Ten ways to schmooze like a failure | John Robertson's the man with the Abattoir Bar pass.

Ten ways to schmooze like a failure

John Robertson's the man with the Abattoir Bar pass.

You’re a comedian! You want an agent/ TV deal/ another chance! You’ve had five ciders, ten shots and are ready to overcompensate! What are you overcompensating for? EVERYTHING, AS USUAL, YOU JERK!

This Fringe, a horde of comedians will fill the artists’ bars of Edinburgh. They’ll bring their rotten personalities and relax, knowing they’re finally safe from the audience (most of them are always safe, since they don’t have an audience, but that’s another reason they drink).

The industry will be getting hammered – and everybody will be forced to tolerate a lot of very funny people being very fucking drunk.

If you are a comic, you’ll have long since mistaken your neuroses for a personality, so here’s how to converse with those Powers-That-Be, Movers-And-Shakers, agents, producers, reviewers and other folks who are actually level-headed industry professionals, but who you’d better treat like gods or they’ll destroy your future, you talentless creep.

1. There’s nothing sexier than desperation

The conversation will mostly be about comedy. This is a topic so interesting that 'meta-comedy' has spawned 'meta-interest', which is interest interested only in itself. Called 'selfishness' elsewhere, names will be dropped, anecdotes will reach their longest possible form and a simple 'How are you?' will be greeted with a recent CV and the smell of fear.

If you want to make friends in such an environment, be the most desperate person there. Agents love being hassled – and nothing cheers them more than a loud chat about humour with a shuddering, anxious mess.

PRO TIP: When you offer to buy them a drink and they say, 'That’s okay', the conversation hasn’t ended, it’s just been postponed until they stop being stupid and love you.

2. If anything is sexier than desperation, it’s lying

Everybody loves a success. If you aren’t a success, remember the old maxim, 'Fake it until you make it', which is how North Korea maintains its nuclear arsenal. (Ha, ha! Nobody use that, it’s mine!) Fake success is the same as real success, except real success takes too long and is hard. Instead, just invent – and then win - an award.

**PRO-TIP: If you do make up an accolade, make sure you win it, lest even your wildest fantasies involve you being a loser.**

3. Confidence

Show the world how uncompromising you are by striding over to someone you want to work with and spitting in their mouth. If they aren’t delighted, they are wrong.

4. Drugs


There’s a lot of talk every year about how comedians can stay healthy during the Edinburgh Fringe, but the absolute best thing to do is stock up on Scotland’s really cheap cocaine. Cocaine will make you incredibly interesting and finally grind your teeth into a TV-friendly smile. Remember – if you overdose and your show’s a bit dark, martyrdom awaits!

5. ‘I play the Comedy Store’

'Hello' is boring. An unbidden list of professional achievements is a much more effective path to friendship. Make certain the high watermark of your career is visible – and pray the person you’re talking to is impressed. If they aren’t, tell them they should be. If they still aren’t, bemoan how nobody knows 'what’s really good anymore'. Wear your insecurity with pride, for it is the greatest gift you have.

6. ‘Why don’t you follow me on Twitter?’

This is actually my favourite greeting for one particular comedian, who then traditionally replies with, ‘Who are you?’

7. Very polite and very fast

Have you seen someone you hate? Talk to them right now! Loudly and quickly and affectionately! Agree that someone else is a prick! Now run away!

PRO TIP: If you are a PR and your enemy is another PR, this will last a very long time. Both of you are required by PR law to be louder and more affectionate than the other before retreating. I’ve watched PRs fight while kissing. I left before they began removing each other’s clothes and playfully biting until the blood ran.

8. ‘I know (insert name here…)’

Consider this one, 'I Play The Comedy Store', but done at 1am with a bellyful of cider and a tingle in the trousers. Have your genitals not been touched this evening? Amaze a new comic by knowing their hero.

PRO TIP: This is an incredibly pathetic activity, since their hero will never have to pick up anyone by saying they know you.

9. Podcasting

No two comedians have ever had a conversation that wasn’t enriched by the presence of a shoddy portable microphone. There’s a bunch of really superb podcasts being recorded during Fringe and there’s no reason yours can’t be one of them, or any reason why it should be. If nothing else, consider these chats your Watergate tapes, though remember that people wanted to listen to the Watergate tapes.

10. Laughing loudly in a circle of other people’s friends

Place yourself immediately to the side of the person you wish to impress. When they make a joke, make certain your peals of laughter are loud enough to be complimentary – and best of all – noticed! Do you have nothing to add to the conversation? Say what they just said… while laughing! Oh, you cheap whore! There’s no way this won’t work!

If none of this works, may I suggest attempting to enjoy yourself.

John Robertson’s Let’s Redecorate! is at the Stand 6, 14:50; and The Dark Room: Symphony of a Floating Head at Underbelly Cowgate, 20:40

Published: 13 Aug 2015

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