Memoirs of a much loved award-winning Comedian: “The Wholly Viable”. Brilliant insight into the mind of a free spirited genius. Please pledge your support!
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
Phil Kay has written a book… The Wholly Viable…
He’s not interested in the compromises imposed by traditional publishers… So instead, he wants to work with YOU
Phil requires a minimum of £3,333 to release this book
If you pre-order a copy… He will be able to publish the book he wants to
But why stop there?!
IF HE RAISES £6,666 THEN WE CAN REALLY LAUNCH THIS BOOK
“…Can I be free and open as much in life as the comedian can be onstage? ..Is positivity viable in comedy and life? Wholly!” Phil Kay
Well known atheist Doug Stanhope has launched a campaign to show the world that: “you don’t need to believe in a god to have human compassion, nor does all charity fall under the banner of religion.”
Rebecca Vitsmun – while in a sea of “God” rhetoric in the aftermath of the Moore, OK tornado – was being interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. When asked by Wolf “Do you thank the Lord?” she quickly responded that she was an atheist.
Now Stanhope has started a crowd fund campaign to raise money to help her and is calling on all atheists to get involved saying: “It’s important that our community shows that we have your back when you come out publicly as an atheist. Let’s get this courageous woman and her family back in their own home…”
The campaign is hilarious. Where else can you buy a phone call from God or access God’s planbook. It’s already raised over $100,000 and is showing no signs of stopping.
Many years ago I used to be an Estate Agent. Woe is me. One Saturday afternoon (Feb 13th) I was showing a girl around 4 properties. I was really trying to sell one of them to her, but with each one she seemed less and less interested. I wasn’t too disheartened as, despite my lack of interest in work and general incompetence I wasn’t too bad at the Estate Agency lark. I had saved the best place til last and as I let us into the house I informed her the truth that the owner had moved away and so wanted a quick sale.
“So no one is living here?” she asked. It’s a normal question for a first time buyer and I was able to confirm.
“That is right” She went through to the kitchen and started opening cupboards. I thought she was checking the actual kitchen units, but then she found what she was looking for, the Drinks cupboard. She pulled out a six pack of lager, she opened one, handed me the other and popped the remaining 4 in the freezer.
“Um ah” I stammered…. to which she replied “Get it down you”
And so I did… Long story short we moved in right then, she had the most comprehensive viewing of the property possible and we drank the house dry throughout valentines day. We even emptied the poor man’s freezer of his ready meals.
On Monday morning we both left for our respective places of work, in the same clothes we had been wearing on Sat…
This did not help when it turned out that the bosses secretary lived in the same estate as the house we had on the market. They didn’t believe whatever lame excuse I came up with to explain why my car was parked outside the house all weekend and I didn’t remain an Estate Agent for much longer! Oh and the viewer never did buy a house.
Happy Valentines Day to you all.
This is how Raining Blood should be played. Death to False Metal, Death to Metal, Death to Slayer, Long live Disco. Reign in Disco. Do not adjust your sets, there is no such thing as normal service, the rules are there are no rules. We are all an illusion…
This is a guest post from Australian comedian Jimbo explaining his recent brush with the law over his best mate Gary The Goat eating some grass in the park
Gary The Goat and I went to court last week. Despite dressing up in his best hat and bow tie, Gary was denied his day in court and forced to sit outside, so he has asked me to explain the full story of what went on inside.
We won we are over the moon, however behind the story about a cute Goat in a rainbow hat who was wrongly accused of eating flowers, there are some genuinely worrying issues including:
- The waste of so much Police and Court time and resources to fight a ridiculous case based on a technicality, instead of following common sense
- Misleading public statements from the Police both before and after the case that were seemingly designed to influence the media and discredit our case
- Other dubious police tactics that left us wondering what would it be like to defend a serious charge
HERE IS THE FULL STORY
Back in August 2012 the Rocks Police detained us for two hours while they tried to decide what laws we had broken for having a goat in a park in Sydney. They released us without Charge. The Sydney Telegraph were there the whole time and reported on the incident.
