In August 2018 I was lucky enough to win a place on the judging panel for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. To enter the competition I had to review my three favourite comedy shows and also submit a short piece on why I should get the gig. Initially my sister had sent me the link to the competition and insisted that it was something I should enter. Having been into comedy for many years it was a tempting prospect but after a difficult couple of years and a slight case of confidence erosion, I was reluctant to put myself forward.
So after a lot of thought and gentle encouragement, I went ahead and submitted my competition application. In June I went to London to meet Emma, the Comedy Awards producer, at her office for an interview. Now, I have never been very good at interviews but I can honestly say it was the best interview I have ever had. Not just being put at ease by the people in the office but spending an hour talking about comedy in its many guises I realised how much the whole thing meant to me. I walked out of the office on a massive high. For the next hour we just walked around London talking about the interview and how much I had enjoyed it. A couple of celebratory cocktails in Leicester Square eventually calmed me down!
Arriving in Edinburgh was a bit daunting. This was the first big thing that I had done for myself since my children arrived. August was for family holidays on the beach or in the Lakes and now here I was in Edinburgh on my own with a massive suitcase, numerous notebooks and a feeling of fear mixed with enormous amounts of optimism and freedom. I arrived just after midday on the 2nd of August and after dropping off my suitcase at my accommodation I raced into the centre of Edinburgh and plunged into my first show which happened to be Tony Law: A Lost Show. It was a great show to pop my reviewing cherry with. This was a frenetic performance with lots to write about and really gave me a flavour of what was to come.
A typical day would see me reviewing as many as ten shows. The schedule was relentless especially in the first few days when I was also struggling to navigate around the city, however, within the first week I was becoming like a local. I started to discover shortcuts from one venue to another down snickets and ginnels cutting my steps down by half during my final week in Edinburgh.
I began to embrace all that the Fringe had to offer regarding comedy and the amazing city of Edinburgh. The smells of Cowgate, the noise of the not so silent disco and the feeling that I was part of something really quite special. On a personal level, I began to notice that I was becoming me again after a tough couple of years both personally and healthwise. You could say that being part of the Comedy Awards panel gave me a confidence re-boot and also the confidence to put myself out there in a different sphere and who knows where my new found spirit will take me. I will be back at the Edinburgh Fringe this year as a scout for the awards team and I can’t bloody wait.