Tour Journal - Edinburgh
Last Friday (a few days ago) I went to the Assembly Room to watch the Scotsman's Fringe First awards. I didn't really gather what they were about or how to get one, but I think it was pretty clear that they weren't given to comedy shows. Most of the winners were play related theater-y things. But there was free coffee and juice and biscuits, which I think is how the brits say cookies.
A friend David Calvitto won an award for his play.
Saturday was a rainy blur that I spent most of indoors, hiding from the relentless wet curtain.
On Sunday we were invited for brunch with a coupla New York pals, Stacy Meyer and her sweet boyfriend who cooked us all a 3 or 4 course breakfast, and my good buddy Mike I was there as well, a long time friend and the man who built my kick ass axe out of garbage remnants.
Stacy is doing a show here called "Funeralogues", a neat concept comedy show that "takes place at a funeral". She plays different characters and talks about death, funerals and her character's obsession with both. It was a really neat idea and was executed well. Mike I was in the show as the musician who plays piano / guitar at the funeral, and had some really funny moments. The show takes place in an old church or mosque or something so it looks really funeral-y, and there's even a real casket in the show. It's at C3 venue on the Royal Mile, around 7:20 PM every night, and is definitely worth seeing. She had a nice sized audience, too, so get your tickets in advance or you may be standing.
While we were hanging out at her place, I got a phone call from the BBC inviting me to perform on a radio show called "Broadcast House" - they were looking for a sassy American to stick up for America. So they basically threw a series of topics at me like "chocolate" and "washing machines" and I was supposed to say that America's were better. It wasn't too hard, most of the things they mentioned, we are better at. But chocolate was a stretch. They have some damn good chocolate here.
After the radio show, I was chatting with the desk clerk James, and Shappi Khorsandi, a british comedian who was also there, and James impressed Shappi and I with his kick ass card trick where he could basically toss a card very fast through the air so that it kind of hovered. It was pretty impressive.
We both tried too, but failed miserably.
Later in the afternoon, Ben, Mike, our pal Rupert and I went to see a show which got a 5 star rating! It was called "something y something, i can't remember what it was called now" but the highlight of the show for Ben, Mike and I was Jay Foreman, a guitarist who's mannerisms and songs on stage were totally endearing and terrific. He was like a slightly more twisted Beatle.
On Monday, a lot of performers decided to take the day off to relax and see some shows that they wouldn't see because their shows conflicted with them. One of these was Vicki Ferentino's Lady Bug Warrior. It was a great little show about Vicki's life. She was very crafty, she sewed all the funny, ridiculous costumes, and made the backdrop herself. Her asides and quips were funny, and the characters she did, while really sort of slight bastardizations of the "her" character, were insightful, and it worked well. I was inspired by her show and left feeling akin to Vicki.
After Vicki's show, I had to zip off to my own show, which was packed, standing room only as it has been every single night. It was a terrific show and I was very glad to have a new photographer pal, Alex Todd there, taking photos of me during the show. You can click the link below to see those and some other photos taken by Alex of the Fringe Festival.
Pictures taken by Alex Todd of me and others from Edinburgh Fringe Fest
To top off the evening, Mike Amato, Alex Todd and I scaled the tall hill to the Assembly Hall venue to attend a preview of a comedy film called "Peacock Season" which was made in Edinburgh last year about the Edinburgh Festival. It was a very funny and insightful full length feature film about an unwitting man who sort of accidentally falls into being a comedian and presenting his show at Edinburgh Fringe Fest. His wife (ventriloquist comedian Nina Conti) ends up cheating on him with a comedian played by the terrific Glenn Wool, his utter shit show somehow becomes nominated for the top comedy award and he lives it up, in spite of his misery. There are tons of cameos of comedians and people we know in it, and it was full of really funny and insightful points, especially if you're a comedian, if you're a performer, if you've ever been to the Fringe Festival, or if you've got one funny bone in your body.
The guys who made the film, for less (comedian Adam Hill quipped in his intro) than it cost to pay for the bracelets we were all given to get in to see the preview
The audience stands to cheer and congratulate the fellas on a job well done