Hello. I am Dave Maher, a comedian in Chicago. I was in a diabetic coma from October 22-November 17, 2014. You may have heard my story on a recent episode of "This American Life."
During that time, I was almost taken off life support, and the Chicago comedy community eulogized me on Facebook. I woke up to find myself like Tom Sawyer at my own internet funeral. I read those eulogies and wrote a one-man comedy show about the whole experience. That show is Dave Maher Coma Show.
I’m bringing Dave Maher Coma Show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from August 4-25, 2018. The Edinburgh Fringe is the largest arts festival on the planet. I've been accepted to PBH's Free Fringe, which gives me a free venue through the largest producer at the festival. My venue is in the heart of the action, just off Edinburgh's Royal Mile. It's an incredible opportunity to perform my show on an international platform.
Who are you, other than Dave Maher?
I’ve been performing comedy in Chicago for 16 years, the last five as a standup. The Chicago Reader said I’m a “high-concept mischief-maker” and “I’d watch Maher do just about anything.” Gapers Block called me a “smartly unhinged, wildly funny comedian with a big heart and warm smile” and “an evergreen fixture on the scene.”
How is Dave Maher Coma Show?
Dave Maher Coma Show represents the apex of my comedic powers to date. Take a look at the reviews:
• Chicago Reader: “It’s a carefully observed, discomfitingly intimate, disarmingly funny monologue. But for all his candor, Maher finds time to let his inner imp out—for starters, he rates the eulogies his friends composed for him, even naming the worst.”
• Chicago Tribune: “…the show’s free-form sensibility is smart and hooks you in,” and “A loose and relaxed performer, Maher might as well be sitting next to you at the bar, recounting the strangest event of his life so far.”
• Gapers Block: “Maher mines his coma experience for candid comic moments that are deftly interleaved between those of genuine emotion… The entire show…harkens back to the long-form works of Spalding Gray as interpreted through the crooked lens of Maher’s stand-up sensibilities… It should also be noted that the show contains one of the most surgically hilarious uses of a light cue in recent memory.”
Why go to Edinburgh now?
Dave Maher Coma Show is a story that still grips me, and I don’t feel like it has found its full audience yet. Taking this show to Edinburgh is a dream of mine, and it’s also an opportunity to…
1. Bring this show to a wider audience. Almost 3 million people came to the festival last year.
2. Raise this show’s profile. Members of the entertainment industry from all over the world attend the Fringe. Edinburgh alumni include John Cleese, Robin Williams, Emma Thompson, Trevor Noah, Rachel Weisz, Steve Coogan, Hugh Laurie, and James Acaster. I’m not going with expectations of a career explosion, but it won’t hurt to put my show up in such rarefied air.
3. PERFORM THE SHOW 21 TIMES IN 22 DAYS. This show is going to be funnier and stronger as a result.
I am epically excited about this opportunity, but I can’t seize it on my own, financially.
What are your plans for the money?
Thanks to PBH’s Free Fringe, I've already secured my venue, which reduces my costs by several thousand dollars. But there are still many expenses involved.
The funds I collect will go toward:
- Flights to and from Edinburgh
- Room and board for a month in Edinburgh
- Production and equipment costs
- Marketing and promotion (e.g. printing flyers, official Ed Fringe registration)
- Any miscellaneous or unforeseen expenses (e.g. transportation, emergencies, etc.)
- Kickstarter logistical fees
In return, I’m offering BEAUCOUP REWARDS that span the spectrum of donations. Things like:
- Tickets to Dave Maher Coma Show in any city I perform it
- A film of an early version of the show from its initial run in Chicago
- Limited-edition posters and t-shirts
- I WILL WRITE YOUR FACEBOOK EULOGY!
- Personalized postcards from Edinburgh
- PREVIEWS OF MY BOOK ABOUT THE COMA!!
- A BAD SANTA VIEWING PARTY!!!
- Funding Producer credits
What comes after Edinburgh?
Taking Dave Maher Coma Show to Edinburgh is the next step in the creative journey of this story. Beyond this is more touring, filming the show and distributing it, and writing a book. Sharpening this show in Edinburgh will make those other goals more achievable.
The years since the coma have been the best of my life. I’ve grown up a lot, and I’ve had so many dreams come true. I’d love your help making this one into reality.
What if I have more questions?
For booking inquiries, media kits, and/or questions, please contact email@example.com.
And if you’d like to follow me online, here you go!
Risks and challenges
I can’t get to Edinburgh without your help. Once the financial part of the equation is covered, I’m going to set the shows up for success by submitting press releases to media outlets this summer, meeting as many people as I can once I get there, flyering on the streets every day before my show, and doing spots on other shows to get my name out.
I’m polishing the show this summer with the help of Mike Brunlieb, an actor, director, and improviser who is well known as one of the best comedians in Chicago. I’ll perform the full show a handful of times in previews and at benefit shows in Chicago.
Other challenges I foresee include:
• Travel logistics. I’ve done my research, and I know the full checklist of things I need to do before I get to Edinburgh. I also have the support of many friends and fellow performers who have performed at the festival previously.
• Staying healthy. I’m a sober guy, so hangovers won’t be a problem. I’m going to be extra careful to get sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthy, and maintain my diabetes.
• Getting audiences. I’ll be promoting my ass off, but in case of a lightly attended performance, I can adapt the show because of its structure and the intimacy of the material. I’ve also done some of my best performances of this show for less than a handful of audience members. The show will go on, and I’ll keep my head up!
- (31 days)