He cut up his credit cards at Land’s End. He’s no transport or shelter and is relying on walking and the kindness of strangers to get through 120 gigs, en route to the Edinburgh Fringe. And it’s all for a homelessness charity.
Damian’s been on the comedy circuit since about 2009. He’s performed shows at various Fringe festivals, including Edinburgh, and has appeared on many an average, run of the mill comedy night, with an affable blend of gags and stories.
This year’s Knock Knock Comedy Tour sees Damian taking on a challenge that’s as much about charity as it is about comedy.
On the one hand he’s walking from Land’s End to Edinburgh hoping to raise money for Shelter, and on the other he’s performing in a series of one-off gigs, often in venues that don’t normally host comedy, likely to receive a blend of small-but-perfectly-formed audiences as well as more typical, hearty, comedy club turnouts.
Many comedians take on a challenge as part of their touring life, or their pre-Edinburgh run. Few of them look outside of themselves as part of the process.
To live the life of a homeless person for five months in order to raise money and awareness is a simply outstanding act of humility and respect. To gig literally anywhere to raise a few quid here and there for the charity, begging favours from acts and promoters to make it work (with nothing but the fund raising opportunity as the goal) is quite an amazing sacrifice.
Of course, Damian is going to gain a lot from this challenge. He’ll have a lot of thinking time along the way, time to write, hone, and try out new material for each day of his trek. And a journey of this size is bound to generate some unforgettable stories.
Whether you think that’s a fair reward for everything he’s putting into the tour is your call.
If you can, go and see him – his dates are on his website and you can follow him on Twitter. The good news is that he’s already eclipsed his £7,000 target halfway through his tour, so he’s going to go for double the £10,000 he amassed in super-quick time (that’s a new target of £20,000, for those of you not keeping up).
Comedian odysseys (odd oddysseys, if you like)
Damian is not the first comedian to take on a series of challenges, or journey the length of the country in the pursuance of a tour or Edinburgh Fringe show.
- In 2005, Danny Hurst cycled the length of the country for his Edinburgh Show – The Long Winded Road – reviewed here.
- Richard Herring’s 2004 show The Twelve Tasks of Hercules Terrace was about his attempts to meet a challenge he set for himself to do what Hercules had done.
- In 2009, Dave Gorman cycled the length of the country, gigging in venues along the way in his Sit down, pedal, pedal, stop and stand up tour.
It’s fair to say that touring is a pretty extreme sport already. When comedians put the extra challenge into it, then fair play to them, especially if it’s in a good cause. And funny.