THE BLOG

The Edinburgh Fringe... What's the Point?

31/07/2013 14:03 | Updated 25 September 2013

A quick introduction- I'm David, otherwise known as Blogging Gimp from the sketch group Late Night Gimp Fight. We've been around since late 2008 and are returning to the Edinburgh Fringe this August for our fifth run at the festival. Here's a fairly typical example of what we do... filthy, fast-paced and funny. That's us.

So why are we going back to the Fringe? Well, one of the reasons is that the Fringe is essentially a shop window for the comedy industry. It's where producers, commissioners, agents and production companies go to look for new talent to work with. It's not the only shop window by any means, the rise of YouTube and podcasting means there are other, more instant ways of getting your work out there and viewed by an audience, but for the time being Edinburgh is still where it's at, creatively.

That fact means it's an addictive place to be even during the time outside of your own show. You'll spend your days watching myriad performers and experience so many weird and wonderful shows in this cultural melting pot that you feed off it. It can be a very inspiring way to spend a month and you get as much of a buzz off watching other people's shows as you do from performing your own. I remember watching Flight of the Conchords in Edinburgh in a small sweaty cave, Russell Brand in a portercabin and Jimmy Carr in tiny rooms before they all went stratospheric. Almost everyone who's made it in comedy has done Edinburgh along the way.

Another motivation to return each year is that Edinburgh contains some of the most discerning comedy audiences you will find, so is in a sense the truest test of the material you've spent that last year or so working on. Andrew Maxwell famously described Edinburgh as "exams for clowns" and it really does have that feel. By the end of a run at the Fringe, your jokes are sharper, your timing better and your material more impactful. That's a great thing, and you want to share the fruits of your labours with as many people as possible.

Plus, it's just a great city and they will deep fry anything for you. I mean, anything.

It's not all play though, and a serious amount of hard graft goes into creating an Edinburgh show, particularly now we're at the business end of preparations. The heatwave that's rumoured to have happened over the last few weeks has completely passed us by as we hole ourselves up inside theatres all day rehearsing, rewriting and generally spending far more time than any of us would like in each other's company. We emerge from the rehearsal room, pale and sweaty, only in the evenings to road test the material in a series of previews designed to knock the show into shape.

This cycle of hit and miss previews in the final fortnight before the Fringe can drain you of any confidence in your show one night and then fully restore it the next. Almost daily rewrites of jokes or structure of the show take place and in our case, countless shopping trips to buy "essential" props or costumes that we convince ourselves will make a sketch funnier. I've spent more time in Primark in the last two weeks than I'd wish upon anyone over a lifetime.

But it'll be worth it. It will all be worth it. At least it will be by about the fourth night anyway, the show's usually just about ready by then. And then we can enjoy the rest of the month.

If you'd like to follow our exploits while we're up there we'll be blogging every day on our own site, and for the Huffington Post we'll have a weekly blog discussing Edinburgh and the highlights of what we've been up to. So stay tuned for more Gimp based exploits over the coming weeks!