Two months later I received a fine through the post for $440 with the charge of “Damaging vegetation without authority”. Gary was blamed for eating vegetation and I was charged for letting him do it. When you get a fine for a goat eating a bit of grass there is certainly something wrong, so I decided to contest the fine. The police in their wisdom decided to push back and a court date was set for Jan 2013. This put me in a bit of a predicament. My girlfriend in India would be 8 months pregnant by then and fast approaching the drop zone. So I wrote a letter to the Commander of the Rocks police station suggesting that the court case was dropped. I didn’t mention the pregnancy, instead I pointed out that it was going to be a huge waste of police and court time. (Something that the courts later agreed with when they dismissed the case). I also warned the police that if they took the case to court it is very likely it would create a tabloid frenzy of bad press for them while at the same time promoting my comedy career and Gary’s TV career.
Gary first put it up on his page as a simple update to 700 followers. The post then went viral to a third of a million people making it a public issue which the police decided that they couldn’t ignore. But instead of bowing to strong public opinion and commonsense in order to save face with a display of humility , they decided to raise the stakes.
The Commander of the Rocks Police Station fired up his lap top and posted on a police facebook page in an attempt to discredit our side of the story (namely that Gary was only eating grass and some bush). He began by stating that he would not be able to discuss details of the impending case and then proceeded to do exactly that. He publically stated that Gary was eating council flowers and destroying plants which he claimed subsequently needed to be replaced at significant public expense. This was simply not true. He also asked the public to reserve judgement on our side of the story until the ‘truth’ came out in court.
The police won a small PR battle here (but of course we won the war). From then on media reports (which ultimately went all around the world) described Gary as a goat that had eaten council planted flowers.. In court the Police were unable to produce any evidence that could back this up. Whereas we had witnesses, including the Sydney Telegraph that were able to attest to it not happening.
As it turned out, (to the dismay of the cops),the public didn’t care even if they thought Gary did eat some council flowers. People were quite rightly more concerned with the amount of resources the police were putting into pursuing such a trivial matter. Especially against the amount of serious crimes that are either going unsolved or let off on technicalities once they get to court.
When you look at the evidence that the police had against us it is baffling to understand why they thought they had a case at all. But they really tried! Prior to court a document of over 200 pages was delivered to us by 4 police officers! It must have taken an age to prepare because it took Gary nearly a whole day to eat it all. Fortunately they also send a copy to our lawyer. When he cut through all the legalese and filler in the brief, as well as a meaningless photograph of a fully intact flower bed taken nearly four months after the event, it turned out that the only evidence they had against me were two police statements:-
- One policeman claimed in court that he’d seen Gary eat ONE green bud which may have later turned into a flower.
- There was one other police offer’s eyewitness account in the document which did claim to have seen Gary eating flowers… But despite being legally subpoenaed, this police officer was apparently unable to attend as she was in Queensland doing more important police work?
Our lawyer was looking forward to grill the absent witness, knowing that she would be fully exposed up there with no corroborating police backup and strong contradicting evidence.
The one strength the police had was that they had drafted in their top prosecutor, who despite the woeful lack of evidence, fought like a cornered rat for two hours, disputing everything on technicalities.
In the end the case was dismissed simply due to the police not being able to prove that I had ‘intent’ to damage vegetation by taking Gary to the park. Some very dubious police tactics had denied us a full judgement due to a technicality. And so despite the police offering no prima facia evidence for what they accused us of the magistrates were unable to award court costs. It seems that Gary will have to mow our lawyers lawn for the next 10 years in order to pay him back!
One of the biggest shocks came after the case when we heard that the NSW assistant police commissioner had continued to lamely peddle the line that Gary ate flowers on Ray Hadlee’s 2UE radio show last Thursday on the morning. Again this was AFTER the police couldn’t come up with any evidence for these claims in court.
Of course we won, we got off, we walked free and we are proud of the fact that our story ended up being a genuinely amusing newsfeed that bought smiles to people’s faces right around the globe. (It was even a big news story in Nigeria – unless that email was just a scam).
BUT all of this makes you think what would it be like to be on the end of this public police slander/libel (and subsequent cover up) for a charge that was serious? Particularly on an issue that was in the media and didn’t have public support. And how could you possibly defend yourself in that situation given that the police have the choice of not letting the truth come out in court via excuse notes to not be there when the defendant has no such option?
