Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Comedy Beast at The Hoop and Toy, South Kensington

This evening I headed down to South Kensington for the newly relocated Comedy Beast with MC Peter Merriment. Having found out Anna and I had made the heats for Musical Comedian of the Year earlier in the day, I was focussed on how to deliver two songs with the requisite before and between song patter in the 8 minute limit.

The room was well lit with plenty of other acts in attendance plus a smattering of real audience. I found myself to be topping the evening's entertainment and settled in with a pint of coke and no preconceptions.

The material flowed with the usual mix of the good and the very much in development. It was a warm crowd though and we urged each other on when things got rocky. The bit about masturbating someone's nose will probably stay with me forever - no matter how much I try to expunge it.

Come 10pm I was up and delivering Meal Deal with caffeine-assisted vigour and the clubbing chat that preceded West End revealed three clubs that had never come up before (Jesters, Valentinos and Manhatten I salute you). I'm building quite a picture of the UK's least desirable night spots. I suspect it could be the basis for a Radio 4 endorsed travel log in a similar vein to that book about traversing the UK open mic scene with a ukelele.

Did I do it in 8 minutes? Did I heck. 10 minutes and 3 seconds. Time for some serious editing on the chat. That or write a song that lasts 1:30.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Bear Jokes at The Leyton Star

It's been a while since I performed to two real audience but last night's Bear Jokes proved that just because the total number of people in the room is tipping halfway to ten it doesn't mean it'll be a bad night.

It didn't start promisingly. One act cancelling without replacement and a second not showing up wasn't ideal. We hung on for 15 minutes as the room remained stubbornly empty and our opener had to shoot on to another gig. 3 acts and an MC remained and we thought we'd workshop the night away. 

Darren Walsh had some great new material and Susie Steed was concluding her satire when two actual audience members arrived. Susie did a bit more before MC Nig Lovell suggested a quick beer break before our "headline" 20.

Beers duly in we performer like it was a full room and somehow it wasn't a total car crash. Meal Deal, Shuffle and Stop, West End and Airport all got a look in and our two happy punters joined in with carefree abandon. The video may not be ideal for the Musical Comedy Awards as planned but there's always tonight to shoot one with additional bodies in the room.

Post-show we had a drink with our audience and were assured they'd be back.

We'll fill our comedy ark with followers yet, if necessary two by two...

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Jolly Rogers at The George Vaults, Rochester

This evening I hopped on the train, meal deal in hand, to Rochester for Jolly Rogers at The George Vaults. My last visit has been a good one and I was looking forward to returning - particularly as the promoter had told me I was his wife's favourite act. Forget your reviews, this is what really counts when it comes to repeat bookings!

The first half was comfortable and charming. Fiona Ridgewell and Kieran Pool both being familiar faces mixing up old and new material. By the halfway point the room had filled nicely and I put on my visor and limbered up for a 4 song set.

Meal Deal got the ball rolling and Shuffle and Stop worked well with its debut electro reworking. Clicking Like seemed particularly topical with its reference to sharing social media posts from the far right and the newly reworked Two Shots wrapped things up nicely. 

Performing in what looks like a crypt thankfully didn't result in dying on stage and I look forward to returning in 2018, hopefully at a time when I don't have leg it to the train afterwards to get in at a decent time.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Bear Jokes at The Leyton Star

Last week Bear Jokes was back in action in Leyton with a line-up of familiar faces and an audience consisting of the acts themselves, three local housemates and a quietly mysterious man at the back. Given the broom cupboard proportions of the room this still felt quite busy so it was on with show and Anna and I opening with Meal Deal. 

It's been commented before that this track is pretty minimal compared to earlier offerings but ,in comedy terms at least, less-is-more seems to be particularly appropriate. Much as I enjoy covering my tracks in thumping basslines and retro synths it's clear that once in a while the audience like it stripped back with the focus fully on the lyrics. Tonight was no exception and we were all chanting within two refrains of the chorus hook.

Following us Ian Miller ran through his tried and tested best, Alice Frick returned from a three year hiatus since performing at one of my nights and Gatis Kandis cross examined the audience in the way only he can. We closed the first half with a stomping rendition of Airport - some danced, others just look completely overwhelmed by the rave vibes colliding with Scooter's back catalogue.

In the second half Sadia Azmat and Jonny Gillam both did well and Yuriko Kotani rounded things off with some brand spanking new material. Thumbs up all round.

