“Math Becomes Easy” or “Don’t Encorage Him”
Today marked my first real run at the way that you have to go out and promote your shows. That would be, in this order; poster, flyer, and harangue. The day starts with a wonderfully sunny day in Melbourne. I trained my way to town and noticed that the big posting boards that shows poster on were cleaned off for a fresh week of comedy postering. So, I did my duty and covered two-to-three 8.5 x 11 squares of my dandily created posters onto the posts. After a few hours in Kinko’s trying to get the right flyers out, I dropped them off to the one place where I knew people could use a laugh. Hostels. $5 for anyone who dares bring out my flyer to the venue. And it’s a nice flyer, don’t get me wrong.
The town hall in Melbourne is the central point of all the comedy. All the venues are further afield, but you go to the townhall to find all the comics, all the flyerers, all the guys trying to get you into their show by all means necessary. So why should I be any different? I figured I’d ply my flyers to the masses. And there are flyers. Oh my. Tons. Everyone with an arm has a flyer on the end of it. And the civilians just trying to get through the DMZ of paper-venue-and-dates get, well, disgruntled. In the process of handing people my flyers, I got looks and avoidance stares such that it appeared that folks would get both cancer and AIDS if they looked at me. This isn’t an Aussie thing. It’s a festival thing. Nothing personal.
I found a pack of four people and offered them my flyer. Not five minutes later, the ring leader (Johnny as I later learned) comes to me and says “So, we want to see your show. Why should we? What makes it good?” I tell him I’m from Canada, it’s stand-up and improv, you get goodies at the end [Quit selling your wristband swag in your blog – “H!ITVA! Ed.], it’s a fantastic show. I did this as half of his party was negotiation the same sort of thing with another act! This admittedly was the first time that I felt like a whore, trying to put my wares out and make them look better than the next girl. But, hey. I won. They got directions to the venue and paid to come in.
They were the crowd for the night. Four people. Which tells me that had I not flyered that night it would have been me and an empty room. Not something I like or am used to. But, whether you call it show-biz whoredome or professionalism, I don’t care if there’s two or two hundred, I do a show. So I performed to four and the bartender of the Alley Bar. One hour later I had them laughing to the point where the bartender snorted, and they left, swag on wrist, stating that they’d bring others. They had the opportunity to go see other shows and felt the show was decent enough to bring others. Hope they do.
INSIDER TIP: When you’ve only got four people in the room, math becomes easy. When telling a joke you can instantly say “75% of the crowd liked that joke”, or “100% of the crowd don’t’ ever want to hear about bum sex ever again.” Would that my degree was that forgiving.
My attempt to poach the previous crowd resulted in a couple of women that were hog-tied to their companions couldn’t stay for my show. I accidentally came across them afterwards and after the review of the Fantastic Four leaving the room, they have declared that they were sorry about being dragged away, but they would bring a crowd with them. We’ll see how that fares in the Thursday and Friday blogs.
As it stands, it looks like I’ll be flyering like crazy and attempting to get more folks into the room.
Yours infecting passers-by with AIDS and cancer at the same time,
PS: They love the puns down here. My tag on the “Cocktales” joke about having four-plays off the top is mint!