Our friend filmaker and comedian Bob Slayer has filmed it all and is currently producing a documentary in association with Brown Eyed Boy Productions. Im now in India and Gary is taking a break on Maggi’s farm. We will be back on the road in 3 months time. If you have a gig or other offer for us then drop us a line jimbo @jimbo.com.au
“Gary The Goat is innocent”
Australian Comedian Jimbo Bazoobi and his best mate Gary The Goat are all over the world media today. Their fine of $440, imposed when Gary was caught by police eating grass in a park outside Sydney Museum of Culture, was dropped and the charges of “Destruction of Vegetation” thrown out of court….
The conclusion of this case means that we can now go into post production on a documentary that I have been making (with assistance from Brown Eyed Boy productions), about touring with Jimbo last year. There are many stories that can be told here. One angle is a cute goat tale, another is all about A Billy Goat standing up against the Nanny State and then a third is how inspiring people like Jimbo are for the world of comedy…
As the top earners in Comedy are able to turn over staggering amounts of money so the industry seems to increasingly resemble a conveyor belt, churning out the next identikit pretty boy or girl in skinny jeans that will hopefully make themselves and importantly their agents, managers and promoters the big cash… The path is clearly laid out and all acts need to is line up and attempt to jump through the right hoops in order to progress along it. From comedy competitions to TV panel shows, TV presenting, their own TV vehicle, arena gigs and then a DVD and book out at Christmas. There are of course interesting acts that can fit alongside the mainstream and retain their own identity. Stewart Lee has brilliantly made this position his own. Tony Law, Dr Brown, Paul Foot are all acts that are increasingly embraced by the industry whilst retaining their own very distinctive style.
But what about acts that are not quite so readily accepted? I believe that Jimbo, just like Kunt and The Gang (the mastermind behind Cockgate) before him, is one of the true unsung Heroes of Comedy and a real inspiration. Having spent years on the fringes of the industry forging his own path, it is great to see nearly 10,000 recent results for his name on Google News. Jimbo really deserves the break that this will hopefully bring him but the important thing is that whatever happens, if he decides to embrace the industry or if he elects to carry on doing his own thing, he can make these decisions on his own terms.
Eight years ago when Jimbo was told not to tell one of his jokes at Sydney Comedy Store, he asked if anyone had complained about it the night before. Apparently no one had but the fear was there that they might do. Jimbo ignored his would be censor and opened that night by saying “I have been told not to do a particular joke because it might offend, but I think you should be the judge of that…” and went on to deliver the joke in question. The gag addressed the sensitive subject of sexism, but it did so from the right perspective and importantly it was funny. No one complained, but still he got banned.
Jimbo took this as an opportunity, he slung all his possessions in the back of a ute that he had converted to run on vegetable oil and he drove around the outback putting on uncensored gigs in small country town pubs. Touring with Jimbo in mining towns, farm towns, sheep stations, I have seen him handle some of the most difficult Comedy audiences imaginable and yet end the night smiling having given them all a great night out. He has filth and shock in his arsenal but behind that there is also an extremely high level of skill and a brain that is quite simply hardwired for comedy.
When in most comedy rooms, for example, you stand up and do material that points out that racism is perhaps not the greatest idea in the world then you can expect to get the support from the audience, who you can be pretty sure will agree with you. But really this is shooting fish in a barrel. How many acts that do jokes on these subjects could go into a room that made the Klu Klux Klan seem a moderate organisation and not only make them laugh, but also actually get them to think about their world view? That is exactly what I saw Jimbo achieve.
In one particular Outback gig that Jimbo and I did together a woman told me how proud she was that her family had “driven the Abbos over the cliffs…” There are not many things more shocking than when someone casually shares their racism with you in a way that indicates they just expect you to agree. That night Jimbo decided it was the right room to tell his ‘award winning Aboriginal joke’. If he told you the joke you might not laugh. Like a lot of race jokes it is only funny if you are racist. But unlike these jokes Jimbo’s is not in itself racist. It is in fact the exact opposite. Let me explain…
Jimbo sets up the gag by telling the audience that Australia should be worried about the Chinese invading Australia in order to exploit the countries natural resources. They would be likely to try and use the local population to do all the work down the mines. The sort of audience Jimbo would deliver this joke in front of would get riled up.
