I went back to work online from Monday this week. I started the week by writing the first line of my next show, just in case the whole month was not the fever dream it sometimes feels like. When I had a rough morning a few days ago, my best friend put it in perspective for me. I am under a year as a performing comedian. Attending the Fringe with a whole hour was an intimidating decision to make, but, I’ve only been cutting material. Never in want of it. Maybe that bodes well. I am ready to go home now, but slightly sad that I have not explored the city whatsoever. I live and eat like a dysfunctional college freshman. I barely get the laundry done weekly. I eat my one meal a day outside. Typically, fast-food because there is no time. No matter the timing of meals, I take hours to unwind and consequently sleep very late. I have been running, though. Despite an injury. Despite the pressures of the day. Occasionally, I run into Emmanuel Sonubi at the gym. He is typically leaving when I enter. My old, athlete self was very frustrated one morning. I made up some excuse for sauntering in at 10am by telling him ‘wait until you have kids’. I went to his show last night. He has kids and still makes it to the gym early. I thought to myself, ‘Holy Cow! The man has lived a very interesting life. Despite having kids.’
I watched some Ricky Gervais last night. I think rectal exams and absolute mastery of anatomy aside, his notes of giving hugs were most meaningful. My south Indian family isn’t very different. Maybe a little more superstitious, but definitely in the same category of huggability. When I meet this man, who visits a new gym daily (so odds are he will show up at the Pleasance soon) if he were ever to say ‘why did you start to think you are funny’, I could say to him ‘wait until you have kids’ and get away with it. Everything seems funnier when dealing with children. Even flyering. I handed a flyer to the same family twice, I was going cross-eyed before noon one day and I said ‘oh shit’ and the 12-year-old followed me to the exit of the park at George Square, tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘I am going to tell… saying shit is not allowed’. They start ‘em young around here.
If I came back to the Fringe, I would investigate how one gets help with flyering. Although, many times this month, I have felt like that is the job. To go out there and tell people the story. I know now that it is only part of the job. I hope to catch even more shows this week. I am most impressed by musical improv. My own venue has the fabulous Caitlin Cook and A J Holmes, who put together a compilation recently. I witnessed a sliver of what Chris Turner can do while rapping with phenomenal Shlomo accompanying him. I also caught a very short standup set by Kwame Asante, who gives all of us nerds hope. He is a medical doctor. I am an engineer. Together, we represent the only two professions that were respectable to pursue in the 90s in India. And then there were two ladies singing a caterpillarious song about Linda, who lived with and loved a lizard. I fell off my chair listening to these two women. That it was 1 am in the morning is only an excuse.
I also feel like I have mastered Gallic. Before this late night show, my best friend called. To check if I was eating at all. I remember telling her ‘I am going to the Monkey Barrel at the Cowgate’. She said ‘Holy Cow!’. Apparently the Edinburgh state of mind extends to speaking in code. Monkey Barrel. Cowgate. Underbelly. Clover. These words haunt my dreams.
For all my misgivings, I am glad social media exists. People have showed up. Daily. I am so, so grateful for this. As audiences walk away into the night (or in my case, the afternoon), I sometimes wonder if any of what I just witnessed were real belly laughs or simply under the influence of something more potent. Then I get a great note. Or two. Or ten. And I think to myself, ‘Holy Cow!’
BC:AD – Before Children: After Diapers is at The Underbelly, Bristo Square daily at 2.25pm