For everyone performing at the Edinburgh Festival, sparing a thought outside the realm of the Fringe is a rare occurrence.
Heads are usually far too flooded with how shows are going, and where to next have booze. It’s a self-contained bubble for August and it’d not seem unusual if some sort of Third World War started during it and only a handful of Fringe performers batted an eyelid.
Actually that’s not strictly true. As the London riots spread over the UK, comedians huddle round phones waiting for Twitter updates and live feeds from news websites. Never have I felt so homesick while at the festival, but yesterday I felt both joy for being so far away and sadness I couldn’t be with all those friends who may be in danger. There was a mix of emotions in the bar as news came in about another building that had been destroyed, or someone else hurt. Sad headlines were interspersed with joking on the idea of riots in Edinburgh. I suppose it was our way of coping.
Several people this year, myself included, are doing topical shows due to the current climate and I wonder how many will change things. Do we jeopardise hours of material writing to squeeze in five minutes churned out this morning just to be current? I don’t think I have a choice.
Not to belittle anything that’s happened but the news has been a curse so far. The kids’ show I’m doing with Tim FitzHigham contains a huge cuddly polar bear that last week turned into the killer of a 17-year-old overnight. My solo show contains references to Norway being a peaceful place, a notion destroyed by the massacre several weeks ago. And now, my blurb about a Mad Max-style dystopian future seems oddly prophetic. I’m getting very concerned about my gags about the existence of dragons.
• Tiernan Douieb vs The World is at Assembly Hall until 28 August. Today 1:45pm. The Adventurers Club: The Great Arctic Caper is at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August. Today 4:10pm. Tiernan also hosts Comedy Club 4 Kids at the Bongo Club. Today 5:30pm.