I cannot believe the Edinburgh Festival is nearly over. My head is full of so many memories that I’m sitting smiling just thinking of them, be prepared for a really indulgent blog.
The Edinburgh International Festival, for those of you not in the know, is one of the biggest arts festivals in the world -and it transforms Edinburgh for the whole of August. It really is the best time to visit Edinburgh.
The Meadows look like this!
Two festivals run side by side, The Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Fringe is where my heart lies. I love comedy, I love to laugh, and I love this time when our amazing city comes to life. It’s a festival like no other, and any comedian worth his/her salt is performing a gruelling 27+ night run night after night.
Being kissed by a Brief
In previous years I have worked with the awesome Richard Melvin, my media guru for sure, and I’ve been lucky enough to work for Edtwinge, E4 and Underbelly. This year I started off reviewing comedians, a role I under took with typical gusto and, in all honesty, not much thought of what it entailed. Three reviews in, I realised this was not for me.
People wear socks like this!
Forming close relationships with comedians in the festival in previous years and hearing Richard’s musings on stand up has equipped me with a huge empathy for Stand Up comedians. Despite them making it look so, it’s no walk in the park. These guys write, perform and believe in their shows, they work hard, they network, they gig relentlessly and work the circuit as they move up the elusive comedy ladder, waiting for their lucky break. I didn’t want to be the guy who knocked them down so I gave up after three reviews and threw myself into enjoying the festival.
This is customary food at 3am
As a filmmaker (and shaker) an exciting opportunity soon came up to direct/produce a short magazine show about stand up life for young comedians. In a few short days we organised and shot a cool show with Daily Record columnist Phil MacHugh presenting/interviewing. Phil chatted to Max and Ivan, Iain Stirling, Kai Humphries, Daniel Sloss, Ben Hart and Tom Loud of Hot Dub Time Machine. (A short version will go on my YouTube channel soon.)
Phil chatting to Tom Loud of Hot Dub Time Machine.
Then, I started to catch up on some comedy shows; here’s a detailed bit of blogpost chitchat of who I saw. This year I saw lots of new comedians, while I still caught up with my faves, I enjoyed branching out and seeing new guys and girls.
I started off with the extremely talented, mind reading, ‘I can make you a mentalist’ Doug Segal, (a show I took my children to) and we were all blown away by it. Then my friend recommend Joey Page, and I liked him a lot, really sweet and endearing, along the lines of Paul Foot’s style (which I love) ; next up, Matt Forde and a political show, (I know right, me in a political show!) but I found it so refreshing, not only did I laugh at his impressions, I felt I learned something about politics, (always helpful), I genuinely think there’s a gap needing to be filled by Matt in TV, one to watch; then Benny Boot, who takes the most random of things, metaphorically runs away with it in his mind and takes you on a little surreal journey, so fresh, so funny! I laughed so much at his show last year, (even my children know some of Benny’s jokes!), I was so excited to see Benny’s show, besides he gives the best hugs, just love Benny!
Next up was David O’Doherty, someone i’d never seen before but he had me at being Irish, a favourite of mine, something to do with my ancestors perhaps, I’m not sure, but I chuckled! The pace went ultra sexy and camp with a stop by to see Briefs at the spiegaltent, laugh out loud camp divas, what’s not to love?! Skipping back to the Pleasance for Pat Cahil, a comedian so sweet and thought provoking. Although he has some questionable dance moves, he made me blow up a balloon with the most philosophical air I ever have. Things took a dramatic turn with Running With The Firm, a show based on the film ID. Jeez, it was awesome, made me homesick as it’s based around Millwall and the Old Kent Road, where I grew up, (and the bars I wasn’t allowed into as a teenager but knew about because my brothers trawled them for girls!). Despite being about football violence, it had so many laughs in it, and if you’re at all interested in football, or indeed British films, the film and the book are a great read/watch.
Back to belly chuckling comedy and late n live, where I saw the AWESOME, and again, Irish (see, I told you!) Dylan Moran. Although I think he went on with a routine in his head, the crowd where so excited by him, he mainly stood bantering! I was also lucky to see some new talented comedians in Kai Humphries and Markus Birdman. Kai is a Geordie and has the best accent, he’s about to go on tour with Daniel Sloss so if you see that in your own, get tickets. I also saw Daniel Sloss for the first time, someone who’s always been hyped up to me and it’s obvious why, I cannot believe this guy is 22, he has the stage confidence of a 40+ year old. Back to Markus Birdman, who was my biggest surprise of the fringe as he was just so damn funny and I found him so late in the fringe! Watch out for him next year, highly recommended.
All in all this was my best Edinburgh fringe, possibly because I wasn’t running around with a huge show looming over my head and I could indulge in late night shenanigans, but mostly because of all the above people. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some one, and I’ll re-read this and freeze with horror. How could I have forgotten THEM? But if I do, it sums up the fringe; it’s a completely mental, mind filling, awesome month.
This happens to comedians, Daniel Sloss taking a break.