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Edinburgh: Day 10 Aug 13

I woke up stiff (hush) but able to move and with no sign of any serious damage from my fall (I’ll let you know when my pride comes back). I limped off to do some flyering and then to do the show.

The room was so full that we couldn’t stand at the back as usual and had to wait outside while each other was on stage, entering to do our bits via the door by the stage. This looked more showbiz, although uncomfortably so, as if we’d confused our free show in a small room for Live at the Apollo. It’s an easy mistake to make.

I have informally been nominated the Three Man Roast cashier and so it’s my job after the show to count up our donations (thank you, generous audiences) and divide up the spoils. This is my favourite bit of the day: not because I’m avaricious but because I love doing maths. When that was done, I carried my share to the bar and changed the coins into more manageable notes. I still can’t believe it’s taken me a week to think of that one.

Much of the afternoon was spent enjoying the rock and roll Edinburgh lifestyle, by which I mean I sat alone in my room updating my spreadsheet of shows to see. This is the backbone of any manageable Edinburgh Fringe and I don’t know how people expect to cope without. Going to shows “on a whim”? Making your mind up “in the evening”? Scribbling in a “diary”? Lunacy. When a man is tired of spreadsheets, he’s tired of life.

As instructed by the spreadsheet, I took myself off to see Paul Duncan McGarrity and Jay Cowle in Nonsense Duet, their free double-header stand-up show. My favourite part of their show was Paul’s remarkably unsuccessful attempt to avoid a social faux pas.

Without giving too much away, at one point Paul finds himself a red-blooded heterosexual man in the audience and suggests that he (Paul) is so cool that said man will want to sleep with him.

Paul picked on me and just as he was about to launch into that section, he stopped.

“Oh. No. I’ve just remembered. I know something about Will that means this bit won’t work. No, it’s, er… It’s just there’s something about Will that I’ve just remembered and it means this bit won’t work. No.”

Bless him, he went out of his way to be discreet. And then he turned to the man next to me and said, “Sir, are you a red-blooded heterosexual?”

Anyhoo, Paul and Jay pulled off a good hour in a difficult room – do go and see them if you can. Paul beat me in the Amused Moose Laugh Off semi-final a few months ago and that in itself is a guarantee of quality, obviously.

My next stop was The Stand III on the other side of town where, in that traditional demonstration of Britishness, I joined a queue just because it was there. It was ten minutes later that I finally checked with the woman in front that she was waiting to see Paul Sinha too. She was, but then realised anxiously that she hadn’t checked with the people in front of her.

Paul’s show was a beautifully constructed piece of stand-up. The smooth structure has a bitter edge, but like a good gin and tonic, the bitterness is just on the right side of the line and set off nicely by the, er, lime of self-deprecation. And above all, it’s very funny.

What I learnt today: I have won more TV quiz shows than Britain’s 20th best quizzer.

Recommended show: Paul Sinha: Looking at the Stars

Obligatory plug: I’m in Three Man Roast, 2.35pm weekdays and Saturday 20th at Finnegan’s Wake on Victoria Street – free entry. Also at the Amused Moose Comedy Awards Showcase at the Pleasance Dome, 4pm on August 17th (book online).

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