In other news, I'm pleased to announce that 2018's First World Problems show is now confirmed for Brighton Fringe for four Saturdays over May and June at The Temple bar at 2.30pm. We're currently working on it being a full-on hip hop show parody so bring your bizzle to the izzle and we'll see you....fo' shizzle....

Sunday, 5 November 2017

First World Problems on iTunes

It's been a long time coming but having remixed, revived and rebooted the recordings of all my tracks the debut album is finally "in the can" and makes its debut on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal etc al from Monday 6th November (that's tomorrow chronology fans).

I'm not expecting Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems to storm the chart (though, in a fit of optimistic egomania, I did throw in an extra tenner to ensure it is actually chart eligible) but as another step on the enormous ladder to some kind of recognition beyond the comedy community it's very much worthwhile. I'm very proud of it. If you have any of the services mentioned please do check it out and let me know what you think. If you don't subscribe, here's it is on Soundcloud.

Elsewhere this week I hosted Bear Jokes with another very fine line-up. "Meal Deal" went down well at the start and satisfyingly a number of people doubled up in laughter part-way through. John Paul-Mcque travelled down from Darlington with his bag of wind to amuse the assembled with his headline set and a bunch of tourists from Germany left a fiver each in the bucket even though they could only stay for the first half. The Leyton Star's room is a cosy little space and one I'm glad to have found. The mugging-depicting wallpaper being just one of the hipster highlights.

Next Saturday Anna and I find ourselves back in South Kensington for Go West Comedy with a set we hope to record for the Musical Comedy Awards. If you're looking for something to do that night I'd thoroughly recommend it.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Clash of the Tight Tens and a wedding party

Gigs on both Friday and Saturday this week made for quite a weekend and each was special in its own way.

Returning to Clash of the Tight Tens for the first time since I largely handed it over to Sonia Aste to run (whilst I focus on the festival based version), I found a full room and a mild buzz in the air. The format has changed so that every other month the tens-only format is replaced by three acts doing tens whilst the rest of the night features people taking their first five minute steps on the circuit having graduated from comedy courses.

The result of this is that the newbies make up a reasonable part of the audience whilst colleagues, well wishers and other intrigued associates come to support and fill the room. It makes for a busy supportive atmosphere - even if the material and delivery on stage by the majority of acts is clearly a work in progress and very much at the open mic end of the comedy spectrum. Come the headline spot I hit the intro track and jogged up to the stage with Anna just behind. Though slow to start, the crowd warmed up once we hit the first song proper and by the time we were blasting Craft Fair out everything had pretty much fallen into place. Except the mic stand that had fallen into the crevice between the back of the stage and the wall. It's shallower than I remember.

Best new act of the night? An older gentleman wearing a swim cap with a cigarette in one ear who taped balloons to his nipples and shot an arrow at a volunteer who wore a wooden plank with a balloon attached. Worthy of a Malcolm Hardy Award any day of the week.

Come Saturday afternoon and it was off to Hackney Central for a wedding party to celebrate the joining of the king of the chuckle train, James Harris, and his partner Ke. Being a comedian the party couldn't help but have a comedy section and so alongside Victoria Howden, Ariane Sherine and a coupe of other acts Anna and I debuted new track Meal Deal and recent-ish addition Airport. 

Both tracks went down well and Meal Deal looks to be a bit of a banker. The appropriation of several current trends in pop hiphop were duly recognised and appreciated by the younger end of the audience in particular. Whoever came up with the idea of replacing the off-beat disco hi-hat with a group of people going "hey" is most definitely a genius.

Later in the evening I received an email from Jolly Rogers in Rochester asking if we were still up for a return on November 30th. Having confirmed we'd be up for it I got this:

I hope Scotty and his wife don't mind me posting this. No review in the world tops things like it.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Bear Jokes and Cambridge Stupidfest

Last week was a bit of a milestone for all things Bear Jokes and First World Problems with both featuring in part of the same review by comedy bible Chortle. Editor Steve Bennett is known as a man not easily impressed so it was all the more satisfying to see him say positive things about both.

With such a good line-up last Thursday it would be hard not to receive some praise though. I could spend a few paragraphs writing in depth about what made each set so special but Chortle's already done it so feel free to follow the link above. Anna and I opened the first half with Tales of the Unexpected and closed it with Airport. My initial concerns about the jihad line have been laid to rest. Musically it's a strong track and I think the lyrics pretty much nail pre-flight tension so it's onwards to the next one. "Meal Deal" is set to debut at fellow Mirthquaker James Harris' wedding party this Saturday coming.

