Over an insanely chaotic 24 days in Scotland, the largest art festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe, descends on the capital city. Every August thousands of shows are performed, and thousands of performers are either elated or devastated with the response.
I am going to be one of those performers this year.
And I'm a wee bit scared.
I'm heading over to showcase, or at the very least gently present, my comedy wares alongside a group of my comedy friends. We're taking over a show called FanFiction Comedy, and it's exactly as geeky as it sounds. The seven of us, plus a special international guest each show, take turns reading original pop-culture based stories.
Seven young New Zealand comedians heading to Europe to write stories. It's almost exactly like Ernest Hemingway moving to Paris, except instead of A Moveable Feast, we write things like 'What If Harry Potter was sent to The Hunger Games?'.
If the concept sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. It's also very funny. I don't want to boast, but the show totally won Best Show at the 2012 NZ Comedy Guild Awards, and earlier this year became one of the most successful debut shows the Melbourne Comedy Festival has ever seen. No big deal, calm down.
Also don't worry, it's not all Harry Potter (although a lot of it is Harry Potter). There have been stories about The Fast and The Furious, an origin story for the Snake from the Nokia cell phone game Snake, Ryan Gosling having an existential crisis, and someone even combined Hairy Maclary with Dante's Inferno. As long as it's funny, it's okay to read.
But wait, Brendon, if the Festival is on now, why are you writing like you're not there yet? Good question, handsome/pretty reader. That's because while everyone else is over there right now, I am not.
I have something I like to call a "full time job", which, it turns out, means I can't just skate away for months at a time. This is the reality for a lot of NZ's comedians, so while my friends are over there slogging away at the start, I am going to fly over for the last 14 of the 23 shows. I'm like the Piri Weepu of comedy, you don't really want to start me, but I'm great late in the game.
So here I am, stuck in New Zealand stressing about what's going to happen. Are they going to be alright without me? (yes). Will I mess up the show when I get there? (probably). Is the room I've arranged to stay in with a stranger over the internet actually going to exist and not be a scam? (I sure hope so). Do I have to eat Haggis even though I don't want to? (no, that's a lazy stereotype).
Taking a show overseas is an exciting and terrifying prospect. It's easy to get comfortable in New Zealand, to find your niche and stay wrapped up in its embrace, so exposing yourself to the big bad world is an intimidating step to take. But I think it's an important step to take. Because how else is the world going to discover a bunch of young Kiwis talking about Hufflepuff?
The next one of these I write will be from Edinburgh, in the middle of the action. So get ready for some epic stories about handing flyers out to tourists and figuring out Scottish public transportation...