
We also have to punt our show on social media, send out press releases, do guest spots on people’s podcasts which may reach an audience of single figures.
And we also have to get our publicity material designed and printed. I realise I’m in danger of making this trivial narcissistic business sound like hard work, because it obviously isn’t. However, it can be surprisingly time consuming.
Today, I am doing the very important job of waiting at home for my posters to be delivered. This may sound simple but it has gone wrong in the past. It took me three days to answer the front door when DPD tried to deliver the posters for my Brighton show.
The reason being that I was profoundly deaf in one ear at the time so I kept missing the doorbell when it rang. I knew roughly when the delivery was due as they had sent an e-mail which was both ridiculously precise but annoyingly vague: “Your parcel is with your driver Darren and will be delivered between 5.53pm and 6.53pm on Wednesday.”
Obviously, I wasn’t going to hover around the front door from 5.50 as that would make me look like a crazy old person.
However, on two consecutive days I didn’t hear them ring and found a card had dropped though letter box saying: “We tried to make a delivery but you were not at home. We will try again later.”
The problem was a build-up of ear wax and the remedy was swift and simple. It wasn’t free, but it was worth every penny.
I had my ears cleaned out at a city centre optician whose audiologist had encyclopaedic knowledge about ear wax. It could have been his specialist subject on Mastermind. He stuck a tube into my ear, which was attached to a high-powered vacuum pump and in a few minutes had sucked all the wax out.
I’m now hearing everything in crystal clarity. Most importantly, I can now hear laughter. That’s a good sign with a month to go to the Fringe.