Hello blog-reader. I’m taking a quick break from the regularly scheduled list of great things to plug the show I’m doing in Edinburgh.
You may or may not know that I pursue stand-up comedy. I work a lovely and forgiving day job full of nice people and kind policies like flexi-time and good vacation packages. But, by night, I do stand-up as often as I can. What you may not know is that I am ALSO a writer and performer in a Manchester-based sketch troupe called The Tourists. We’ve done some shows and festivals locally, but we’re really:
to be part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. (The cool kids call it ‘The Fringe’). It is the biggest arts festival in the world. That’s right, smooch, pow, click, THE WORLD!
Here are some stats that I lifted straight off of Wikipedia:
The Fringe 2009 sold 1,859,235 tickets for 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues, over 25 days, for an average of over 74,000 admissions and 1,300 performances per day. There were an estimated 18,901 performers, from 60 countries.
Born in 1946, you’d think that this annual influx of traffic would make this tidy and historic city of Edinburgh feel overly congested…and it does clog things up a bit…but it never quite feels as bad as Times Square at rush hour.
The festival showcases just about every art form that you can think of…from Shakespeare companies to flamenco dancers to rock bands but it is of mega import to the comedy world–especially if you’re looking to beef up your comedy resume in the UK. It’s the goal of just about every UK comic to have a well-reviewed solo show in the Fringe Festival at least once in their lifetime if not a semi-annual pilgrimage with new material every few years or so.
Last year, I went for up for a weekend to merely view some shows as a tourist (the name of my sketch group! coincidence…spooooooky), as I have every year since I arrived in the UK, and I managed to pick up about three 10 minute spots. This is possible because there are SOOO many comedy shows going on every day that the comedy world needs the equivalent of a ‘supply teacher’ sort of agency to fill in for comics who have cancelled spots with late notice.
I shall definitely be pursuing more of the same this year. I’m hoping to exercise my set quite regularly for the duration. But the primary reason for travelling up this year is actually because of the aforementioned sketch show. Details can be found here:
I’ll also be updating that sketch company blog with quickie reviews of shows I’ve seen and notices of when I’m lucky enough to snag some stand-up gigs.
There’s a ton I want to see this year. Some big US comics are always over for the fest. Can’t wait to see Hannibal Buress’s solo show. I saw him last year at the Glasgow fest and he was great. He writes for 30 Rock nowadays. Also want to see Lee Camp–a terrific comic outright but he also writes killer political material. A couple of terrific British sketch groups are on the go…Lady Garden, Wit Tank, Him & Me, etc… Between picking up scrap of gigs, doing the daily show with the sketch group, and watching shows I hope to be a very busy bee.
Anyway come and see us, The Tourists, if you’re planning on a wonderful journey to the town that best resembles Diagon Alley.
Come for the culture, stay for the fried Mars Bars.