Edinburgh Fringe: Worthy Investment?
Posted on 06 August 2013
“(Edinburgh Fringe is) an investment’ I’d say, explaining how it could lead to further comedy or possibly television work. ‘You may get spotted’ I’d exclaim, as if warning of an on-coming measles epidemic. However, after seven years at the Fringe doing a range of shows from mixed bill, sketch and three solo stand-up shows, I decided, for the first time since working in comedy, that I wouldn’t go last year.
I was terrified I’d miss it, or miss out on something. What if not being there damaged all my chances to excel in the field of funny? What happened instead was that I got a good amount of paid work, saw my friends, stabilised my bank account, paid all my bills for the first time in years, saw Blur in Hyde Park and generally had the best summer I’ve had in ages. My personal Edinburgh bubble very much burst.
It’s become more and more evident since I started comedy in 2004 that Edinburgh has long stopped being a Fringe where audiences could see 5 shows a day gambling between experimental madness and unheard of comedians. Instead raised costs all round mean it’s now a place where punters spend £15-30 each seeing one ‘television act’ whose agency can afford to stump up £12k for them to shout at people in a hot room. I’m still paying off my last Edinburgh Fringe attempts from 2011…
I would have to say that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is showing signs of having similar problems when it comes to whether they are giving young comedians a leg up or simply putting them in debt.
Peace and kindness,