It's half past ten on a Saturday night, I'm walking off stage to applause and cheering it's been a good night, the crowd loved me, well most did, there was one guy third row arms folded didn't laugh once, but we will get back to him. A man approaches me puts his hand out and firmly shakes my hand "mate you were brilliant", "thanks" I gladly accept his endorsement, and then, I want to punch him in the face. Why? I hear you ask, because he then followed up the compliment with the "wish I had your job, I wouldn't mind working for just twenty minutes a day".
"Twenty minutes a day!" I scream in my head with fist clenched.
On the face of it, yes it looks like I only work twenty minutes a day but let's look at the rest of my day.
I've just driven two and a half hours to get to this gig and I know thanks to the government's obsession with smart motorways my journey home could very well be double that. Whilst if you are a fan of sixty mile detours, driving British motorways at night is the place for you, I'll be lucky to see my bed before 3am.
And my day didn't start when I set foot on stage, no! no! most clubs like you to be there before the show starts and because of my almost hysterical phobia of being late I get there at least an hour before that. I like to see the crowd as they come in, you get a gauge of what the night might entail, lots of couples on a date night nice, ten guys carrying an already drunk stag dressed as little beau peep, bad!
Nothing is more panic inducing, than the sight of thirsty Hens, pink sashes, cowboy hats and inflatable penises staggering in.
Now let's look at that twenty minutes of material they all enjoyed tonight, I didn't just make that up on the spot, it has been conceived, written, re-written, tweaked and tested. We go to new material nights to road test the material, these nights are where we find out that the new joke we have been working on for weeks is rubbish. Many a time a comic will go and try out this sure fire cracker of a joke to be faced with utter silence and a crowd looking on like a judgemental old aunt. Soul destroying but has to be done. But we rework it, try it again and again until you laugh and hallelujah I've got a new joke. Anywhere between 70-80% of stuff we write probably never gets said in front of a paying audience, and we never stop thinking and writing, every comic has woken up at 4am scribbled down some concept or line, and then has woken up and read it back and wondered what the hell was I thinking about last night.
Oh and remember the guy in the third row, the one not laughing, he'll be in my head the whole journey home, "what was his problem" over and over again you'll ask yourself.
"How was the gig last night" your partner will ask in the morning. "Yeah alright, but there was there was this guy in the third row……………"
Twenty minutes work a day, I wish!!!
See Paul McMullan: Alocopop at the Pleasance Bunker 3rd - 28th August, 9.15pm. For tickets visit www.edfringe.com