I made the mistake of typing ‘performance anxiety’ into Google.
I’ve been invited to sign up for Erectile Dysfunction advice and tips on how to overcome bedroom pressures.
One of the tips, I notice, is ‘let go of perfectionism.’
I already did that. As anyone who’s taken a close look at my housework or my accounting will attest.
But it is not my bedroom performance I’m anxious about.
Hell no! I don’t take those aerial yoga classes for nothing!
It’s the imminent run of comedy shows I’m booked to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Twenty three shows from 3rd – 26th August inclusive (not the 15th) at the Counting House Loft, 7.45pm. (If you’re passing Scotland, drop by.)
Just reading those words makes my large intestine quiver. What am I thinking?
I haven’t been performing as a comedian for very long.
Well, not officially, anyway. I’ve forced my well crafted, oft-told anecdotes on my pals over dinner on many, many occasions.
I’ve done a lot of writing. So I suppose that’s stood me in good stead.
And I’ve done a lot of performing if you count sitting behind the mic in a dark studio talking arrant and often near-libellous nonsense.
Or staring down a camera lens while simultaneously jabbing at a virtual map and hoping that your fingers are stroking Branksome Chine.
But actually sharing a room with strangers and making them laugh? That’s pretty new.
I’ve been gigging (God I feel so damn RELEVANT when I use this term) since last October.
It’s gone well so far.
Most of the time at least some people have laughed at least some of the time. And I know enough now about audiences to know they’re not doing that out of kindness.
I can’t remember exactly when I decided I’d commit to a run at the Fringe but it fits with my instant gratification personality profile.
I haven’t got the patience to work the open mic circuit for five years accruing the stage time which would justify a stab at Edinburgh.
I’m in Executive Youth, for Christ’s sake! I’ve got to get my comedy skates on!
(You know you too are in Executive Youth if you thought of Michael Crawford when you read that.)
Ready or not, I want to throw myself into the heaving mass of over-enthusiastic, hyper-theatrical, sometimes-troubled, often-delusional-performers-following-their-dreams that is the Edinburgh Fringe.
I think troubled and delusional really suits me.
I’m actively looking forward to spending night after night drunkenly dissecting reaction to my show while simultaneously smearing chicken biryani down my glittery costume.
I’m totally ready to watch the flyers advertising my show make their way into the nearest bin as I am rejected, discarded by people who don’t trust me to make them laugh.
I’ve done rejection! Easy!
Rumour has it the average audience size at the Fringe is 6. I’m ok with intimacy!
But I am apprehensive.
What if I’m too niche? Or graphic? Or too show-off-y? Or old?
Or just plain not funny?
These are the questions which are keeping me awake. Along with the record overnight temperatures and humidity, obvs.
I’m having anxiety dreams on a regular basis. Many involve actual, funny, household comedy stars.
In one I am liberated from a three legged race in which I am partnered with Katherine Ryan whose legs are much longer than mine (plus she’s wearing six inch heels). I am rescued by Reginald D Hunter who offers me a piggy back.
I know right, let’s not even start deconstructing that…
In another, Frankie Boyle (who will be performing in a room beneath mine in the same venue*) and I hide in a grand piano together.
I bet he doesn’t have any other fans who want to spoon him in a Steinway.
(I’m hoping this is defo a dream and not a premonition.)
My dad came round yesterday. He brought me a picture of myself performing in my first ballet show. I must have been about three years old.
In the picture I look like a suet dumpling wrapped in organza. My face is round and red. I look like I’m about to cry.
* Laughing for Palestine with Frankie Boyle is August 13 at The Counting House Ballroom, 4.15pm.