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We sit down with Australian comedian and author Brendon Burns to hear his take on the Edinburgh fringe.
Why do comedians do the Edinburgh Fringe?
For a few reasons. The last few years I’ve been on the Free Fringe and it’s so I can make money. But then there’s the other type of Fringe where you can spend a lot of money and pretend you’re famous for a month with your picture everywhere. But this is also a trade fair of sorts and if you have a high concept show, it’s a month long advert for yourself and what you can do when given free reign for an hour. And if you’re a festival act hopefully you’ll get picked up to tour a whole bunch of festivals with your new idea. And lastly, when you’re starting out, it’s just a chance to do an hour. I don’t care who you are or how long you’ve been going, a month up here always sends you away a better comic.
Name three things people may not know about the Edinburgh Fringe from a Comic’s perspective
1. If it’s been raining solidly for a month and you’re miserable, it doesn’t mean there’s no good comics that year. It means you’re really depressed and so is everyone else in the audience. We’re funny, not miracle workers.
2. There is always a dip at 45 mins. In terms of structure, it’s best to jump in that hole and bring it down a bit. If an audience member clanks down the stairs loudly across the stage during that moment you fuck the performer and everyone in the room.
3. You spent £10, the person on stage may lose 10K. You don’t get to yell at them afterwards because you didn’t like their show.
Name some fringe pet hates
Drunks, groups and unjustifiably outraged twats that think their own personal boundaries around ‘topics for comedy’ should never be broached.
Best things about the fringe
1. Some of the sharpest, most comedically-savvy audiences on planet Earth.
2. Regular punters that you only see this time of year. For me there are a handful of people that I know by name and I can’t stress how happy I am to see them when I do. Bringing them joy, making them howl with laughter is a real honour and a privilege. Even when I fuck up they give me a second go at it. If they were to find out just how much they meant to me they’d probably be a little creeped out by it.
3. Seeing all your buddies from around the world. I live on a farm these days so am quite the hermit and am not around other comics as much as I’d like to be.
How/why do you choose the subject matter for your shows?
Sometimes it’s just whatever jokes you come up with and about once every ten years life hands you the show you probably should be doing. This year with Race Off with Craig Quartermaine is one of those “once in a decade” shows and in hindsight the others just feel like preparation.
Like Brendon? Check out his full bio here…
Best show you’ve seen this year?
Literally have had no time with all the fine tuning required with Race Off. I’ve seen only Andy Daly and Desiree Burch so far and both were great. My other double act partner Colt Cabana goes to almost everything. He’s a pro-wrestler and a huge comedy nerd. I’m hoping to catch more with him this week. I’m dying for my day off so I can see Aunty Donna. Those guys are killing it and they did it all via the Internet. I love young go-getters that don’t wait for a deal or to be ‘discovered’. Oh, and Doug Anthony All Stars are better than ever.
Some people think an hour of comedy from one person sounds like a lot – what’s the difference between an Edinburgh show and a 10/20 spot on TV?
Ha! I wouldn’t know. Nobody ever really wants to see me for less than 55 mins. I’m clearly a bit long winded and, given the subject matter, I really need that kind of time to explain myself fully. Pretty sure most of my stuff requires a certain level of trust and elaboration. I think a TV spot takes a lot more immediate likability than I possess.
8. A quick plug for your show?
Oh, whoops, sorry already crow-barred that in. Like I said this first week has needed to be a little one-track minded. I’m having one of those ‘trade fair’ years.