“But you wouldn’t stand for that would you?” he asks them
“No..” a few reply
“You wouldn’t work for foreigners who have taken over your country would you?”
“No…” more of them reply
You see this is why Jimbo wouldn’t tell you this joke. You are educated people and you are quite rightly wondering where this is going. But Jimbo knows his audience.
“Exactly” he continues “We would tell them wouldn’t we? – fuck you… you have taken over our country and we are not going to be your slaves… We would rather sit in the sun drinking piss all day than work for you…”
“Too right Jimbo!” they agree
Then just when it seems like Jimbo is kicking off some sort of unsavory rally, he delivers the twist.
“And then we are going to sit in the park having our first swig and we are going to look at the Aboriginal guy next to us and we are going to say – Crikey, Mate I think that maybe I might just know where you are coming from brother…”
And you know what happens, people think about it, they laugh and some of them agree with Jimbo. He has a variety of different toppers that invariably sends the reaction into applause. He has genuinely managed to get a bunch of people to look at their fellow countrymen in a way that they have probably never done before.
I once explained Jimbo’s joke to another comedian who is currently doing a whole show based on race. He looked at me disappointed and just said “I wish I had thought of that…” But I just don’t think he could have done. Because he performs comedy in the safe bubble created around the industry. I like to think that he realised that preaching to the converted is one thing, but actually going out and making a racist laugh in a positive way about race issues is a whole different thing and is truly powerful.
People like Jimbo are undercover superheroes trying to put the world to rights and I think that the Comedy Industry would be a much better place if they realised that.
Bob Slayer is currently taking applications for acts to perform at HEROES of FRINGE, his venues at Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the new name for Alternative Fringe). See here www.heroesof.com
People often look at me and say “aren’t you too tall to be a jockey”. I know that they mean “too fat” but are just being polite. Mind you most peoples idea of a jockey are the little buggers who ride on the flat. But Jump jockeys ride older horses and the weights carried are higher. A jump jockey needs to be around 10 stone or 140lbs. I was that when I was 16. Later I rode in point to points and you can be around 12 stone or 168lbs. I went running in bin bags, spend hours in saunas and took laxatives so I could be that on race day. I kept it up until I was 21 then I gave up racing and took to beer and pies. Just like Claire Balding, who I rode against one, we gave up because we got too heavy and we just kept growing!
Here is a little story about a race I was in:-
I once got a spare ride, which usually meant that some other jockey must have fallen off and injured himself in the race before. When this happens all you have got time to do is find the owners silks, get your saddle ready and sit on the scales with it at the right weight, then you hand it to the trainer who will go stick it on the horse. My last minute pre-race routine was wanting to take a piss through nerves but usually being too dehydrated due to extreme dieting for the last week that all that would come out was a dribble of acid that brought tears to my eyes. So when I walked out into the paddock at Upton on Severn that day it was the first time I had seen Space Sovereign. Each horse has its own quirks and abilities and I knew nothing about this one at all.
As I was legged into the saddle Clive the trainer’s instructions were to ‘Keep it in the Van’. I had no idea what he meant. There was a window of opportunity to admit this and ask for clarification but in thinking about what he might mean so as not look ignorant the horse had skipped away and I missed this window. I was led out onto the course by the stable girl. I fancied her too much to admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I thought about it as I cantered down to the start. Well I would normally canter down, but this horse had other ideas and we flew down. I steered him towards a tree to slow him down and get him under control. A dangerous move but fortunately it worked. I decided that the trainer meant keep it in the back of the van i.e. with the doors shut and keep it covered up… That made perfect sense to me, I had only been sat on this horse 5 minutes and had already sussed out that it was more than a little mad so having other horses around it to guide it would make sense.
