So just past halfway through the festival. I'm really really happy with my show, it is without a doubt the best thing I've ever written. But not a single review so far. Well I know I'm not the first performer to not get as many reviews as I'd like but lets just look at the numbers for a minute:
This is my sixth solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe. None of them have EVER been reviewed in a national paper. And yes I sent out press releases and yes I took a lot of advice on how to write press releases, much of it from experts who write press releases for super-famous acts.
The UK's most-read comedy website Chortle has never reviewed a show of mine. My page on there is loaded with vicious comments about how I am as funny as herpes. Note: there is an excellent joke about herpes in my show this year (although it relates to a side-point I don't always have time to make so apologies if I didn't do it when you were there!). It is met with contagious laughter (boom tish).
Two years ago I had no reviews at all for my show. This was in spite of a stunt I pulled giving me what might well have been the largest audience ever for a joke at the fringe (I did a joke simultaneously broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live). And, yes, I wrote and circulated a press release about that too.
Last year I hired a publicist who worked her socks off and got me onto a few of the smaller review sites (who for the most part LOVED me) and got The Scotsman to write that my audience thought mine was the best show at the Fringe but that they didn't get it.
Is it because there's no appetite for left-wing political comedy? I'm not low on audiences, despite the "Olympics effect" my show has been at least as busy as last year. The Guardian did take the time to review Chris Coltrane's first one man show "Activism is Fun". So why not my SIXTH? Chris was disappointed to only get three stars. I would walk across oceans for half a star... Footnote: Chris's show is great, and deserves at least twelve stars in my opinion.
Please - write that I am a fat ugly bitch if you want, that's what most of the internet thinks anyway apparently. But please SOMEONE come and review my show!
Now this is a dangerous thing to say as it is likely to send my many Internet trolls into overdrive and leave yet more torrents of offensive comments up where I can't moderate them. I wouldn't say it unless I was desperate. However I AM desperate so here goes: if you have seen my show, please go onto the sites edfringe, Chortle, Broadway Baby, List, British Comedy Guide and add an enthusiastic comment about it, urge reviewers to come along. Or maybe someone would like to point out under The Guardian's article on political comedy at the fringe that, again, they've missed my work from their run-down of relevant shows and that after six solo shows they've not reviewed me. Thank you!
Other things to be paranoid about:
A few days ago my comedy notebook went missing from a show. Of course I assumed I had just misplaced it and tried retracing my steps to no effect. Today a box and a half (all that remained) of my flyers have been stolen from my venue. No-one else's flyers are missing. Mine were not even on the top of the pile - someone would have had to be digging through with the specific aim of finding mine and sabotaging my show.
Wherever I go in Edinburgh I seem to see signs advertising variable bill shows with all male acts listed. I always apply for a spot if I meet people who book shows. I'd love to do the big late night shows. Only one of them books me. I did Spank! last week and absolutely stormed the show in spite of an incredibly rowdy crowd. No word from any of the others. I honestly can only conclude that I'm not paranoid, but that a surprisingly high proportion of people in this industry are pretty uncomfortable around outspoken, politically engaged funny FEMINIST women.
The two shows I would most like to do are Political Animal and SetList. I don't think anyone could argue I don't cover important political issues well or that I have difficulty thinking on my feet and improvising. I've asked for spots on both to the point that I think I'm starting to be a nuisance.
If you go to these shows, or any others that have guest acts, please please please make a point of finding out who is in charge and asking them to book me. Again: thank you.