Comedy at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

A funny trip would mean a lot of different things to different people, but for those who are interested in comedy, it can only mean one thing.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is held every year throughout August, taking over Scotland’s capital. The Fringe Festival can make or break a comedian. Most will suffer a financial loss over the course of the grooling 3 weeks and those who don’t, generally will suffer a blow to their reputation.
This happens for a few different reasons, for a start comedians will be a well known name before they get a big arena slot, ergo they’ll have a big ego to match. This leaves many not making the effort and rehashing old jokes doesn’t cut it when it comes to the Fringe.
Secondly, people pay £30+ begrudgingly at a festival where there is so much high quality, free/ cheap entertainment to be had. This means they will be watching, all the while having this inner dialogue of “was this really worth the £76.50 I paid for me and girlfriend?”.
My advice is to stick to the mid-range priced tickets. Go to comedy clubs like The Stand, who provide comedic entertainment all year round. The same goes for live music venues like The Jazz Bar on Chamber Street.
Avoid the arena shows unless it’s a must. Long queues, overcrowding and flyer exhaustion are just some of the many environmental conditions, which can push the most patient person to Fringe Hell.
The odd Free Fringe show is definitely part of the experience. You have not experienced the Fringe Festival unless you have sat awkwardly at a near empty show or had to fight (sometimes losing) the urge to become ‘The Heckler’ of the gig.
Even though most Edinburgh destined comedians, are only now thinking up witty titles for their unwritten shows, it’s not too early to start planning your trip.
Make sure you book your accommodation early and hunt around. The Shore and Leith area is a good place to start, as great bus routes and cheap accommodation are not to be snubbed.
Don’t worry about tickets, you will end up at some impromptu show/ drunk/ lost/ in an argument (festival can be a very stressful time for any relationship) and there are offers.
Half price hut can be a saviour, so make sure you check it daily. There will also be “Bums on Seats” deals, this is free tickets to shows that organisers want to be full, or at least busier looking than they expect. Ask staff about this, they are usually pretty enthusiastic the first week or so, approach with caution thereafter. Free but ticketed shows can be a hit or miss, particularly if it happens to be some very posh drama students doing a sketch show (cringe), but you can always walk out if it is not to your taste.
When the town is crawling with wannabe and real actors, comedians, singers, dancers, you do not know who you will meet or where you will end up on any given day. The best advice is to hedge your bets, trust your instincts, pick a nice venue and try not to let it all overwhelm you.


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