This Saturday just gone I found myself on a train heading to Cambridge for Stupidfest and a revival of the Edinburgh First World Problems fifty minute set. To keep things fresh I swapped in and out a few tracks, including Airport, but otherwise ran it as had been done throughout August. The turnout was in the single figures, which was a shame, but everyone there enjoyed it and yet another person said I should enter the Musical Comedy Awards this year (the last one being the guy who runs it). We're back at Clash of the Tight Tens for the first time in forever this coming Friday so we'll be recording our entry there. Thanks to Paul "man with a box" Richards for the Cambridge show - always nice to get out of London.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

September round-up

September heralds the post-Edinburgh comedown and last year I avoided shows to take stock, write and record. This year, however, I had two of my own shows to run plus a Saturday night appearance at the fledgling South Kensington Comedy Club (pictured).

Bear Jokes waved goodbye to Pub on the Park with a final well attended show featuring a host of new acts plus some regulars. The audience were warm and kept the energy going throughout, many of which were there to see the debut of double act Hunt and Murphy. Arianne Sherine and husband Graham topped off the bill with their own farewell set and I left the venue on a high - leaving it ready for Ben Waterstone's own night to move in next month.

Bear Jokes at The Leyton Star followed a week later with a spectacular bill and a modest yet keen audience. As at POTP, I MC'd with a few songs ably supported by my fiancee and backup dancer Anna J. On my own the songs had impact but with Anna's dancing it's taken us to another level. Audiences literally don't know where to look anymore and the fact they can flick between either or both of us gives the act greater variety for a generation (my own included) who are used to cutting between shots every few seconds.

The show itself ran well and Gary Tro's natural style meant his headline set really was the icing on a very satisfying comedy cake.

Last night Anna and I found ourselves upstairs in a pub for our first ten minutes at the South Kensington Comedy Club. Come 8pm the real audience was zero and there was discussion as to run the show or not. Given the choice of going elsewhere or having a workshop several acts opted to leave but we stayed - if only to run through one of our new songs. As it turned out this was the right move as, shortly after the exodus, a small but dedicated audience arrived and took their seats. This was no longer a workshop.

Considering some of the acts that left were the more experienced ones it was a pleasant surprise to find pretty much everyone on the bill had their moments in the sun - many throughout their set. Working with a single figure audience can be tricky but it tests skills and this is just as valid a reason for performing as anything else. From our ten minutes we found being loud and active is the only way to be and although a very drunk man may not being paying full attention those around him were smiling and joining in at the right points.

A good night and one made better by a cheap and cheerful Chinese after.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Fringe Analysis

Last year I analysed the performance of Mirthquake pretty thoroughly to help me (and the thousands of others of you who viewed the posts) get a better idea of how to make a free show work financially. I produced line graphs and tables to support this. Having tried to make line graphs again of this both of this year's shows I can confirm they're pretty meaningless, beyond stating the obvious, so I'm just going to stick with the spreadsheet this time.


I took two shows to the fringe with PBH this year for the full run. 

Clash of the Tight Tens was a comedy compilation show with a rotating bill of four comedians plus myself doing ten minutes each. It was at 1.45pm every day in Black Market Room 2 (official capacity 30). On Wednesdays, my day off, Sonia Aste looked after it and received £10 per show for the first two and then £15 for the third one - the figures on these days reflect this as they only record the money I personally received and hence why the third show appears to have got £0 in the bucket.

Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems was my debut solo show that took place every day except Wednesdays, also in Black Market Room 2. My analysis from last year suggested Wednesday was the weakest day for turnouts and hence informed my choice of day off. This does appear to have been supported by the showings at Tight Tens on those days this year.

The Spreadsheet

What I Now Know

Tight Tens was more popular than FWP. This wasn't any kind of surprise to me as this was my first solo show and variety shows are always popular, particularly in the early afternoon. I also had access to very good acts due to my shows in London. In total 564 people came and watched Tight Tens over the run and put a total of £940.62 in the bucket.

FWP did much better than I had expected as I had been bracing myself for days of single figure audiences (the norm for debut solo shows). In the end 341 people signed up for fist pumping musical therapy and donated a total of £667.51. On a few days FWP actually outperformed TTens - quite a surprise.

