That Was The Fringe That Was: 2019 Edition
Ok, look, it's late, I'm ill and exhausted and just had the most intense, lovely, wonderful Fringe I've ever had, so I'm a bit frazzled. As such, I can't really remember what the format usually is for these post-Fringe roundup blogs I do, and I can't be bothered to go trawling back through my archives and find out. Instead, what I'm going to do is just copy-and-paste the big thank you post I put on Facebook and hope that more or less ticks all the boxes. Most of the people who go on my website are probably friends with me on Facebook anyway, so I don't really know who this is for, to be honest. Completists? Anyway, look, here are the final scores for Joz Norris Is Dead. Long Live Mr Fruit Salad:
Winner of the Comedians' Choice Award for Best Show. Nominated for the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality. One of the Guardian's and British Comedy Guide's Recommended Shows of EdFringe 2019. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Young Perspective 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Fringebiscuit 🌟🌟🌟🌟1/2 Shortcom 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Broadway Baby 🌟🌟🌟🌟 The Wee Review 🌟🌟🌟🌟 One4Review 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Rule Of 3 Reviews "Joyously silly." - Evening Standard "Fantastic." - The Guardian "Totally brilliant." - Chortle 20 out of 23 performances sold out. 5 of my all-time comedy heroes came, plus a celebrity I used to have a massive crush on, which was a bit weird (she hated it). I'm also told by the panel that I was on the longlist for the Edinburgh Comedy Award, which means nothing in practical terms, but I've never even come close to it before, so I'm going to own it and be proud. Also wrote a joke that was one of the Guardian and iNews' top jokes of the Fringe. My favourite accolade from this whole run is a message from someone I don't know who saw the show then went back to London who said that as soon as she got off the train she thought about my show and decided she wanted to make something. Overwhelmed. And here are my thank you's:
I always made my solo shows in solitude before because I was too nervous to share my ideas with people. Last year I had a year off that coincided with a difficult time that made me realise the best thing you can do is ask for help.
So thank you to Alex Hardy who directed this show. Alex was beyond supportive and followed me round the country to various previews and gave notes and encouraged me and challenged me and made me consider things I'd never considered before - what shapes the audience were seeing, what the show made them feel moment by moment, what colours to put onstage, how to suggest a context through design elements, and so on and so on. It all contributed to a show more coherent and complete than any I've made before, and I owe her a huge amount.
The other biggest thank you is to Ben Target, who I have already filled a tweet thread with praise for, so I'll try not to repeat myself. But Ben brought such creativity and insight to the show and made certain moments really come alive and my conversations with him really helped me reach the centre of what I was trying to explore. I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas with him every day, and performing alongside him every day, and he was the perfect companion to share this experience with.
An enormous thank you to Hollie Ebdon whose hard work and support and faith in me leave me very humbled. She's been encouraging me to keep making stuff for 6 years now, since long before anybody else thought I was any good, because maybe she knew that one day I'd make a show that would really mean something to people. I'm so lucky to have her as a friend. Thank you to Flick Morris for getting other people to talk about and care about and get excited about this show, it really transformed my Fringe to have people so keen to learn more about the show and find out what it was.
Thank you to Lucy Hopkins for being an amazing replacement for Ben after his last day, and to Bob Slayer for again having me as part of the family at Heroes. I spent a lot of this month thinking about what home means, and Heroes is one of mine. Thank you to Eilidh Hodgson for being a wonderful colleague and friend, it cheered my heart to hang out with you every day. Thanks to Stu Goldsmith for organising a special live recording of the Comedians' Comedian Podcast about my show which I think got it on more people's radar. Thank you to my amazing flyerers, Ally Lloyd and Maddie Broad who were phenomenal at getting the word out about this show.
An enormous thank you to Ed Aczel with whom it was my pride and delight to perform alongside every day in our hidden gem solid 3-star double-act show. My solo show was a very physically and emotionally intense thing to perform every day, and getting to decompress afterwards by standing next to the funniest person in the world and being silly was a delight. I'm so proud of the show we built together and I can't wait to stage a Beckett play with him.
Thank you to those who created other playgrounds in which to indulge in silliness this year, I burnt myself out doing too many shows this year but the ones I did do were so inventive and ridiculous and kept me feeling creative all Fringe - so thanks to Adam Larter (Weirdos vs. Glang; Dorito Fish Origins); John-Luke Roberts (Terrible Wonderful Adaptations; ACMS); Thom Tuck, Isabelle Adam and Robert Wells (ACMS); Alexander Bennett (Dan vs Food); Seán Morley (Weirdos vs. Glang); Katherine Plumb (Doo Wop Art Flop); Paul Foxcroft (Questing Time); John Kearns, Pat Cahill and Ben Williams (110% John Kearns & Pat Cahill) and probably others I've forgotten.
Finally, my big instruction to myself this year, and my main aim, was to always remember that the Fringe does not matter and is not important and the big uglinesses it creates in your brain do not exist. My promise was to never again let myself allow the Fringe to hurt people I care about. So the final thank you is to my friends, many of whom were instrumental in the making of this show. They know who they are and they give me a life worth writing about.
I used to do a bit where I sang the words "Peter Gabriel" to the tune of the Largo movement from Dvorak's New World Symphony, and I used to preface it by explaining that you have to do these silly things as a sincere attempt to express something you don't really understand in the hope that there'll be just one person in the room who does. I found so many of them this year and I've never been so proud of myself about anything before.
On to the next thing. More news soon.