MY FIRST appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was 2010. The great impresario Karen Koren had invited me to perform at the legendary Gilded Balloon after seeing me perform stand-up at the Voodoo Rooms.
What she didn’t know was that performance she had just witnessed was the first time I ever did a full set of stand-up anywhere. She invited me to not only do an hour’s worth of comedy but to double-up and bring my infamous New York open mic, The Antihoot, to the Fringe as well.
While I was packing my bags to come to the Fringe, in order to psych me up for the journey my wife asked who I might want to meet at the festival. Without hesitation I replied: “Noel Fielding”. We had watched The IT Crowd that summer and fell in love with the brilliant comic and his goth character Richmond. There was no way Noel would be there, he had become a big star by this time and had, shall we say, a rather busy schedule.
I’ve been a musician my whole life. Stage nerves were something I’d left behind years ago. However, upon arriving at the Gilded Balloon and seeing the intensity and grandeur of the venue and the exalted position comedy had there, I was, to put it mildly, terrified. I stood on the stage during the tech run-through with my back to the audience seats, looking for possible escape routes, when I heard my producer call out my name.
“Lach, someone’s here who wants to say hello.” I came off the stage to find Noel Fielding standing there with his hand out-stretched. “Lach, it’s so good to meet you. Everyone’s excited about your being here. Welcome to the Fringe!”
I stood there stunned. I shook his hand and it felt like the universe telling me that I was going to be OK, that coming to the Fringe, getting into comedy, was a good move. I watched him smile, pivot and dance away like the white rabbit through the looking glass. I turned to my producer to thank him for setting that up. He looked back at me bewildered and said: “I’d nothing to do with that. I’ve no idea what he was doing here.”
And so I say to you, while you are at the Fringe this year, keep your eye out for the universe’s welcoming hand and when you see it, give it a good shake back. You won’t regret it for a second.
• Lach: Up the Anti! is at Alternative Fringe @ the Hive, Wednesdays to Saturdays. 8pm, until 25 August.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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