In August 2017 Mark Row arrived in Edinburgh to perform his stand-up comedy show A1: The Long Road to Edinburgh for the entire 25-night run. Just twelve months earlier he had never stepped on stage to perform stand-up at all. This documentary follows the story of a man facing his biggest ever challenge; to learn the craft of stand-up in a year and use that knowledge to stage a show at the biggest arts festival in the world.
The result is a 'warts and all' account of what it's like to be a brand-new comedian on the circuit, finding your way on the difficult journey to Edinburgh, with only a microphone for protection.
Along the way Mark met a host of comedians who were more than happy to share some advice and encouraging words of support. The documentary features interviews with TV regulars James Acaster (Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo), James Redmond (Hollyoaks and Casualty) and Ellie Gibson (Dara O'Briain's Go 8 Bit), as well as industry favourite and 'Comedian's Comedian' Stu Goldsmith. In addition, Mark spoke to a whole host of other comedians, academics and promoters, who told him cautionary tales of their own experiences, and shared their knowledge and wisdom with him in a bid to get him 'match fit' for his appearance in Edinburgh.
The documentary follows Mark's journey from an impromptu trip to the Festival when he first conceived the idea, through taking a comedy course in London, then tackling countless open mic gigs, before sharing a bill with pro comedians. It covers the good gigs as well as the bad, and explores the impact on not only on Mark himself, but also on his wife and young children; and reveals the unexpected cost of keeping them happy as the year went by.
He reveals what he has learnt about writing comedy, performing comedy and the joke that he shared on Twitter which very nearly landed him in hot water in his day job as a teacher.
Through interviews, video diaries and footage from the gigs A1: The Long Road To Edinburgh demonstrates the highs and lows of starting out in comedy, and this rollercoaster ride of writing, promoting, and performing an entire Edinburgh show, starting from absolutely nothing.