Auntie Keara’s TOP FIVE TIPS for New Acts Performing at The Edinburgh Fringe for the Very First Time…
1. Tell me how many gigs you’ve done. Yaaaaaaaaaaaawn!!!! I don’t care. Just do them. Record yourself. Listen back to it. Be hard on yourself. And get advice from someone who knows. Discard the tape and do it again. And Again. And again. And again. And again. Forever. And ever. And E-V-E-R! Again.
If you MUST count something, make it the LPMs (If you don’t know what that is, find the fuck out).
Clip Art © Ron Leishman
2. Selfie-Pap yourself with a celeb comic – especially in a VIP bar – it makes you look amateur and performers come to those bars to get away from that stuff. Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrringe!!! Why don’t you ask them for some tips instead? Old hands love to pass down their experience. And it’s a far better use of their time. And you might actually learn something. :-)
3. Stop saying it’s the “Fringe-Festival” – it’s not. – Unless you are doing ‘The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival’ it’s actually called The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – or The Fringe – ie; on the Fringe of the Festival – yes, we know we’ve taken over! Result!! But know your history: Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Clip Art © Ron Leishman
4. Don’t perform drunk. You’re slurring your words and we cannot hear what you are saying. That’s why the joke didn’t work. Well, that’s one reason, anyway. Drink strangles your performance, it does not enhance it. Do some yoga for your nerves and maybe some affirmations. Or just ten long slow deep breaths. Meditation. Hug a bear. Drink water. And more water. No ice. Eat vegetables and fish and bananas. These things produce far better results than the demon drink. Get shitfaced after the show if you must (bearing in mind you have to do it all again tomorrow and are making it harder for yourself every day by the endless, compounded hangovers – still, it’s your funeral).
But, NEVER drink before a gig! Okay?
5. A Fringe audience is an International audience. Don’t blame them for not knowing your colloquialism. Adapt. If you cannot adapt your act to a wider audience, give up. Go join a band or something. Or take up hill-walking. The mountain people don’t listen to you anyway.
If you can perform to an EdFringe audience (of any size) and make them laugh, you can perform anywhere. I know, because I have done it. I have made all of these mistakes myself. I have performed, ran shows and hosted stand up all over the world for over 15 years. I have done ten one-women shows at The Edinburgh Fringe and a range of other festivals. I have done two compilation shows over and above that, ran multiple-act bills for professionals and some for new acts, and have done many, many other guest spots all over the shop – no, I NEVER counted how many!!! But let me count the shows: 12 Fringes in a billed show – 15 as a performer.
I am not in a show this year because I am writing my first character-based sketch show for for BBC Radio Scotland, Mistress MacKenzie and Friends, which will be on the airwaves later this year. These characters all started their lives in makeshift rooms at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I would not now be doing my own radio show without first having done those tough shows at The Fringe.
So remember, when the going gets tough, think of the wider picture. Present pain for future gain, etc.
And if you need a wee cheerie up – which you WILL need – please come and say hello to Mistress MacKenzie before she is too famous to respond. You can ask her anything, using the hashtag #AskMistress
– She’s THE ONE: Meet Mistress MacKenzie
See you amid the madness, children, and you can ask ME anything in person. And I will even let you have a wee pic with me (As long as the light is low and I have reapplied my lippy and there is nice furniture involved). What do you mean you don’t want your picture with me?!!! The cheek!!!