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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Fringe diary: Stand-up comedian
comedian Adam Buxton
Adam and Joe star Adam Buxton is going solo at the Edinburgh Fringe
Adam Buxton made his debut as a stand-up comic at this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival, the world's biggest annual arts festival.

Usually performing with Joe Cornish as TV and radio comedy duo Adam and Joe, Adam chose to face the Edinburgh audience alone.

He staged new show I, Pavel, about a "woefully untalented" Russian artist, at the Pleasance Courtyard theatre throughout the three-week festival.

Here he posts his final thoughts on the reality of performing at the Fringe. Click on the blue links below to read his other diary entries from his time in Edinburgh.

IT'S ALL OVER

It's all over. The last few shows were fantastic. Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, The Magic Numbers, Travis and the guy from Popworld were amongst those in the audience so I really pulled out all the stops.

If there are no celebrities in an audience I find it very hard to get motivated - I mean, why would you want to impress someone who hasn't been on TV?

I'm going to miss the routine. There's something very comforting about knowing what you have to do every day and getting on with it.

By the end I wasn't even bothered if people weren't laughing that much. I'd had enough positive reactions to know that the show was, within its own terms, a success.

I'm hoping to do a short run in London in a couple of months but it'll be weird without the whole atmosphere of Edinburgh and the amazing support I got from everyone here, from local audiences and Adam & Joe fans to promoters and venue staff.

The only bum note in the whole run was on the last night. As I was cycling to meet a friend, a local yob (I believe they're known as 'neds') leaned out of a passing car and tried to push me off my bike. Nice. I took a picture of his number plate so he's in big trouble now! The cops should have him in a jiffy.

Shameful admissions from my time at the Fringe:

  • I brought a suit with me and had it specially dry cleaned in case I won any awards.

  • I told about 40 people I would "definitely" come along to their shows and failed to do so. In fact I ended up seeing only six shows over the whole run.

  • I went to see The Island at the cinema and kind of enjoyed it.

  • I started a new award for people who aren't eligible for the Perrier called the Buxton. It's plastic but it's still mineral water-based so it's just as good. I made the shortlist but was beaten by Munty & Cakes. They're not even real. I never even got to wear my suit. Oh well, maybe next year.

    AWARD ANGST

    The Perrier nominees have been announced and the award gossip is really hotting up. As far as I'm concerned this is the most tedious aspect of the whole festival experience.

    Awards of any kind are a divisive, inequitable, meaningless hangover of everything that was bad about school and exams.

    I might revise that opinion if I was eligible for the Perrier but apparently my dazzling television career precludes me, despite the fact that I am in every way a newcomer to the Fringe and certainly the funniest newcomer at that.

    It's a disgrace and merely confirms all my worst suspicions about the Perrier panel and their mission to pollute the world with more people who simply aren't me.

    But what if I was eligible and I won the Perrier? I guess then I'd have some exciting meetings at Channel 4 or BBC Three and perhaps I'd get my own Friday night show commissioned.

    For a few series it would be great, but then I'd start looking a bit old hat and the channel would feel it was time for a change. I'd fail to reinvent myself sufficiently and suddenly my phone would stop ringing.

    Out of desperation I'd take a one man show to the Edinburgh Fringe. No, that would be awful. Luckily I'm not eligible so I don't have to worry about all that.

    DAD IN THE AUDIENCE

    My dad, an octogenarian off the marital leash, was in town yesterday.

    We hit the Pleasance courtyard a good hour before my show and wandered about soaking up the beer and sipping the atmosphere.

    It wasn't long before a couple of student types pointed at Pa and cried: "It's BaaadDad!" That was his moniker during his festival and club correspondent days on The Adam and Joe Show.

    To say he quite likes this kind of attention is like saying John McCririck is slightly buffoonish.

    Last night was show number 13 and luckily, turned out to be the best so far.

    Adam Buxton
    Adam's new character Pavel comes complete with a new beard
    It was sold out and the audience - including my dad in the best seat, flanked by awestruck BaaadDad groupies - was amazing.

    It was a relief not only because I wanted my dad to see a good one, but because a few nights before I had been having a serious crisis of confidence about it all.

    Other performers have told me that this is normal mid-festival blues but now I feel more optimistic again.

