Edinburgh Day Three (for me. Day One for my girlfriend)

Alienation Squad are out in force this morning. Huge crowds of red-topped people cluster about on the footways running through between buildings in Pollock Halls. They seem to be breaking the first rule of Alienation Squad which is: “You do not talk about Alienation Squad.”

The second rule of Alienation Squad is: “…or anything else, really.. just keep yourself to yourself.”

I see them as I go to meet Heap for Breakfast. After that I walk down to Waveley Bridge to meet my girlfriend off her bus from the airport. Then we go back to Pollock Halls and she tries to check in. But it’s too early. We have to wait until two o’clock. We bump into Jaq and have a nice lunch in the Halls Cafeteria.

Jaq believes that Alienation Squad are actually people that work at the Halls cleaning up the rooms etc.

After lunch me and my girlfriendgo and check in. We go to my girlfriend’s room. It’s a bit shitty. We go back to reception to change room. We take her bags over to her new room in my block.

Then me and Jaq go the Counting House and meet Heap who is flyering as the improv show before us kicks out. Then I wander around trying to flyer some more but hating the idea of it.

My best moment comes when I approach a couple looking at the posters outside The Gilded Balloon and offer them a flyer.

“No thanks.” says the woman

“Okay. No problem.”

“YOU GIVE UP TOO EASILY!” she says in capital letters.

“Well, I just hate flyering, you see. I don’t like to bother people. It seems rude.”

We get talking and I try to pitch the show to her. I point out Rich and Rich on the flyer: “This guy’s in the Amused Moose comedy competition final this year. This guy was in the So You Think You’re Funny Final. And that’s me. I have “excellent shoes.””


Our second show only draws about seven people but Rob brings them to the front and we get underway. Our friends Jaq, Marie and my girlfriend turn up soon after so that makes ten.

I am working on shortening and sharpening my set into a tight fifteen and am pretty happy with it today. Afterward me and my girlfriend go to the Jekyll and Hyde where she has an open spot. I get to have an alcoholic drink (Guinness) as I have no more shows to do that day and watch the new act showcase.

Afterward we wander by the Pleasance and find out we have just missed Richard Herring doing his Christ on a Bike show. We get a flyer for Neil Hamburger the American Anti-Comedian and decide to give it a go. We go to a Cuban restaurant and have some nice Questa-thingys and Quica-somethings… and Cuba Libres.

Then back to the Pleasance for the show. Inside we see Stewart Lee go up one stairwell, then moments later, Richard Herring comes down the opposite stairwell. Damn! We were seconds away from an impromptu Lee and Herring reunion. Sean Hughes is in the audience for Neil Hamburger

Mr. Hamburger is okay. But the audience seem really in on the joke, joining in with the catchphrases and call and responses. I feel a bit left out – like I have joined a cult but I don’t know what it’s for. “We’re all worshipping what now? Oh, okay.”

The show finishes after 40 minutes. Judging by the reaction of some fans, finishing early is funny in itself.

The reaction is this: HA HA HA HA!

I actually think the problem with the show is that the audience are too keen to prove that they are IN ON THE JOKE. They are overly keen to respond to the call and responses and fall about in over-the-top laughter at all the deliberately awful jokes. My sense is the real fun in Neil Hamburger’s act is when it doesn’t go well and he turns on the audience. There is a bit where he tries to force it. A door slams and he leaves the series of crappy jokes to rant about snipers ready outside to shoot down people that leave early. This IS funny. Honest. But because the audience never turns he never gets to rant again.

After the show, we go outside and find it is raining. Hooray! I text people to see if there is still drinking to be had. But by the time they reply, we have given up and got back to halls.

The party continues.


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