There has for some years now been a great deal of interest in Sweden here in the UK. I think this stems largely from the fact that Swedes seem like a happier, more successful version of us... What is their secret? It could be summed up in one word: 'lagom'. Lagom is a uniquely Swedish word with no direct translation into English. It means 'not too much, not to little'.
You may have failed miserably at scoring tickets for last year's Edinburgh Comedy Award winner - FYI, Bridget Christie's A Bic for Her rightfully scooped the Best Show prize -but there are plenty of other female comic talents making waves at the Fringe in 2014, actively disproving the myth that women aren't funny...
After Robin Williams' (probable yet unconfirmed at the time of writing) suicide at the age of just 63, the question is once more in the air - are comedians more prone to depression than, say, plumbers, gamekeepers or human resources managers? Does the iconic 'tears of a clown' cultural trope have any basis in fact? My instinct is to say no, it doesn't - but it is just that, instinct, for I have no data. It is a difficult case to prove, for the evidence to the contrary seems so overwhelming. When a comedian like Robin Williams or Tony Hancock takes their own life, with all the consequent publicity engendered by those tragedies, it is definitely tempting to conclude 'there goes another one.'
This advice is being given on the assumption that before you go to Edinburgh, you've at the very least written yourself 5-10 minutes worth of comedy you can perform on stage. If you haven't got that, then by all means visit the festival but don't bother getting on a stage and wasting audiences' time.
His machine-gun riffing, his ability to put on a thousand voices and tell circular jokes poking fun at the human condition were all proof of comedic genius, seemingly channelled from another source for which he was merely a willing conduit. No wonder performing greats like Bob Hope were reluctant to follow him on stage.
Immediately I began to draw a fair amount of attention, I could see people sniggering, actually sniggering at me. I tried to act normal whilst flexing biceps and breathing in. People looked up from books and stared, a group of young girls looked at me then hid their mouths behind conspiring palms... "What the hell is wrong with these people? ... What's so damn funny?"
Just as the Beatles (especially John) found a kindred spirit in singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson -- so did the Python members find a joyous soulmate in Robin Williams. It was love at first laugh. And it was a fully-consummated mutual admiration.
It's here! That crazy month where tons of creative, funny and just down right weird performers (myself included) flock to Scotland for a month of drinking, flyering and probably some performing. This shall be my sixth Edinburgh so it's about time I wrote a "A Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe" blog.
How could this be happening? ... I'd lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years and am now a size 14 (the slimmest I've been since I was 14). But that's obviously not good enough if I look pregnant. And not just a bit pregnant - enough to make two sober and presumably rational adults assume that I am pregnant enough to need to sit down on public transport. That's, what, like, seven months?
For those of you concerned, I had my hair cut around five days before the big proposal to ensure the hair had settled well into the new cut. Now you can all relax and enjoy this post as opposed to fretting over the possibility that my freshly cut hair wouldn't be up to the challenge.
If there's one thing I'm bored of hearing when I ask to be treated equally to a man, it is 'you take yourself too seriously'... Humour, we're told, is a boys' game. Men are taught that their friendships should be forged in pranks and banter, while women are instructed to take the serious stuff - problems, worries and secrets - to their female friends.
What is it about rock stars that won't make them quit while they're ahead? ... I mean, just think of some of the more hedonistic behaviour - eating bats (Ozzy Osbourne), the shark episode (Led Zepellin), urinating on the Alamo (Osbourne again) - if any of them behaved like that in a nursing home then they'd be dosed up and diagnosed with senile dementia.
The problem with female comedians is that they ALL talk about their periods all the time. It is literally their whole sets. Periods, blood, tampons, ladydiapers, period, period. Period. Eurgh. It is disgusting, am I right, guys?
I cannot actually remember where this particular bit of advice began and believe it to be deep rooted in my childhood somewhere. It is very simple - 'improvise your way through life'. I remember my late father saying things like 'You hum it and I'll sing it' when I came to him with a challenge. This was his way of reiterating the art of improvisation and no task was ever too large.
Sup. I am back from the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. (I am aware they do more than comedy, but frankly I have never seen a show there not starring a comedian so refuse to admit it, sorry dancers/ actors/ acrobats.)
I scraped my knee this afternoon playing Bolshevik Revolution with Tim. He shoved me from behind and when I cried foul he claimed that the divine right of kings empowered him to do so.
Six months of house-hunting in London and I still haven't sealed the deal. But I have met estate agents. Dozens of them. And it is almost unsettling; they have not been the rude, arrogant, cretinous benders-of-the-truth that the generalisation might suggest. They are different. Or, more accurately: indifferent... I wanted to interview one of these guys to see what the market looks like from their end...