The playful showers of the last few days have turned to driving rain. After three sell out nights in a row my audience has dwindled and seems a little weary. There is however one woman who chuckles wonderfully throughout and ends up actually screaming with laughter! I’ve never ever had someone scream with laughter at any of my stuff. It’s such an infectious and rewarding sound, especially on such a damp night, I struggle to keep from laughing out loud myself.
Afterwards I meet some friends and head over to the Gilded Balloon. This is where Late & Live takes place, a drunken compendium of stand up that has become legendary. The Pleasance seems rather sensitive and theatrical compared to this place which seems to be the home of one man and his mic. I bump into Andrew Maxwell, a shoutily gregarious Irish comic who commands me to ‘stop being a fucking pussy and come and get properly drunk!’ I explain I have to get back for my bedtime dose of echinacea, zinc, B complex and linseed and I couldn’t possibly get drunk because it might affect my performance tomorrow. ‘This is the Edinburgh festival you wanker!’ He barks and disappears in the roiling heat of the Gilded Balloon bar. What can he have meant?