If you take out my (extreme) daily spending whilst in Edinburgh the combined donations from the shows came close to paying for all the costs I incurred. What really stopped my progress towards breaking even in its tracks was week three - which was much slower than the other two. Something to bear in mind for next year.

I spent a huge amount of money on a daily basis. Edinburgh hikes up its prices in August: drinks are expensive, food is expensive, taxis and tickets add to the debt. However, I'm a teacher and this is my summer holiday. Had I not been at Edinburgh I would have probably spent this anyway so it doesn't really "count". However, it's certainly something to take account of should you be looking to earn a living from comedy full time.

Sundays are a good day. Both my shows were in the daytime and both welcomed families with teenage children. This meant Sundays worked well. Saturdays were strong too and Fridays and Mondays were also pretty decent. The slump in numbers in week three can be partially attributed to the fact that Scottish schools begin their new term in this week and so the local family market disappeared.

Tuesday-Thursday are the hardest days. Though in no way impossible. I still had good, sometimes great, numbers for these shows. 

My biggest bucket take was £99 on Saturday August 12th for Tight Tens with 35 people squeezed in the room. My biggest bucket for FWP was £83.29 on Monday 14th August (a bank holiday in Scotland) with 30 seated. Working out at less than £3 per person this was better than the average donation at a fringe show but I need to work on my bucket speech to crank this up to something that reflects the costs and effort incurred.

My lowest bucket take was £10.60 on Tuesday August 22nd for Tight Tens with just 7 bums on seats. The same amount of people donated £11.70 on Thursday August 24th at FWP. This reflects the general drop in attendance and generosity in the final week of the fringe - particularly midweek.

What Brought People In?

I did my best to ask people why they'd come to see the shows. There were plenty of different reasons - though the most popular routes were via the Official Fringe App and the PBH Blue Book. The ratio for these changed though as the run progressed with more and more people coming through the Blue Book as more and more of the books went into circulation. Was the £300 per show spent on the Fringe App worth it? Probably, but it's not the be all and end all if you can't afford it.

The limited number of guest spots I did this year also helped bring people in and a number of people came based on recommendations from friends who'd already seen the show. The 12+ age recommendation was a key factor for many as most shows had a smattering of teenagers in the audience. On one particular day FWP had at least half the seats taken by audience in their mid-teens choosing to come and watch a rap show whilst their parents went to something presumably of less interest to them.

Flyering was necessary but only within an hour of the shows starting. Thanks to Black Market being a hub with eight rooms in it there were plenty of people wandering in looking for a show on the weekends - though much less so in the week. A quick chat and the wave of a flyer with these people; particularly by my hiphop attired backup dancer and fiancee, Anna, was often all it took to encourage them in.

FWP received one five star review and a number of positive comments on Twitter. These will be great for the website and future press releases and show applications - but had little, if any, impact on bringing in people this run.

Final Thoughts

It was a great run with plenty of lessons learned for the future. I met plenty of great people, including bookers and media types, who I'll be following up on. I gained a backup dancer (and fiancee) who turned the show up a fair few notches and we're now planning next year's show and the route towards it via plenty of other festivals and full length show bookings in and outside of London.

Edinburgh: Final Days

Friday's shows were both pretty great today. What the crew lacked in numbers they more than made up for in energy. Our performance at The Malcolm Hardy Awards went down well, though we were then followed by an act that consisted of a man waving whilst a woman continuously hit a man in the face with a mop whilst he shouted "no" over and over again - which seemed to be more their style.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 21 / £51.60
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 10 / £19.55

Saturday was the final day of the Free Fringe and we decided to really go for one last push - even if this was off the back of a very late night out in Espionage following the awards show. Clash of the Tight Tens was comfortably busy and all the acts did well. I topped things off with a rendition of Clicking Like which blew any remaining morning cobwebs away.

First World Problems also had a good showing, including a return trip from our highly enthusiastic wheelchair user from the previous week, an old uni friend and a couple who'd seen Mirthquake last year and had kept in touch with me ever since to follow my preparations for this show. The energy was great and it was a good one to end the run with. 

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 22 / £45
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 20 / £32

Final breakdown and analysis to come...

