The Diary of an Edinburgh Fringe Comedian : Matthew Kin Yip Fong (Part Two)
I wake up and I know there’s a load to do. I need to get across to the city centre and get ready for the first show of the fringe.
I drive across to the air BnB it’s still 10 hours before I can check in. So I dump my car throw everything that’s on show into the boot and grab a taxi to the venue. I’m shattered but looking forward to the day.
I flyer for the next two hours before the show, this year is the quietest first day i have ever experienced. I spend the time before the show getting rejected by people left right and centre. My first show is a mixed bill show and I really wanted to have a good audience for them.
11:45 rolls around and the show is due to start. My heart was beating fast with anticipation of a cracking first show. I step into the room and see all the acts ready to go. I look past the acts to see an audience of two people. From Leeds and Liverpool a couple who had the show highlighted as the first show they will see. Unfortunately, no one else turned up. We did the show and I was so embarrassed at the poor room turn out I didn’t ask them for any money.
Now I’m worried, the rest of the fringe can’t go like this it’s a hard slog even when you have full rooms but when you have an audience of two! Damn it’s hard to get motivated.
I spend the rest of the afternoon flyering for my solo show and I’m getting a lot of flyers out. I have no idea if any one will come to my show and I just keep walking keep handing out flyers and getting as many out as I can.
18:00 and I get a message from my Air BnB saying I cant check-in, so I head over to meet my live-in landlord for the month. My friend drove me over so we were at the flat in no time. I was thinking that the lady offering me her spare room at a “fair” price would be nice, I mean after all she is nice enough to let someone stay and it cost less than £1000 for the month. The land lord was lovely and we spent an hour chatting and getting to know one another. The time flew by I didn’t manage the planned nap and I was starting to feel a little bit tired. My friend Adam and I were planning on taking in a show before the I needed to flyer for my show, however the parking situation meant that we spent almost another hour looking for parking. We evenually found some where to park. If i am honest I think that it would have been quicker to just walk from the flat.
There was definitely no time to take in a show now, having walked for half an hour to get into the fringe central. We had half an hour before i wanted to start leafleting so we went looking for some food. Now a little pro tip for the fringe is that some stalls have loyalty cards and better than that some work together. So If i buy 8 coffees I can get a free hot dog.
We grab some food (the aforementioned Hot dog) and a drink and sit taking in all thats going on around us teams of leafleters for paid show in big venue unenthusiastically thrusting flyers into punters faces, street performers marking out there area for a show thats just about to start, acts and performers pluging there show and loads of other things that I have ether forgotten or blanked out.
It now 9pm time to start flyering we walk to my evening venue (city cafe) and pick up some leaflets. My friend offers to help flyer and he soon finds out that its not as easy as it looks! Fortunately I had been mentioned in an online magazine so my show technically had a credit and a recommendation which is a great thing to have to help your show stand out from the 100s and 1000’s of shows that are going on.
I’m fully into the swing of things and after this mornings show, I wasn’t expecting much, having heard from friends who had show on at better times than mine only getting 4 people in. So I really wasn’t holding my breath.
I try not to flyer other festival workers they get it for the whole month the least I can do is give them a break from being harrassed, however a comic tried to flyer me for there show. Now I am not a Dick but I really only have time to see a few shows during the fringe and most of those will be friends shows that don’t Clash with my own show. Having said that I am always interested in meeting a new comic (new to me not necessarily new to the comedy circuit) any way me and this comic start chatting and he tells me his show is in the news room and I realise that I have a guest spot on a show at10pm. What’s the time??? 9:57pm I just realise I have three mins to make it across town. I thank the comic for reminding me and set off to go to the guest spot. I made it just in time. I got to see one act Benji Waterstone who had very clever material and some really well though out jokes. I was next on I did a little bit of crowd work and one story from my show and that was my time, I leave the venue thinking damn that was a good audience.
One hour till show time and I am stood outside the front of the venue. The streets are dead, hardly anyone one the street, the few people who do walk past have a show already in mind or they dont engage. I want to get the first solo show off to a good start but walking to the royal mile would mean potentially missing audience members. (the chancers – People who check the app or wait to get convinced last minute)
11:10 five minutes till the show starts at this point I think I had got two people definitely in for the show a couple I have flyered earlier in the day actually turned up. I get a tap on the shoulder and I have the downstairs barman say “you have a queue would you like me to start letting them in?” I was like pardon? A queue?
The average fringe show audence is meant to be something stupid like 4 but I had 14 people waiting to see my show. The bar man told me that my show had been the busiest all night (but i bet he says that to everyone so they dont leave feeling deflated)
I do my show and I have two sisters in there who are also BBC British Born Chinese I really wanted them to enjoy my show and they did, so did everyone else in the room but those were the people I was using as my good gig guide. If I am honest with you the show wasn’t in the right order but I got out all the jokes I wanted to and filled the hour time slot. I had a blast and I couldn’t ask for a better first show. I head off to the bar to celebrate and go home on a high