Originally not aired on 29/08/23
Episode 2 of this year’s “Comedians In Edinburgh Getting Chai Lattes” features the credible Freya McGhee.
Starting her comedy career in 2019, Freya is just at the beginning. Or possibly the end. This is her first full run at the Fringe, and she explained it’s not going to plan.
“It’s been a very humbling experience,” she said. “No one is coming to the show, and it feels like it’s been a waste of a month.”
“Wow,” I replied. “That puts it into perspective. My room’s been full almost every day, people standing at the back, often many being turned away. Yet I still feel dissatisfied. I can’t even imagine what it’s like being you.”
“Right, okay… thank you?”
Part of me was a bit dubious. I often exaggerate how bad things are, and maybe Freya was doing the same.
Freya is great. She’s been semi-successful in a lot of the new act competitions and is easily one of top few hundred comedians to start in the last 5 years. She also has a niche. Having studied Chemistry (a science) at university, her set is chock-full of probably-funny-if-you-understand-them science gags. Surely that’s enough to bring the punters in.
“How bad is it really?” I asked. “Are you really not getting people in?”
At that point she showed me a picture taken from the back of her venue, which displayed a crowd of around 6 people in a room that must’ve held over a hundred.
There was a pause.
“Do you see what I mean?” She said.
I did. And I felt for her in that moment. Especially as someone who’s been around the block a few times. I’ve been doing comedy for what feels like 10 years now (in reality, it’s 9) and I know a lot of acts like Freya must look up to me. I’m an elder statesman, a role model. I needed to say something to reassure her; to encourage her that it’s a long game. That it doesn’t matter if she’s not where she wants to be. That there’s something to be gained in creating, despite how ruinous it can be financially and emotionally. That this feeling of failure and self-doubt is temporary. One day she’ll be exactly where she wants to be, and she’ll look back at this time and be thankful she experienced it, because ultimately, she’ll be better for it.
How to phrase that though?
“You’ll probs be fine, Freya.”
See you next time!