How To Get Through The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Without Dying

On a day when more shows went on sale for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we’ve pulled together a handy guide for companies making their way here in August.  You see, we’ve been around the Fringe block once or twice in the past and feel that it’s time to share some of our opinions on how to get through the festival without dying.

This information should be particularly useful if you’re a novice company at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and should help you on your way.  And if you don’t trust us, we also asked a bunch of the beautiful people to tell us what they think.

Eat well – Hangry people are arseholes

Most of our major bitch fits happen when we’re hungry.  It’s human nature.  When you’re in Edinburgh it’s easy to forget to plan a nutritious diet.  Vegetables don’t count if they are on pizza.  Fruit in a cocktail is cheating also.  It’s really important if you’re in town for the long haul not to be bum fucked by your own immune system.  Drink water.  Eat a balanced diet. We know you’ll probably binge drink on occasion, just don’t do it all the time.  Being sick in public is VERY embarrassing.

Alan CummingWash

Your body and your clothes.  You may like the smell of 3 day old sweat, but no one else does. There’s nothing worse than going to a show and getting hepatitis because you accidentally scratched yourself on someone’s costume on the way out.  It’s also more likely that you’ll get laid if your prospective beau doesn’t think they’ll have to chip their way in.

Sarah MillicanTake the hint

Not everyone will want to see a contemporary take on Lysistrata featuring themes of football hooliganism on a canal barge near Bathgate.  If someone says no to your flyer, keep it and give it to someone who wants it.  Don’t feel the need to form a chain gang and lie in the middle of the Royal Mile.  That won’t make you seem like any less of a dick.  In fact, the opposite may be true.  If you are really sexy and have a good body, by all means take your top off on the mile.  If you have the body of Gollum however, it’s probably best for you and your show to keep it under wraps.

DanniiKnow your limits

You can be fat and jolly, or skinny and an arsehole.  You can’t be fat and an arsehole.  No-one will want to fuck you.  They may not even want to come to your show. Though attractive people do tend to get more leniency, it’s best not to be an idiot regardless of your shape.  One of the most forgotten things in Edinburgh is that word travels.  Everyone knows everyone.  If you’re being shitty to your venue team, the media or the public, people will find out and there’s nothing sexy about a moody two shoes.

John BishopSleep well

That ‘other’ drink may seem like it will wake you up.  It won’t.  It will just turn you into more of a gibbering monkey, tactlessly slagging off your director in front of the programmer of the Sydney Opera House.  A rested mind and body can do the job it came to Edinburgh to do.  It’s amazing how many people come to town on their life savings and fuck it up by not being very good because they are exhausted.

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Ross NobleBe prepared

Bring condoms, lube and spermicidal jams and jellies – even if you are not planning on sleeping around.  Edinburgh becomes a hot mess of sexual activity in August; we once caught crabs just looking at {NAME REMOVED FOR LEGAL REASONS} in a bar.

Seriously though, practice safe sex. In Edinburgh, new cases of HIV are on the rise in both the gay and straight population.

Tom ThumShagging aside, know where you are and tell at least one person you trust where you’re heading for the night.

Prefix your emergency contact’s name in your phone with ICE (In Case of Emergency).  It’s how the Scottish emergency services will know who to call if they find you in a ditch.

Anthony RappCarl Donnellyeastend cabaretHal SparksJoel DommettRobin Incetape FaceAli McGregorElisJason CookRich FulcherSusan CalmanTom AllenYianni
This year the Big C is staging the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and the Big Cabaret Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support with some very sexy acts.

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We Definitely Would – Vikki Stone

“Imagine being in a room with Lily Allen without the fear of being glassed.  Except she’s funny and actually really talented”. 

Vikki Stone - DefinitelyThis is how Vikki Stone’s show was first described to me by a colleague.

I first became aware of her when I tweeted that she looked a bit like a young Josie Lawrence.  She didn’t tell me to get fucked.  In fact, she said something nice back about the Big Comedy Gala.

Last year, I finally met her at a fundraiser where she absolutely charmed the room, and I fell in love.  (But in a gay man to pop diva way.  Not the creepy ‘I’m in your garden’ sort of way).

For those of you living under a rock, Vikki Stone is a multi-talented comedian, actress, singer and musician and winner of The Soho Theatre One Night Stand Up Award.

Her unique mix of stand up and musical comedy has made her one of the fastest rising stars of British comedy. She performs regularly across the country at major clubs, festivals and theatres, as well as appearing regularly on television.