Friday, 25 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 20

Week three of the fringe is easily the least busy of the run and a grey Thursday did its best to confirm this. Though Tight Tens consisted of just four couples watching four acts the vibe was surprisingly good and it was an enjoyable, if quiet, event. My £26 Peavy microphone (including 6m cable) did a surprisingly good job in the place of my confirmed-dead SM58 copy and the new lightbulbs in my new lamps lifted the gloom pleasantly.

First World Problems had similar numbers but the vibe was significantly less positive. If we'd performed to seven planks of wood we would have had more response. Missed punchline followed missed punchline, conversations that just got muddled peppered the in between song parts and when it was all over I wondered why they'd even stayed. Not great, but compared to pulling a show or seeing people walk out this was still preferable. With only two days to go, if this is the worst one then we've done really well.

Anna and I then went to watch The Gang of Names in the thoroughly remote venue that is Daylight Robbery. Surreal humour taking in a bizarre Chesney Hawks sketch, a quiz where you had to identify if names belonged to a beer or a horse, guess the year of the darts player's death and a farting ghost finale - it was just what was needed to perk us up before food at a nearby French restaurant where one of the waiting staff recognised me from my spots last year at The Hanover Tap opposite.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 8 / £16
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 7 / £11.70

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 18/19


It started slowly with the smallest of small audiences at Tight Tens. The crowd were nice though and the acts got conversational and occasionally meta. The microphone broke down midway through which seemed kind of fitting so it was acoustic from there on in. A weird one but not a bad one.

First World Problems, on the other hand, came through all guns blazing with a decent crowd who were thoroughly up for everything. We clapped, cheered, stomped and shouted through every song and I made a comment about Deliveroo being the only future career option for a thirteen year old in the front row. The bucket wasn't exactly heaving but the vibes were great - and John Fleming dropped by to see exactly what he'd booked for the Malcolm Hardy Awards Show on Friday.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 7 / £10.60
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 17 / £22


Today I took the day off and walked up hills and stood by a loch with Anna. I recommend escaping Edinburgh at least once in the run.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 17

Mondays are often pretty tough and they get tougher when acts pull out less than an hour from showtime or fail to show up at all. Today both these things happened with Tight Tens and so I found myself running all over the place trying to find replacements. Madeline Campion stepped into one spot (hopping straight over from her own show at a similar time) and Daniel Offen went beyond his allocated ten to, along with an extra song from myself, bring the show in at just over 40 minutes. The decently sized audience were appreciative but muted throughout and the obvious stretch that had occurred to fill the time was reflected in the poor bucket take. Credit to all involved though - it's amazing how performers come together to make the best of a less than ideal situation.

First World Problems also felt the Monday blues. Despite handing out an enormous pile of blue books and flyers in the run-up to the show our audience were a very modest seven strong. At this level I worry that the music won't cut through as it's so reliant on audience participation but I was thankfully proved wrong with every member of the audience giving it their all. Anna got her groove on and we powered through. The bucket rattled rather than crunched but we at least gained some Twitter followers and a lot of nice comments.

After this we scooted across to The Hanover Tap and performed two songs to another muted but cheerful audience. Plenty of flyers went out with a lot of nice comments received. Perhaps we'll have some of these guys at our next show. We're in the home run now.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 26 / £24.78
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 7 / £12

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 16

It was another busy day with both Tight Tens and First World Problems. Firstly though I was at Whistlebinkies for some lunchtime comedy and it was nicely busy. I managed to trip whilst running around doing self-checkout related high fives but recovered quickly. The other acts were decent too.

Tight Tens had a ridiculous number of people in and we had to turn plenty away. They were a very warm bunch and loved every set - which included a bonus one as one act was running late and I drafted in Matt Duwell to cover. The late comer arrived and 4 acts became 5. Upon exit, more than one person commented they couldn't believe the quality at a free show. Thumbs up.

First World Problems had a great and diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds. The four boys on the front row, aged 10-13, got thoroughly stuck into the tracks and did some great additional backing vocals with me on Clicking Like. The adults that made up the rest of the audience were very vocal too. I did some of what I consider to be my best crowd work - though admittedly this involved a joke about farting in the bath. For young boys and their parents this was of course comedy gold though. Anna's dance moves kept heads turning from her to me constantly. Show complete the bucket was decent with plenty of compliments. All that was left to do was head home for some Chinese take-away and find my video camera had failed to record any of it.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 39 / £73.90
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 22 / £54.20

Edinburgh: Day 15

Saturdays are usually busy and today was no exception. With hordes of people milling around the Black Market bar getting people in wasn't too arduous and the room was full almost as soon as the previous act finished up. When things got underway it was clear that, though numerous, the audience weren't as up for it as they should have been and reactions were positive but muted throughout. The bucket was majority change and I reviewed my free fringe speech accordingly in the aftermath.

