Great Art doesn’t depend on audience numbers. But I reckon Comedy does. The choices you make when your aim is to be funny are directly related to how many people you’re trying to amuse, whether you’re testing material out on an unwitting date, or giving the best man’s speech at a wedding. If there’s no one there you’re just tickling yourself, which is never as fun, even if your imagined audience is much more appreciative than a real one could ever be. Now, I’ve been thinking about this because I’m about to take my (brilliant and amazing) show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the question of how to get a decent audience in every day to make it all worthwhile is playing on my mind. I know that most people buy their tickets on the day, at the last minute, unless you’re off the tele… But, yes, I admit it – I still wanted someone somewhere to plan and purchase a ticket for the event of the year in advance.
So you can imagine how happy I was to sell a ticket. And my grief when I realised I had dreamt the sale up, literally, in my sleep. I got over it with time. I reassured myself that when I really sold a ticket, I would appreciate it all the more. And I was right. Making that first sale was amazing. Until I was plunged back into the darkness, with the news that this “sale” was actually an in-house test of the box office system.
Forgive then, my wariness this morning, when my sales report trumpeted that I had clearly sold a whole ticket. Unsurprisingly, I spent the rest of my day making a lot of phone calls, and writing a lot of emails, and popping a lot of valium, while busy people invested valuable time verifying the authenticity of my big box office breakthrough… and people… I am delighted to announce that it’s official: I’m in business! Quick! Buy your tickets before I sell out!