Her debut Edinburgh show, Big Neon Letters, played to sell-out audiences and received critical acclaim, including The Observer’s Comedy Top 5 Edinburgh Shows 2011.

Her follow up show, Hot Mess, sold out its entire run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012, and four extra shows were added due to phenomenal public demand.

This year she’s back with ‘Definitely’.

Her Phillip Schofield Song became an internet hit and was listed in The Huffington Post as The Top Ten Viral Videos in 2012.

You may also recognise her from fronting major ad campaigns for Yakult, Fiat and…..Tena Lady!

Hot off the stage at Latitude, she took a minute to answer a few quick questions for the Big C.

What is your involvement in The Big C?

I’m going to be doing ‘my thing’, and if you’d like to know what that ‘thing’ is, then you best get booking!

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Bette Midler. Don’t think I need to explain why.

MidlerFavourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

This is a tough one, but I think it has to be the time my friend, who is a grown man, accidentally shat himself on Clapham Common. I couldn’t stop laughing for days.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

See above.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Phillip Schofield – but I don’t make a secret of this.  I wrote a song about him, which I ended up performing right to his face on ITV’s This Morning last year!

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Good laughs and good cause!

cropped-big-c-cover.jpgJoining Vikki on the night are The Boy with Tape on his Face, Sean Hughes, Greg Proops, Caroline Rhea, Joe Lycett, East End Cabaret & Patrick Monahan.  Other acts will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Follow @bigcomedygala #BigC2013

Book The Big C

Book Vikki Stone

BIG COMEDY GALA IN AID OF MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT LINE-UP ANNOUNCED.

Organisers of the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support today announced the majority of the line up for the show which takes place on Monday 12 August from 21:30 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

998342_587442851278150_1251862508_nThis year’s Big C comes with a twist as silent comedian, Fringe sensation and Foster’s Edinburgh Panel Prize winner, The Boy with Tape on his Face (aka ‘The Boy’), takes over the host’s mantle. It’s thought to be the first time a silent act has hosted an event of this nature during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Joining The Boy on stage this year will be another silent act, Lost Voice Guy, alongside Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Curb Your Enthusiasm alumni Caroline Rhea; Whose Line Is It Anyway star Greg Proops; Perrier Award winner Sean Hughes; Soho Theatre Stand Up Award winner Vikki Stone; Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Joe Lycett; Show Me the Funny winner Patrick Monahan and Time Out London’s Queens of Smut, East End Cabaret.

BC2Like past years, there will also be surprise guest performances from a host of other acts.

The Big C was set up in 2011 by Barry Church-Woods and Mhari Hetherington, in order to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The inaugural show, which was hosted by Ed Byrne, and the 2012 show, hosted by Roy Walker, both sold out – raising over £36,000 for Macmillan to date – with line-ups that included Josie Long, Frisky and Mannish, Fred Macaualy, Chris Ramsey, Danny Bhoy and Sarah Millican.

In the gala’s third year, the organisers hope to hit the £50,000 mark.

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is run entirely by volunteers with acts donating their time for free to raise funds for the charity.  This would not be possible without the generous support of Suisse Design & Art Direction and Dupliquick.

Tickets are on sale at www.edfringe.com & www.venue150.com

CONTACT
For press enquiries, please contact Josef Church-Woods on josefchurchwoods@live.co.uk or ring Jo on 07 887 811 091.

LISTINGS
The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
Monday 12 August at 21:30 (2hrs)
Venue150@EICC, 150 Morrison Street, Edinburgh,
Tickets: £20 (charges may apply)

Box office: 0844 847 1639 (Ticketweb) or 0131 226 0000 (EdFringe)
Buy online: www.edfringe.com

More information: www.bigcomedygala.com
Follow line-up announcements on Twitter: @bigcomedygala

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An Open Letter and Invitation to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Madam,

It recently came to my attention that when you awarded Nica Burns an OBE for services to entertainment, your brief conversation resulted in you registering your surprise that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the Fringe) had existed for more than 20 years.

I feel quite certain that you went home immediately to research the largest arts festival in the world and discovered that it actually came into existence in 1947, as a response to the Edinburgh International Festival, and has flourished ever since.  Indeed, just last year, the Fringe was said to generate some £141million for the local economy.

I’ve seen your wonderful crown and palace and shan’t assume that you will necessarily be able to appreciate the enormity of this, so for purposes of clarity, let me state that for your typical Edinburgh resident in Dumbiedykes, £141million is A LOT of money.