A hearty curry at the Mosque Kitchen later, Anna and I started recruiting crew for First World Problems and were confronted with a room packed to bursting as a result. Tales of the Unexpected kicked things off nicely but Craft Fair utterly destroyed the room with people shouting out with total abandon. From there on it was easy and conversation with everyone flowed freely. Come the end the bucket was respectable and we popped in on John Long's completely packed out Winded before pizza, wine and an opportune photo of Anna and her engagement ring (yes, this team is for life!) before then shouting randomly at the Drunk N Heckle Show.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 38 / £40
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 40 / £77.40

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Edinburgh: Days 13/14

Thursday was a bit of a blur so here are the stats.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 28 / £40
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 14 / £20

On Friday both Tight Tens and FWP went really well with a few ex-colleagues dropping in for the raps. Some nice tweets followed and we celebrated by spending most of the bucket on dinner. 

Post Eton Mess it was off to The Voodoo Rooms for Paul Richards' "History of Pop" and an unexpected requirement for both of us to be part of his choir. Given the choir consisted of one man this meant we made up the bulk of the collective and sang our way through excerpts of tracks from the fifties onwards - including Bob the Builder and Mr Blobby. Midway through proceedings we performed Tales of the Unexpected and West End to an enthusiastic reception. With any luck we may see some of them at the next show.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 30 / £40.40
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 24 / £61

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 12

A day off spent shopping and walking around Edinburgh; in the evening Anna and I joined Onions and my friend Welsh Richard for Rob Broderick's (from Abandoman) show in Georges Square. The venue was sold out and we were high up in the seating with a decent view. A very different experience to watching the preview at my show in Leyton last month - 11 people had become hundreds. Interactivity had been ratcheted up since July with plenty of audience members involved in the freestyle rap segments to entertaining effect. A show well worth seeing. Afterwards we had a chat about how the shows were going and our next steps for taking them on the road. 

To finish the day we went to a nice little BYOB curry house near where I stayed last year, sank a few pints in a nearby pub and Ubered it home.

Clash of the Tight Tens (With Sonia Aste): Citizens / Donations: 15 / £33.20
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: N/A

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 11

Tuesdays can be tough but there was much to celebrate about today. Tight Tens ran smoothly despite two acts failing to show up for their spots. A quick run around the venue unearthed Lizanne Frizma and Lucas Jolson in the bar and the show went on with superb sets from both. Simon Caine topped things off nicely after some ultra-dark material from Dimitri Bakanov with an awkward twist once he realised there was a twelve year old in the audience. He recovered well though and my own tracks kept everything running smoothly.

First World Problems had just ten people in but it was a great show with enthusiasm coming from all of them. Jay Cowle and Andy Onions came along to support and even brought a reviewer in tow. Come the end of the hour one man was dancing in his wheelchair and we got our first five star review.

After that we dashed across to The Hanover Tap to do a couple of tracks at the 101 Comedy Club to a full room. It went well and sixty or so flyers were duly handed out afterwards. All that was left was to eat Pad Thai at the neighbouring restaurant and head home ready Wednesday's full day off.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 28 / £50.55
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 10 / £25

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 10

Mondays are supposed to be quiet days. Not on the evidence of today though with both shows doing very well. 

Tight Tens was solidly attended with a generous bucket-take and some superb acts. The variety on show everyday impresses even a cynic like myself. The fact I now flyer for just 20 minutes for this one suggests word of mouth is allowing this to grow and grow. Being in the official guide also helps of course.

If Tight Tens did well then First World Problems was a revelation. Every seat taken. Every seat still taken by the end. Everyone had a good time, four people in the second row in constant fits of laughter. We acquired ourselves a twelve year old cheerleader for "Pass the Box" and I sympathised with one man's pain of buying a shed and still having failed to build it eleven months later. At the end the bucket had outperformed the variety show by a significant margin, I'd posed for photos and another parent had called it the best thing they'd seen at the fringe. Roll on Tuesday!

