Originally not aired on 28/08/22
At the time of not recording this podcast, I am preparing to do my last show of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. It will be the 24th time I’ve done my one-hour show, which after using a complicated mathematical formula to crunch the numbers, I have worked out will mean I have done it for 24 hours – a unit of time better known as a day.
A day of comedy. A whole day of spouting the same nonsense over and over again. Was it worth it?
If by “worth it” you mean has it brought me lots of money, interest from TV producers and a deal to take the show on a nationwide tour, then no.
But if by “worth it” you mean has it allowed me to grow as a comedian in a way that doesn’t improve my life in any tangible way whatsoever, then yes. I have absolutely smashed it.
It’s not too late to do some industry networking, however, and that’s why today I met with Channel 4’s Izzy Askwith.
Not only does she work in television, Izzy is also an award-winning comedian, having won the prestigious Funny Women Stage Award in 2020.
I was interested by the potential conflict of working in TV and being a comedian herself. It’s a bit like being a player-manager at a football club, like Wayne Rooney did a Derby for half a season.
“Do you see yourself as the Wayne Rooney of comedy?” I asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he had a hair transplant, and you’re a big-wig in TV,” I replied, sure that my well-executed pun would scream ‘get this guy on television’ to her.
“I don’t actually have that much power at Channel 4,” she said. “I don’t even work in the comedy department.”
I spat out my drink.
She began repeating what she said.
“No,” I interrupted, “I meant ‘what’ as like an exclamation, not ‘what’ as in I didn’t hear you.”
“What do you do at Channel 4 then?” I asked.
“Make trailers mainly. You know, like for Bake Off and stuff.”
I sighed and started mopping up the drink I spat out with a bit of tissue. I was beginning to feel sad about the Fringe as a whole. All that work and the only industry person I’d met was someone who couldn’t help my career.
Or could she?
“Are you casting anything at the moment?” I asked. “I could act.”
“Casting? For a trailer?”
“Well, no…” she replied. “Trailers are normally made up of clips from the show. We don’t generally – or ever – cast actors to be in a trailer.”
She made a fair point.
So that was that. 24 shows, a day of comedy, and nothing to show for it. ‘Carpe diem’, more like ‘carpe what was the point in doing the Fringe’.
Izzy could tell by my demeanour that I was down about things, and also because I’d told her explicitly.
“It’ll be alright, Eric,” she said. “There’s only one more show to go.”
I knew what she was saying. She was saying that, despite not becoming a big star off the back of it, doing a show every day in Edinburgh is something to be proud of. We don’t do it for the money or the fame, we do it for the art.
Comedy isn’t about connections, it’s about connection, and I feel a lot of people connected with my show over this month.
I told Izzy that she was right, and that I was ready to do it all again next year.
“Good for you, Eric,” she said. “I won’t be, I’m earning loads of money in television.”
Fair play to her.
See you next time!