It struck me that though in recent years I’ve seen images of David Hasselhoff, Ricky Gervais and Miriam Margolyes enjoying all that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer, I have never seen a photograph of your Majesty in a festival beer garden. Nor have I ever read a ‘fun’ Herald diary piece about you inadvertently falling asleep during a production of Hedda Gabler in a hotel loft.

Then it struck me.

As your humble servant, it is my duty to ensure that you experience the first and best Fringe Festival the world has to offer.  Particularly as it happens annually in your land.  So I put this to you:

I am currently producing The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  It’s exactly as it sounds and aims to raise money for the wonderful charity by showcasing a veritable smorgasbord of light entertainment.

It’s on a school night – Monday 12th August to be precise – but as you’ll no doubt be aware, in Edinburgh in August, there’s no such thing as a weekend.

Madam, I would like to invite you and the Duke of Edinburgh to the show to experience fourteen of the best comedic acts that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer.

As luck would have it, the Gala is being staged in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, a venue synonymous with high quality events and very much used to welcoming global dignitaries and their security cartel.

I do not want to assume that you will be available to attend, and as such I have not included any tickets with this correspondence.  Instead, inspired by the classic film Never Been Kissed, I have reserved two seats for you in the middle of the auditorium and will wait by them until 21:25 on August 12th, hoping that you can find it in your heart of hearts to show up.

Please, your Majesty, be a very wealthy Michael Varnan to my oddly shaped Drew Barrymore.

Of course, the Fringe is not all about comedy; there’s a massive programme of dance, theatre, music and visual arts to choose from too. If you do come to Edinburgh, the day after the gala I’m sure I can hook you up with some tickets for one of the many student productions.  Just let me know in advance.

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty of it all.

I know you have a wonderful home in Edinburgh; indeed, two years ago you invited me to your garden party.  Alas I was somewhat in the huff with you and didn’t attend due to your rewarding famous homophobe Brian Souter with an OBE – but I’m ready to move on, if you are.

If you would like the full Fringe experience, I would be more than happy to welcome you into my home to stay for a couple of nights.  As it’s you, you and the Duke can have the room with the en-suite, though you will need to share a kitchen with the cast of Briefs and Corey Feldman.

I can guarantee that if you make the trip to Edinburgh, you will not regret it.  Indeed, many of the people on the bill have also performed at the Royal Variety Performance, including our wonderful host The Boy with Tape on his Face, and don’t even pretend you won’t absolutely lose your shit when Caroline Rhea from Sabrina the Teenage Witch comes on stage.  She is truly one of the greatest comediennes out there.

Tickets are normally £20, though I’m happy to cover the cost if you throw a ring or bracelet into the Macmillan bucket at the end.

So there we are.

If you would like to attend the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s on Monday 12 August 2013 from 21:30 at Venue150@EICC.

I very much hope to see you there.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant.

Barry Hetherington

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Mad About The Boy

The Boy with Tape on his Face will host this year’s Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We first became aware of the Boy with Tape on his Face in February 2010.  We were in Adelaide enjoying the sun and catching up with long lost and newly aquainted relatives during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Having no time to plough through their fairly hefty programme we decided to ask around.  What’s the big show this year?  What’s the must have ticket?  What should we see before we head back to Edinburgh?  Every single time, the respondent was emphatic.

“The Boy with Tape on his Face”.

Difficult to describe without demeaning his talent by implicating him with mimes, clowns and street performers, the truth is this: Tape Face Boy is the perfect amalgam of all three disciplines.

Indeed, in the Bosco Tent within the Garden of Unearthly Delights that evening, we were delighted to witness the bringing together of the very best of these genres into a rock solid fifty-five minute show while also winning favour with the new in-laws by getting them a sneak peek of the next big thing.

The. Next. Big. Thing.  Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe this phrase is bandied around like hair colour.  Anyone with a 5 star review can be it.  The next big discovery.  The one to bank on.  The person for whom all other successes will be measured against (in that financial year at least).

Remember last year’s next big thing?  No, we didn’t think so.  But like the gaffer tape across his mouth, this time it stuck.  And good god is it sticky.

Since leaving the Boy with Tape on his Face finishing off his Adelaide run amid a bidding war from Edinburgh’s Big 4 and a barrage of incredible reviews his star has done nothing but rise.

