The Comedy Festival, and my season starts in 2 days time as I write this. Nerves, excitement and fear are almost overwhelming – in equal measure. Ticket sales are ticking along nicely. Opening night is sold out and the second night there are only 10 tickets remaining. As long as there are tickets available then there is always room for improvement. Ticket sales adds a lot of anxiety even though it is one aspect of which performers have little control, if any.
Having tested material in pubs and clubs around Melbourne throughout the first part of 2015, I know it works. It generates laughs. At the right spots. Laugh with me, laugh at me, it does not really matter as long as there are laughs. A 50 minute solo show is a different kettle of fish.
The risk is it stinks like a kettle of fish.
It is all me, no other acts no MC. Just me beginning to end. My jokes, my audience interaction my musical ability.
The pay off is a lot of laughs, audiences telling their friends leading to more ticket sales. Intrinsically the reward is simply being acknowledged, all of the work being validated.
Issues of memory haunt me in my preparation. Will I be able to remember all of the show? Will my memory fail me mid line in a song?
And then there are the unknowns, broken guitar strings, losing my voice, drunk audience members, power failure, Russian air raid. Reviews. Some of these contingency plans can be developed others not so much. All of them add to the stress in the lead up to putting on a show.
The culmination of the nerves, excitement and fear is energy. Twitchiness, incredibly short attention span and irritability which all in turn lead to highly irregular and disrupted sleep patterns.
To complete the vicious cycle sleep becomes something else to worry about. It would be awkward to fall asleep during my own show.