Collecting my tickets in bulk from Film Base on Sunday, I marveled at all of the posters adorning the walls. So much to see. One couldn’t help but admire the little touches given to certain flyers. End Of, a comedy running in the Gutter Bookshop, is advertised on bookmarks. Synergy, that is.
Alison Spittle has the details of her show written down in marker on a single sheet with children’s stickers hanging off it. Genuinely. The women behind the counter said she brought in jellies the other day for them to make up for it. She means well. Anyone familiar with Spittle’s comedy knows that. It’s good fun and she’s very likable so she can away with half-arsing the marketing campaign. Besides, she’s one of the more established acts on the Dublin Fringe programme.
“I like to write things about friends and family. That’s what I’m interested in. I tried to write one-liners but I failed so badly.”
Spittle has gotten far from living in the moment, going with her gut feeling. Her last show was called Alison Spittle Discovers Hawaii. The title had nothing to do with any of the jokes in her set. “I called it that because someone’s ex-boyfriend just said ‘Why don’t you call it discovers Hawaii?’ and I had no jokes about Hawaii, it had nothing to do with Hawaii. So I went ‘feck you, I will’, so I did,” she told me from a field in Stradbally. Her first show was called Alison Spittle Needs an Agent. Although the show was a success, it failed to land her the representative she sought. Getting a sitcom did that.
Having an agent has made life easier for her. “I have someone who has my back now. I actually really like my agent, we’re good friends and stuff. I’m bad at negotiating for myself so I need someone to do that for me.” Despite her status within the comedy community, Spittle still gets nervous before shows. Her closest confidant is her boyfriend, who also has a background in comedy. She isn’t the type to gather a large group of friends together to try out new material. That would make her more nervous than performing in front of strangers.
Spittle has a unique warm-up routine to prepare her for gigs. “Before a big show, I’ll take a Berocca,” she explains. “I don’t even know if they work anymore. But I’ll go into the chemist anyway and get a Berocca Boost. Then I’ll talk too fast and apologise to the audience and tell them I’ve just had a Berocca. So maybe I should stop having Beroccas. But I write my set on my hand all the time. Even though I know what’s coming up, it’s more of a safety thing. If I write out key words, I’ll remember it.
“Sometimes I listen to a song but I often listen to my own stand-up beforehand. That’s how I try to perfect my set. I record myself all the time because I often come up with jokes off the cuff. The energy is there and you’re trying to make people laugh. If you’re with mates, the stuff comes off the top of your head. That’s what I do with the audience and I try to remember what works for the next time.”
As for a song to get her pumped up, her go-to track is Gold Dust by DJ Fresh. I repeated it back to her like a hard-of-hearing out-of-touch grandparent. “It’s got Ms. Dynamite on it and I used to love her as a young one.” I’ve embedded it below for you to listen to before you book tickets to see Alison Spittle perform at the Bello Bar. Her run there ends on September 14th.