With a mere four months until the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival it is time to register. Apart from flyering my show during the festival itself, I find this the hardest part of comedy – organising the gig.
First of all is the decision of whether or not to even do a show, it is a big decision because as much as I love the stage time there are endless hours and amounts of energy that go into the preparation, writing, editing, rehearsing, self loathing, questioning if people would want to see this show...
I am not famous, I do not have my own television or radio show, I do not have a weekly column in a national periodical and I only have a small group of Melbourne based friends. In my mind this causes an emotionally exhausting dilemma. Why would people pay money to see my show? Would I pay money to see my show? It is the same dilemma when looking for a venue. Am I good enough to use this space, am I good enough that the venue manager wants to offer me the space.
In crude and basic terms the answer to these questions is either “Shit Yes” or “Fuck No”. All questions asked and answered in my own head. The extreme swings can occur quickly and repeatedly. The trick is to get the positive response at a time when you are available to harness the energy to make phone calls, send emails and meet with venues. When the answer is for the negative it can drain all energy very quickly. At its debilitating worst it can result in hours/days of sleep.
With much coaxing from my production manager the decision to definitely pursue a show, subject to the availability of a suitable venue was made. Now the race is on, secure a venue before the registration deadline passes.
With six day before registration closes I had not received even the hint of a venue offer. That is not much time when fighting inner demons and anxieties. The team from the MICF administration team were very helpful in giving me some new leads. With the pressure of time I made a number of phone calls and with in 24hrs had the luxury of 3 venues offering me space for times and dates I wanted. This did a lot to lift my spirits.
I am very excited that I will be performing at Felix Bar, 11 Fitzroy Street St Kilda. If they were writing a blog I am sure that they would declare that they are equally pleased about the booking.
It has been noticed that many comedians throughout history have lived with severe depression, anxiety or other serious mental illnesses. The question is which came first the giggles or the gloom.
Having locked in the venue then comes the challenge of choosing a name for the show, writing a summation and a press release – all of which for a show that is not written.
For me the name of the show is an opportunity to make some good out of my surname. Freak as a name in most circumstances is only a burden. In comedy the name Freak is of value, although most people want to believe it is just a humourous stage name. The teasing I received throughout my 12 years of public schooling prove that it is no joke. Previous shows have been titled “Welcome to the Freak Show” (my first solo show) and “Freakuent Flyer” (a show loosely connected to my travel experiences).
There is no theme to my current works except that I am expressing my annoyance at annoying trivialities in my every day world. As I plan to vent my gripes I was considering “Venti”, using a variation of the Starbucks logo for my show image but fear retribution from the coffee franchise, or perhaps “Splenectomy” (venting my spleen – the fact I feel need the need to explain this pun is the reason it was rejected – would have been even better if my show was to be held at Spleen). These two option also do not include a pun with my name. The resulting title “DFO: Darren Freaks Out”. (For those residing outside of Melbourne this is a play on a local discount shopping precinct DFO: Direct Factory Outlet)
The blurb and press release was easier in part but I did have to commit to absurdities that annoy me in the hope that I will be able to coble together material about them over the next few weeks. For a higher degree of difficulty I am setting my jokes to music.
Perhaps I should write a song about writing comedy songs and preparing for a major festival. It all sounds very post modern and deconstructive.