He’s toured the world, enjoyed three massive hit shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stole the shows at last year’s Royal Variety Performance and BBC Comedy Prom while bagging himself a BBC3 Pilot as part of the Comedy Kitchen platform, and like Gaga has her Little Monsters and Beiber has Beliebers, the Boy has a growing army of Silent Ones.

And all without uttering a single word.

We are delighted that this year he’ll be hosting the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  But how will he do it without speaking?  We guess you’ll have to buy a ticket to find out.

For those of you that seen the show last year, you’ll be aware that there is a very real chance that at this point in the evening you may well end up being ‘the show’.  But how does he charm punters onto his stage so easily?  Here he explains to Time Out London:

‘I treat them a wee bit like dolls,’ he says, audience participation at a Tape Face gig is never humiliating. ‘If there’s too much responsibility on an audience member there’s too much pressure for them to fail whereas if you give them the tiniest amount of responsibility, the moment they achieve it and the audience goes crazy, they feel like a star.’ Whether they’re forming a makeshift Jackson 5 or being transformed into a human puppet, this gentle approach comes from years of seeing ‘audience members treated badly’, he says. ‘I want them leave the stage a hero.’

Preparation is currently underway for his show ‘More Tape’ at the Pleasance Courtyard and we were lucky enough to steal him away to answer a few very important questions

What is your actual name?

The Boy with Tape on His Face

And exactly how old are you?

Not sure. Still Boy not Tape Man.

How would you describe your job?

Stand up comedian who doesn’t talk

And what is your involvement going to be at The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support? 

I will be performing comedy antics at the event and introducing guests.

We’re sure you get asked this all the time but who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor? 

Everybody thinks I should like Charlie Chaplin but I prefer Buster Keaton

Well, the Guardian did refer to you as a latterday Buster Keaton.  What’s your favourite comedy moment from the past few years?

I once saw a magician get locked into a mailbag and not get out. Longest yet funniest fifteen minutes of my life.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh? 

Being the owner of two bald cats and a dachshund

And who is your secret celebrity crush?

The guy from the Go Compare commercials, I would crush him with a shipping container and be given a medal.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Laughter is the best medicine for everything in Life.

Not five, but a perfect summary of why the Big C exists.

The Big Comedy Gala is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It takes place on Monday 12 August 2013 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £20 (subject to booking fee)

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

You can also buy tickets for The Boy with Tape on his Face: More Tape here.

Life’s Survival Bible

It’s been a couple of days since all of our wonderful acts kicked the show in the clunge, and what an incredible night it was.

While we’re waiting for the final tally, what better way to occupy yourself than to getting to know some of the acts better.

Phil Walker, Steve Shanyaski and of course our wonderful host for the night Roy.

You’ll know by now that we’re the very stickler for taste and only ever settle for the very best.  With that in mind, you’d have to be very special to grace our stage for both our galas so far (and yes, we’ll mention it once more – he smells like a fecking angel).

Ladies and gentlemen and inbetweenies, if you were at either of the shows you’ve already seen what this guy can do in 7 minutes.  Why not let him pleasure your laugh holes for a full hour.

We give you Steve Shanyaski.

Age: 35

Occupation: Stand Up Comedian

What is your involvement in The BigC?

I performed in the first Big Comedy Gala in 2011 and also last Monday’s gig.

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Eddie Izzard was the act I watched when I was younger and thought, “That’s just like what we talk about?”.  I was inspired from that moment to try comedy.  All I had to do then was get a series of menial jobs so depressing that it forced me to have a quarter-life crisis, and eventually overcome stage-fright.

Favourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

Julie Walter’s waitress in the “2 Soups” sketch.  It kills me every time.  The pain and tension of eventuality in it – in fact, I’m going to watch it again on Youtube now… Done… “Ready to order?”… Brilliant!  Either that, or the absurd Monty Python “Fish-Slapping Dance”.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

Tough question this. A lot of my comedy material is born from frustration and anger, so anything that makes me angry will eventually make me laugh – except debt.  Debt, and Piers Morgan.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Michaela Strachan – always will be.  She had a few naughty years when she was working with her Granddad on “Hitman & Her”, but now she’s calmed down and settled into hiking and topography – and still looks great in cess-covered gaiters and full-body Gore-Tex, which is a difficult look to pull off?!

In five words, why should people support The Big Comedy Gala?

Charity GOOD… not supporting = BAD!

Steve Shanyaski’s show Life’s Survival Bible plays Pleasance Couryard every night until the 26th (inclusive) at 11pm.  Tickets can be bought on edfringe.com or at the venue.