I’m not going to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. If you hadn’t gathered that already or remotely cared then I’m sorry to say you’ll be bombarded by various blogs I’ve written for various websites all detailing why. Essentially, in a series of different words, they all amount to the same reasons: it costs too much for acts and audiences and its not really a Fringe anymore as only acts who have big agencies financially backing them can feasibly do it. I then go on to give concessions about the Free Fringe and the Stand which don’t apply but then I complain anyway. I’ve now saved you reading all of them. You can thank me later. It seems all very strange that I’m getting far more Edinburgh press than if I was there. So now that’s out of the way, this blog instead is about two things about Fringes.
Part 1 – Phoenix Fringe thing.
You may have also noticed or not cared (you callous bunch) that I am involved with running the Phoenix Fringe this year. This is the very funny Tiffany Stevenson’s excellent idea to try and run a fringe in London. Its a lot more than just that though. Its a fringe without any sponsorship, PR, or financial backing whereby no act will lose money and audiences get some pretty sweet cheap ticket deals. Its a proper grass roots thing. Also, like an actual Fringe, its old shows, new shows, blue shows and shoe shows. Ok, not the last two. Well some blue ones probably. But there will be experimental and interesting stuff too. We’ve got stupidly good acts on board, the press have been excited about it and if it all works it means there are ways to do exciting things in comedy again. Without money hungry businesses being involved or monopolising agents and promoters. It feels like we are actually doing something really good with this.
I have a show on which I’d love you all to come to, but also, if you are in or near London and around 3rd to the 11th August, please just come and support our event. It’d mean a lot and you’ll get to see some well wicked comedy innit? The website is www.phoenixfringe.co.uk obvs*. Have a looky, you will likey.
My show – http://www.wegottickets.com/event/227281
* Russell Howard’s shows are on there as they were a late addition but at the time of typing there are still tickets left. Look via www.wegottickets.com/phoenixfringe for those.
Part 2 – Edinburgh Fringe thing
Despite all my complaining about it, there are lots of things I do still love about the Edinburgh Fringe. I am heading up for three days from 19th to the 21st to see lots of people I love and tons of shows I’m excited about. I’ll also be hosting our Comedy Club 4 Kids shows while I’m there. So, if you are going, here are a few shows that you may or may not have heard about that I’d really recommend you spend pennies to go see:
Keith Farnan – Fear Itself – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/keith-farnan-fear-itself
One of my best comedy buddies and a fiercely good comedian. He’s had a hell of a year this year with work and life but has still managed to come up with a sharp and brilliant show. The ‘give a shit’ bit is still making me laugh thinking about it.
Chris Coltrane – Compassion Is Subversive – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/chris-coltrane-compassion-is-subversive
Chris is quickly becoming one of the best political comedians on the scene. I’ve seen a preview of this show and it’s wonderfully satirical and fun without at any point being didactic or sanctimonious. Really excellent stuff. And its free to see.
Nat Luurtsema – Here She Be – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/here-she-be
My former flatmate and very funny woman, Nat has an incredible writing talent matched with excellent delivery. I haven’t seen this show yet, but several people have already told me that its very honest and deeply funny and having seen her many times before, I know that they can’t be wrong.
Luke Benson – Legendary Feet – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/luke-benson-legendary-feet
Comedy giant Benson’s show is superbly silly. Not only is the show a gag packed hour with a compelling through line, but its also enjoyable just watching how many different shooting/grenade throwing/exploding things mimes he does to sell some of the gags. There’s even a pun in a title. He’s that good.
Mark Thomas – 100 Acts of Minor Dissent – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/mark-thomas-100-acts-of-minor-dissent
You don’t need telling about Mark and he doesn’t need help selling tickets but I’ve put this show on here because a) he is such a wonderful comedian and b) I helped do some of the minor acts he’s been talking about. Every now and then (including 5 mins ago) I get a call from a blocked number and a ‘Tiernan, its Mark. What are you doing tomorrow?’ in a sinister tone, before then agreeing to do something often ridiculous. Why not try and spot which ones I ended up getting drafted in to?
Bridget Christie – A Bic For Her – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/bridget-christie-a-bic-for-her
I have no idea what this show is about and haven’t been lucky enough to catch a preview but I adore all Bridget’s stand-up and think she’s currently one of the funniest acts out there. Even her mailing list mail outs make me laugh. I guarantee this will be very very good.
Howard Read – Hide and Speak – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/howard-read-hide-and-speak
A very funny man being very very funny through live animation. The song from God is incredible. Also you get to shoot David Cameron in the face with a wii remote. That’s worth the ticket price alone.
Tim Fitzhigham – The Challenger – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/tim-fitzhigham-challenger
Not sure how I missed my compadre in adventuring off this list originally. Tim is quite unlike anyone you will ever meet or will ever see on stage. I don’t know much about this show other than his efforts to stand on one leg for over 12 hours, but chances are high that he’s done a ton more stupid stuff like that just for your entertainment. Don’t let his tenacity for putting himself in stupid situations go to waste.
Again another act that you don’t need telling about, but Rich is one of those comedians who just has comedy in his bones. This show will no doubt be different every night. But it will also be hilarious every night. You should probably go 2-3 times really.
Knightmare Live – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/knightmare-live
Doesn’t need explaining does it? Just go. I’ll be on the panel on Aug 21st if you come to that one.
The Comedian’s Comedian – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/comedian-s-comedian-live-with-stuart-goldsmith
Always interesting, and Stu is the perfect host. He is interviewing some true greats of comedy in August so whenever you go it’ll be a fascinating insight into how fucked up we all are.
There are tons more shows that will be great too. And as well as all those I’ve mentioned, go see someone you’ve never heard of before. Don’t just bow down to seeing the one act from the telly you know. The Fringe isn’t about that even though that’s slowly how its becoming. Don’t let it.
Right enough fringing for now. See you all at my Phoenix Fringe show next Friday right? Guys? Guys?