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 33 / £72
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 30 / £83.29

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 9

Sometimes the unexpected happens. Not in the case of Clash of the Tight Tens though - again it was packed out and again the acts were superb.

No, it's all in the stats today. By a Brexit-like wafer thin division my solo show actually made more bucket money than the compilation - even with 10 less people in it. Why? Not because of Tight Tens. That show was, as I said, totally solid. Matt Duwell's warmly received headlining set topped off a fantastic diversity of talent: John Pendal hitting on the men in checked shirts, Alex Kealy ruminating on his life choices and Sonia Aste bringing the Spanish vibes to the hot dark room.

As for my show - granted some international students left early because they didn't understand what was going on and some other people left to catch their train (wheeled luggage in tow, I'll count that as evidence) but otherwise the reception was so warm and so up for all the nonsense with the songs. One dad had brought his teenage son and his wife along on the strength of seeing my Youtube videos (finally I have justification for making those) and some cool twenty-somethings were dancing along to the tunes throughout. Highlights included some real Durst-like shouting in my nu-metal tribute, "Clicking Like" and low voices across the room for the eighties inspired closer, "West End". On exit, one man revealed himself to be a club promoter in Leeds - a trip up north is now in the making before the end of 2017 :o)

After that all that was left to do was trek home and enjoy a roast dinner. Once again, good times!

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 32 / £57.32
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 22 / £58.35

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 8

In the immortal words of Ice Cube, today was a good day.

Tight Tens was rammed, all seats gone and people stood along the side. The line-up was seriously strong. Aaron Simmonds joined the bill when I thought Jon Long might not make it but he actually did and so we had a "surprise guest" in the line-up boosting the show to 5 acts - 6 if you include me. The audience loved it. The flyers went out like wedding confetti and the bucket started to pay back the £300 I'd invested by putting it in the official guide. Win. Nice to see friends in the audience as well.

3pm involved a tour around the city by Susie Steed about money walking. Recommended.

My solo show wasn't quite so packed out but come 6.25 I found the room 2/3 full with an age range of 13 to 50 and nationalities spanning all the way to Germany. As usual, Anna and I pushed it as hard as we could and the audience acted in turn. We shouted clapped and stomped from start to finish and though the bucket wasn't spectacular it was all made up by the thirteen year old girls in the front row following Anna's every move and a similarly aged boy coming up to me afterwards and saying "my mum and dad wanted to see something else but this was way better!" A reviewer was in. We wait with baited breath...

Dinner at the flat and a bottle of Cava later it was off to The Biscuit Factory for some music and dancing. It's now 2.40am and way past my bedtime. 

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 35 / £99.50
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 19 / £30

Edinburgh: Day 7

Fridays should be good for Fringe, particularly when the sky is grey and constantly threatening to rain. It's a strange scenario when you hope for the skies to open during your summer holiday but droplets mean bums on seats hiding from a drenching.

My first task for the day was to meet Sarah from Radio Ha Ha to record a one minute promo for my show at Black Market. There's not much you can really say in sixty seconds other than list the basic facts in your show but if it means a few more people in for first world problems then all the better.

Tight Tens was next on the agenda and I was out on the street with my laurel wreath and pile of A6 pieces of paper encouraging all who passed that they really should sit in a dark room for an hour. The crowd was good and the acts were solid throughout - Australian Mick Nevan opened with typical antipodean brashness that the audience loved, Benji Waterstones went softly softly with some curious tales of exotic drug remedies, David McIver cranked up the surrealism and Yuriko Kotani rounded things off with some strong observational material I hadn't seen before. Crowd happy, bucket heavy, a good show all round.

First World Problems wasn't quite the seat grab that Tight Tens had been but then I've simply been impressed day-in day-out that anyone would be open to taking a punt on an unknown doing what could hardly be described as traditional stand-up or musical comedy - never mind this turnout being consistently in the tens and twenties. So with twelve bums on seats, Anna and I started the chart rundown to a very enthusiastic mixed age crew. Every song went down well, though it was with Selfie Stick that things got potentially viral with Anna bouncing her arm throughout and a significant portion of the crowd doing the same. It may yet be the new dab....or more likely the new Gangnam Style horse riding thing. Crew happy, bucket again pretty heavy - we celebrated with drinks and a Chinese.

