Nudity, domestic pratfalls and more nudity

Tuesday 10 August 2010, 15:21

Elis James Elis James

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Tuesday morning. Five shows in, 19 left. The acclimatisation period is almost over.

Things that make it feel like the Edinburgh Festival:

Doing two rowdy late shows on Saturday night. One was at a venue called The Underbelly, where three drunk Scottish lads took off their clothes as 200 people roared approval, in that way you only get when it's 2.14am and there's nudity on the cards. I was backstage talking about ticket sales to my friend the Australian comic Felicity Ward though, and missed the whole thing.

Things that don't make it feel like the Edinburgh Festival:

I have not been drunk yet, as I am still terrified that my show is awful and if I do a show hungover I will be rubbish, reviewers will slate me, I'll never be able to come back to the festival and mam and dad's house will fall into the sea.

I am also eating quite well, and it is just about morning when I get up, amazingly. Once, at the Fringe in 2008, my watch stopped during the night, misleading me when I woke up into thinking it was 7.58pm, which would have meant I'd missed my show.

Thankfully, I realised on staggering terrified into the kitchen that it was still the afternoon (thank you oven clock), but the scary thing was that it was plausible I'd slept the whole way through. It was at that stage I realised the Edinburgh Festival gives you the body clock of a tormented night porter at a haunted hotel.

Things that make it feel like the Edinburgh Festival:

I have already seen the show that has inspired me for next year, and that was within 24 hours of arriving in Edinburgh. John Luke Roberts is a mate of mine but I hadn't seen a single preview of his show, and was only vaguely aware of the premise.

However, I went on the first night (a minute before starting he muttered "this will be good in a fortnight El, please don't judge me") and it was absolutely superb. Video inserts, offstage screaming, superb acting from his very talented girlfriend Nadia Kamil in one of the funniest pieces of crying I have ever seen - it is an amazing piece of work and far more than just stand up. I left the venue feeling totally inspired.

John Luke Roberts Distracts You From A Murder is on at the Pleasance Dome at 8.10pm. It is clashing with me but I am going to be big about this and I urge you to see it.

There's plenty of early buzz for a few other shows as well, but I haven't had a chance to check them out yet, so I will fill you in as I get the chance. Josh my flatmate described Henry Paker's 3D Bugle as "extraordinary", so that's next on the list. (Henry Paker is on at The GRV at 7.50pm and is also clashing with me, so I'll have to watch that on my night off.)

Things that don't make it feel like the Edinburgh Festival:

Our flat is actually quite nice. To save money I lived in a windowless, coffin sized griefhole last year, and if the door to my room was shut the only way to tell if it was night or day was by looking at my phone.

This year, in classic Edinburgh tradition, the handle broke on our lounge door, and being four comedians none of us knew what to do about it.

My immediate thought was "oh well, we'll lose our bond and we'll have to hang out in the kitchen for four weeks, but I can live with that," until my flatmate John Robins exclaimed "MY DICTAPHONE AND ALL MY SHOW NOTES ARE IN THERE!"

Amazingly, following a tearful call to a real man with big hands and a toolbox, the door was mended within the day (it took the real man approximately 10-15 seconds, which is the most embarrassed I have felt for a long time. He was here for less than the duration of those announcements telling you to mind the gap at train stations).

That level of efficiency doesn't feel like me at all. In 2008 there was a brown/orange ooze seeping into our lounge, which myself, Dan Atkinson, Lloyd Langford and John Gordillo would just stare at as we ate our tea. Eventually, the ooze became quite the celebrity after The Scotsman ran a feature on it.

Right. I'm off to try and make my show funnier. Living with John Robins, Josh Widdicombe and Damion Larkin has led to a small amount of horseplay, which I will fill you in on if it's appropriate (not a huge amount of horseplay - we are comics after all, not Welsh rugby boys on a tour of Canada).

OK. I'll tell you. One of the lads read from my diary sardonically whilst naked.

Oh despair!

Go and see John Luke Roberts!


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