Having spent most of last week laughing my arse off at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this weekend has been rather dull in comparison. In fact, I have resorted to reliving the Fringe experience by putting comedy DVDs on, sitting in a cupboard and turning up my heating to ‘CHRIST IT’S HOT’. Of course, I make sure I climb up at least a million steps beforehand too. I have also renamed my cupboard ‘The Pleasance Broom Cupboard’ for added effect.
It turns out that it isn’t easy to recreate the Fringe experience though. So I might as well just tell you about my actually Fringe experience instead.
Driving up to Edinburgh is always a bit of eye opener. Especially when you realise that the cafe that claims to be ‘the last cafe in England’ isn’t actually the last cafe in England. There’s two more before you get to the border. The lying bastards. Also, surely it depends on which way you are travelling. If you’re coming south and you see that ‘the last cafe in England’ is so close to Scotland, you are going to assume that the cafe industry in England is fairly non existent.
I also want to know what sort of racist tea drinker refuses to drink in a cafe north of the border?! I can just picture a family of Daily Mail readers seeing the sign and deciding to stock up on coffee because they just can’t bear to drink in ‘the first cafe in Scotland’. Funnily enough, the first cafe in Scotland doesn’t have a big sign at all. Proving that Scottish people don’t give a fuck about cafes like the English do. We did pass ‘the first chip shop in Scotland’ and ‘the first heroin dealer in Scotland’ signs a few miles over the border though.
Once in Scotland, you are also greeted by a sign asking you to ‘help keep Scotland farming!’. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think farming is my strong point. I don’t really like many animals, I hate early mornings and I don’t get on well with fields. Driving a tractor would be very interesting too! So, although I might like to help keep Scotland farming, I’m going to have to decline the offer sadly. In fact, fuck it, let’s not keep Scotland farming! I’m sick of getting stuck behind tractors on the way up to the Fringe every August! Fuck Scottish farming!
I’ve realised I’ve digressed quite a bit there. You’re thinking ‘Lee, where are your top tips for the Fringe?’ I’M GETTING TO THAT PART, OK!? First of all, I have to point out that I do realise that it’s pretty ironic that a disabled comedian had gigs in one of the most inaccessible cities known to man. Alas, they seemed to go well though. I even played a gig in a strip club to two audience members and the bar staff. That’s PROPER Edinburgh Fringe right there. Secondly, I have to thank the lovely Emily Wood for coming with me and putting up with me for the duration of my visit. Lesser people would have left me to roll down one of Edinburgh’s streets.
My first tip for the Fringe is to never visit Edinburgh Zoo if you haven’t got 20 years experience of mountaineering. That place is steep! There’s a limit of what I’ll do to see cute animals locked up in a cage and forced to be on show. It usually only stretches to watching videos of them on YouTube. Walking up a massive hill just to see some zebras definitely crossed the line. It would have been easier to paint some horses black and white and stare at them instead. In the end, I didn’t see the zebras anyway. The zoo teased us with signs to the zebras pointing upwards, then more signs pointing further upwards, then MORE signs pointing even FURTHER up the hill until we were nearly on the moon! Zebras can’t even breathe on the moon unaided, so why the fuck were they put there? Needless to say, we gave up the zebras in the end. It was too much of an effort just to see weird looking horses. At least the baby monkeys were cute though.
After recovering from the zoo though, we had quite a nice time and got to see lots of shows. My most highly recommended shows if you are yet to go to the Fringe would be Tony Law, Bec Hill, David Trent and The Boy With Tape On His Face.
I first discovered Tony Law at the Fringe last year when he played the tiniest of The Stand’s venues. I was blown away by how good he was. So I was looking forward to seeing him again this year, this time in the main Stand venue. He didn’t disappoint. I just love the way his mind works so much. He can switch from being clever to being surreal in an instant. And the ending of his show just summed him up so well. It was amazing.
I’d only seen Bec Hill on YouTube before last week. I follow her on Twitter though and enjoy her tweets so I was keen to see her live. Once again, I was very impressed. It was a really funny show and Bec was just one of these people who you couldn’t help but like. Personalities like that are few and far between. It’s a definite advantage when you’re on stage though. We met her for a drink afterwards too and she was just as lovely.
I decided to go see David Trent based purely on the reviews he was getting up in Edinburgh. I like to make myself go see things that maybe I wouldn’t normally go and see. Edinburgh offers you a great chance to discover new comedians that you haven’t heard of before. Tony Law being a good example. I liked David’s show because it relied heavily on technology. I could relate to that both as a geek and as a comedian who is in a similar situation. I was interested in how he used it and was very impressed with the results. His timing was spot on, his material was funny, everything seemed to fall into place for him. It’s pretty hard to describe his show and give it the credit it deserves, so just go see it!
The same could be said for The Boy With Tape On His Face. Once again, I’d discovered him in Edinburgh a few years ago. And, once again, it’s hard to put his act into words without doing it a disservice. I’d seen Tape Face Boy (yes I’m lazy!) before but I was keen to take Emily along to see him. I just think that the comedy he achieves without speaking is amazing. Something I can also relate too. He’s also very clever and really has to be seen over a whole show (instead of just five minute clips on TV) to be appreciated fully. It really is amazing.
Other people I went to see and enjoyed were Naz Osmanoglu, Jo Caulfield, Josie Long and Patrick Monahan.
My trip was rounded off on Thursday with some filming which required me to walk up and down the Royal Mile about 20 times. My legs now hate me and I’m suffering from comedy withdrawal. Thankfully, I’ll be back once more this year for my gig this Wednesday at the City Cafe at 5.30pm.
You can also watch what my comedy partner in crime, Emily Wood, thought about our trip on her YouTube video below….