    After the show we bump into Katy Brand whose show Celebrities Are Gods I saw a few nights ago and really loved.

    Katy is with a friend who is a private secretary to Tony Blair.

    Pa is faced with the problem of how to flirt with her whilst telling her how much he loathes her boss.

    He manages it. Good times.

    FIRST SHOW

    My very first Edinburgh show is tonight at 9:20pm.

    I've got so much to do there isn't time to consider how terrified I am that it will be rotten.

    I run about buying props that I forgot to bring then sit down at my computer to tinker with the show's many video elements.

    A while later I look up from my computer and it's 8pm! How did that happen?

    My computer is like a time machine that only goes forward. What's the point of that? I fear the future.

    But here it is and suddenly I'm on my bike powering up the giant hill from my flat to the Pleasance and with minutes of arriving I'm on stage.

    'Completely deflated'

    The show is, if not a disaster, certainly no triumph.

    Glitches in the videos pop up and recently completed chunks of script fall flat.

    People laugh, just not that much. I come off stage completely deflated.

    My director says "well done, that was good" in that breezy way that translates as "wow, that was boring!"

    "It was a shy show," he smiles. "That's what happens with previews. Now you just need to find that aggression again!"

    Oh Jesus, what if I've left the aggression in London with the props? This is a nightmare.

    FINAL REHEARSALS

    It's my technical rehearsal today. Four hours of demented setting up of the projector, screen and props I use for my show.

    Tomorrow I'll have only 10 minutes to set up after the previous act so I need to be slick.

    This part isn't enjoyable. All the time I thought I'd have to go through the act evaporates into a cloud of glue gun smoke and taxi trips for bits of string.

    By the time everything is packed away again I'm feeling nervous and under-prepared.

    I scan the Pleasance courtyard for my poster to cheer me up but I can't see it. It's just a sea of young bucks gurning desperately beneath wacky typefaces.

    Oh Jesus, I'm going to be thrown off the Fringe!
    "The Dave Monkey Laughter Box", "Litchen and Frunt present Dirty Face!", "The Andrews and Biltong News Hour". I made those ones up, but they may as well have been there.

    There's my poster! It's got no quotes at all. Just a big picture of my newly-bearded face and the words "I, Pavel".

    I wanted it to look amusingly pretentious because my character, Pavel is a self-absorbed east European experimental animator; but in the Pleasance courtyard next to "Wiffle and Bunkin in Oi, George Bush, NO!" it just looks pretentious.

    What will the Fringe nabobs make of my ramblings about avant-garde animation peppered with large chunks of videos I've made?

    "Who is this TV refugee?" they may shout. "Where are the mic skills he should have acquired after years in working men's clubs?"

    Oh Jesus, I'm going to be thrown off the Fringe!

    I go to bed sick with fear. Tomorrow is my first show and I'm dreading it.

    SETTING OFF

    It's a miserable day in London as my brother and I load my gear into car we've rented for the trip to Edinburgh.

    This is my first time at the festival in any capacity so I've no idea what to expect.

    As a result the car is stuffed with all kinds of bits of crap I will probably never need, including my bike.

    "Surely you don't need a bike, Edinburgh's only about two miles across isn't it?" says my brother who seems to believe everywhere outside London is constructed mainly from Lego.

    The drive ends up taking about seven hours, the last two of which take us through some amazing countryside.

    As we drive through Edinburgh in the orangey early evening light I'm properly excited for the first time
    We play very loud indie pop music to maintain our city-based aloofness but it's no good.

    Soon we're exchanged words like "breathtaking" and "extraordinary" like two monkeys who've just had their first banana.

    As we drive through Edinburgh in the orangey early evening light I'm properly excited for the first time.

    This is what I always imagined it would be like going to university somewhere like Oxford or Cambridge. Or Edinburgh.

    A car full of undergraduate crap and a heart full of anticipation about pints in great pubs and casual sex!

    Well, I'll definitely have a few pints, the casual sex may cause problems with my wife and children.

    By 10pm we've found the appropriately studenty flat I'm renting, dropped off my gear at the Pleasance where I'm performing, and returned the rental car to the Edinburgh office.

    I'm amazed we've made it so easily! We're the kings!




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