Lewis Schaffer: 11 reasons my Edinburgh show will be a failure
My Edinburgh Festival Fringe show for 2014 is called Success Is Not An Option. My show will not be a success because:
1. I’m using the same business model as last year, which didn’t work.
Under the Heroes of the Fringe “Pay What You Want” model, punters can pay £5 for tickets in advance or come in free at the door which makes absolutely no sense. As of today, I have sold nine tickets. Nine.
2. Most reviewers don’t like to go to free shows because they cannot be guaranteed a seat, and that can mess up their viewing schedule. And they don’t get something that regular people are paying for for nothing, which is the whole point of being a reviewer.
3. This is my seventh consecutive year at the Fringe and I have gained zero traction. 22 years in comedy and I am still doing these poncy shows in dingy subterranean bars.
4. There is always some American comic nobody has ever heard of riding into town, selling out every night and then leaving the country once the festival is over. Leaving is always sexy.
My ex used to tell me “You used to chase me!” and I’d say, “You used to run.” I’ve stopped running. I’m not leaving the UK. I am stuck here with a knackered act, two kids, and nobody chasing me.
5. You could have seen me in London where I do a weekly show at the Leicester Square Theatre and two free shows a week at The Rancho Grill at any point over the past five years, but you haven’t, and I know you haven’t, so you’re not going to make me a success in Edinburgh either.
6. If my show is a success, I will have been a failure in predicting its failure. If my show is a failure, I will have just been a failure. So no matter what happens, I’ll have been a failure.
7. I have no promotional budget to pay a PR to tell me that this level of self-flagellation in a press release is a terrible idea.
8. Most people, upon having a piece of publicity material described as “genius” by a national newspaper, would then try to follow it up with something bigger, better and totally fresh.
I’m just rehashing the same thing and hoping that those of you that ignored me last time will pay attention to me. Einstein supposedly said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I’m not insane, because I know that this is going to fail; you people never pay attention to me. I’m just desperate. Please pay attention to me.
9. My poster doesn’t have any quotes or stars from reviewers.
You, from the The Times, The Guardian, and The Telegraph, have never reviewed any of my shows.
My biggest supporter in the press, Kate Copstick of The Scotsman, has only ever given me four stars even though we had the closest thing to a sexual interaction that I, as a crumbling 57-year-old man, am capable of having with another human being.
10. I decided against using Stewart Lee’s quote about me – “Naked hostility and self-loathing” – or Daniel Kitson’s – “The logical conclusion of all stand-up comedy” – or Marc Maron’s – “Very bitter and weird” and “Not that good” – because name-dropping is the lowest form of self-promotion and I value my integrity.
11. The Relatives wrote a song about my going to Edinburgh and said the number one reason I would fall at the Fringe was that I was “jerk”. They performed the song on my radio show Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer, broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM. Watch here – it is brilliant.
Lewis Schaffer: Success Is Not An Option, Heroes @ The Hive, Edinburgh, 31 July – 24 August, 7.45pm, FREE, edfringe.com