7 Fringe Things I Will Never Do Again
28 August, 2015
Some of the following experiences make me never want to do another Fringe festival. Some make it so I can’t wait to do it again. Which side will win?
1) Performing for babies.
It was a standup show, for grownups. But it was called ‘Welcome to Clown Town,’ and it was at 2:30pm – right after a kids show. Of course, all the kids stuck around. 5 minutes before
the show began, the MC came on and said the show was 18+. The place emptied out quick. Except for this mama with her infant in the front row. (She waited to leave until I was done.)
But to be honest, I’d do it again.
2) Canceling my show to perform on a bus.
When the New Waverley Arches weren’t ready on Opening Day, I remembered Bob Slayer and his mad plan to turn a double decker bus into a venue. I’ve performed in a moving train and a Boeing 747, so why not a bus? And the nice thing was the location: right outside the Big Four’s legerdemain. The canceling: Never Again. The bus: I’d do it again.
3) Flyering in the rain.
The last time I went flyering for a Fringe show was for Boom Chicago 15 years ago. But I remembered my strategy: don’t try to hand out 5 flyers per minute; rather 1 flyer every 5 minutes, and make it count. I’d find people with a Fringe guide and ask ‘what are you seeing?’ They mostly reply ‘What’s good?’ I’d give my honest appraisal – and my show would come up as well. Of course it was a drag to do it in the rain. But I’d rather have good chats in the drizzle than be swept away by the tide of prams in the sun.
4) Doing an improv show where the other comedian didn’t show up.
I was a guest on ‘My First Laugh,’ where comedians act out their earliest comedy routines. Since my first gigs were improvisation, I was comforted to know that another comedian would be on the lineup and we could do some short-form together. But he never showed up. So I grabbed this guy Faisal out of the audience and made him improvise with me. We told a great story together, one word at a time. I’d do it again.
5) Winning LOLypmics.
I represented Holland and won. That was great, actually. I’d do it again.
6) Being called onstage to play a racist clown.
Desiree Burch’s ‘Tarbaby’ has a carnival theme, and she volunteered me to be the clown – including face paint. She then instructed me to yell racist insults at her. Even though I had a symbolic mask on – and explicit permission – I couldn’t do it. She needed to feed me the lines. I loved the show, but I don’t know if I’d do that again. Meanwhile, I see the show won a Fringe First award for outstanding comic play! So I’m glad I could help…
7) Hosting my own Fringe standup show.
I didn’t know if we’d get anyone to come to Fingers Piano Bar, down the hill from the Assembly Rooms (which are already down the hill). But it was full! I got some friends and some of my favorite acts to play. Yes it was a piano bar, with one too many mirrors. But the fact that it was an existing venue with a year-round sound system was like a warm bath. I’d do it again. And since the manager specifically invited me back, I might. Will I be back with my own show next year? Folks, I don’t yet know. It’s all in the timing, and it’s hard to justify spending £2000 in Edinburgh, when there are paid gigs in your own country. But I’ll be back no matter what, even if it’s just for a few days. I can’t stay away.