When asked about my most memorable comedy moments, my mind goes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the festival of extremes.
Edinburgh is a mecca for comedians and last year I got to go for the first time. It was probably the greatest experience of my life. I performed 29 shows in a row at midday in a great little 60-seater shipping container. I’d heard every horror story about Edinburgh: the impossibility of finding an audience, the endless flyering, the exhaustion and the tears. I turned up with my keyboard player, Amy Bennett, excited but also with very realistic expectations about how the month might pan out.
The day the show opened I thought to myself ‘If four people turn up today, I’ll be rapt’. When I got to the venue there were eight tickets sold and I literally jumped for joy. That show is one of my fondest comedy moments. I remember releasing my Aussie jokes one by one and waiting for them to crash silently to the ground. Instead, one by one, they got a laugh. I wonder still whether the audience could see the surprise on my face each time.
Of course there were tough shows. An elderly Scottish woman turned up to one and sat in the front row. After rolling her eyes and making a series of gestures indicating she was bored out of her brain for the first 20 minutes of the show, she proceeded to slip her shoes off, pop her feet up on a spare seat and fall asleep. I just wanted to lie down next to her, spoon her and sleep too.
At our final show of the season, 50 people turned up thanks to hours of flyering and old-fashioned word of mouth. Sitting with Amy having a beer in one of the Edinburgh gardens, I’d never been happier.
Anne Edmonds’ new show, The Quarter Cabbage is on at Melbourne Town Hall, 120 Swanston Street until 21 April.