Living the dream.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 31 / £67.30Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 12 / £38.28

Friday, 11 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 6

Following a quick 1pm appearance at The Suburban Gadget Cabaret (check it out!) I was out on the street flyering for Tight Tens. The bill was packed with Bear Jokes regulars and they did the decent audience - including a couple returning from Tuesday's show with friends - proud. The bucket was good and I headed to The Globe to do a podcast interview with Paul Richards.

As interviews go it was a pleasure. More a chat than anything else, I'll link it once it goes live. 

Paul then made a guest appearance at my show in the evening. It was a weird affair with the youngest audience member being just six years old and two guys in their early twenties both drunk and passing out in the back row. Still, an audience is an audience and we ploughed on with our merry band of 11. The bucket was terrible but as a trial of enthusiasm, lifted by the six year old's joyous joining in, it was worth it.

This left the evening for crashing out at the flat and cooking meatballs. 

Today I have a film crew coming to record FWP so if you're up then now is the day to make your presence felt!

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 21 / £54
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 11 / £11

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 4 & 5

Well it's better late than never.

So yesterday's shows were pretty interesting. Clash of the Tight Tens had a decent turnout and a more than decent lineup which pretty much kept the place laughing from start to finish. You get a feel for these things from the off and when I'd opened with Two Shots and the audience had sung along with way more of it than usual I figured we were on to a good thing. The bucket take was better than ever and the flyers flew out of the hands of those taking part and stood along the corridor at the end.

This show had been preceded by my appearance at the ultra-early 11am show, "The Full Irish", at Whistlebinkies. When I arrived at 10:50 the doors had yet to open and a massive crowd had formed ready to come in. By the time I hit the stage for ten minutes the room was heaving and people were very much up for joining in with the songs despite my lack of any obvious Irish connection. Flyers were duly handed out and several attendees did make an appearance at my solo show later in the day.

Before that happened though I guested on Aaron Simmonds show in the same room and sang at a small but cheerful bunch of attendees. Well worth checking out.

My own show was the best attended yet with 25 bums on seats. Granted a large proportion of this was made up of teenagers at the lower end of the 14+ minimum so the bucket wasn't that great but the energy was excellent. Anna and I jumped about with some keen abandon and we even got our first Twitter review. A good one I'm glad to say. 

It was the perfect way to wrap up the day before joining my father, his friend and my brother for some food and then a slightly dodgy cabaret show that shall not be named.

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 18 / £56.84
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 25 / £20

Today was my day off so Sonia Aste carried the standard for Tight Tens and I bumped into two people whilst passing through Black Market at 6pm I had to tell to to come back tomorrow as they'd come for First World Problems. My brother, Anna and I packed in a whole bunch of PBH shows, of which each and every one I would recommend highly:

Andy Onions: Powerpointless (Powerpoint based silliness)
Nick Hall: Spencer (Historical, hilarious)
Mojo and Fitz Let You In (3 stand-ups, 45 minutes well spent)
Ross Hepburn is Beetlejuiced'd (If you like the film...)
David McIver: Stop It David We Are Having Too Much Fun (Ridiculous, surreal, brilliant)

Tomorrow I return to Black Market, guest at a cabaret and have not one but two interviews (oooooh....)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Edinburgh: Day 3

A shorter update today as I'm back for about thirty minutes before I head out again to the centre to do the Anarchy Cabaret at Ciao Roma. 

Tight Tens had another fantastic turnout with 29 bums on seats when we got underway. For whatever reason, however, the energy simply wasn't what it had been for the previous two days. The acts struggled at times, hobbled in some cases by the presence of children in the audience and the need to be clean. It wasn't that the audience weren't laughing, it was just that it was so muted it wasn't contagious. The show wrapped and though there were plenty of smiles on the way out the bucket said it all.

Come the solo show I was already braced for a smaller turnout having spoken to plenty of other acts during the afternoon experiencing big drops from Sunday. In the end support act opener, Aaron Simmons, MC'd to 9 people. The 9, however, were the absolute opposite of the Tight Tens crowd and clapped, shouted and stomped their way through the chart rundown with absolute abandon. The defunct projector has been replaced by a 17" monitor I bought in a charity shop for £15 and it did a great job. Anna's dancing was also outstanding. The bucket, again, said it all.

Onwards to Roma!

Clash of the Tight Tens: Citizens / Donations: 29 / £21.50
Andy Quirk's Got First World Problems: Crew Members / Donations: 9 / £27