So we all let our mounts have a look at the first fence, we get our girths checked by the starter and his assistant, we then line up as best we can. Jockeys start shouting “yes sir” or “no sir” depending on if they are ready to go. I have no idea if I am ready or not so keep quiet. The starter man drops his flag and the race is started. At this point I would find any nerves I had before the race would disappear. You are travelling towards a fence at around 30mph on a two ton horse, it’s too late for nerves! Adrenaline kicks in and you just go with it. I’m in mid-division intent on following instructions, but this horse had other ideas, he’s seen the first fence and is just accelerating into it, (Oh i nearly forgot you have to tell a racing story in present tense, it is just the racing way! preferably in an Irish accent and making jockey movements as you tell it). Fortunately he meets the fence spot on and sails over it. He’s doing the same thing at each fence. He is jumping so well that we are soon in the front. So between the fences I hook him back into the back of the van. Only for him to jump into the front again.
My dad is watching the race stood near the trainer who he told me afterwards was swearing and cursing me at the top of his voice. “What is that fxxxing idiot doing I told him to keep it in the Van!” Now my dad, like most racing folk is familiar with this phrase. It is short for Vanguard. i.e. keep it in the front and make the running. Woops! I had correctly assessed that this horse was not all there but what they had found out was that if you had him in the pack then he was prone to rushing his fences and was likely to fall. No shit Sherlock I am having the most hairy ride of my career. It turns out this was the horses third race and he had already put two jockeys in hospital. The jockey who was supposed to ride it in this race had not been injured in the race before, he had just got to the course and found out the horses reputation and turned down the ride. Space Sovereign sees another fence, sets his jaw and just launches at it, taking off almost a stride early but somehow making it over the fences. I think he met every fence right through pure luck that day and ignorant of this I start enjoying myself. As we go past the stands I think we are going so well that this can’t be the last lap. So I ask the other jockeys alongside me, Michael Hammond, if we really are on the last lap. He is scrubbing his horse along just to try and keep in contention and seeing me sat there with a double handful he decides that I am taking the piss calls me a Prick! Fortunately I hear the commentary by Edward Dingle “As they stream past us for the final time Space Sovereign is travelling really well under…” and I am sure that we are on the last lap. All down the back straight I struggle to stop us going into the lead. I even hook him back when we jump into the lead over the third last!
When he jumps into the lead going over the last, I let his head go for the first time in the race and fortunately we win quite comfortably by a few lengths. My dad runs down to meet me on the course and has the opportunity for one quick sentence to fill me in on what has happened just before the stable girl arrives to lead the horse in. He managed to say ‘Clive thinks you’re an idiot you were supposed to keep it in the Van’. I then had a minute or two to decipher this before I get to the winners enclosure. I have won the race but I know that somehow I was in the wrong van?! As the horse is led up to a sign that says First I jump off and begin to remove my saddle. Clive puts a strong hand on my shoulder “Well done but what the fuck were you doing?” to which I simply reply “Oh I am just going down to the start and he is heading straight for this tree so I just get this feeling that he needs a different challenge today…” The course photographer asks us to pose for photos and I leave this ludicrous explanation hanging in the air…
I think Clive the trainer thought I was a proper horseman for a while… The form book did too and said “Given a masterly ride by the brave and underused…” Christ! maybe even I started to believe that I was a proper jockey. Well that was until I rode the horse again, he didn’t have the same luck that day, he charged through the first two fences taking out big chunks of birch. I sat right back to avoid falling off. He then surprised me by jumping the third fence really well like he had done that day at Upton, in fact he surprised me so much that I fell off, broke my collar bone and was out for the last couple of weeks of the season! The formbook that day just had the embarrassing phrase that all jockeys want to avoid “Unseated Rider”.
The other night I was walking to catch a nightbus and I overheard a couple – she was getting cross with him saying: “you cant just piss in the street” – that made me realise that I also needed a little toilet relief so I said: “here if we both wazz over the door of starbucks then it isn’t disgusting, it is an artful protest against their evil unfair trade coffee!” And so that is what we did. As we began to hose down starbucks she walked off in disgust but then other people gathered around and I told them why we were doing it and another man joined in… We even crossed beams in an attempt to bring down capitalism. It was a lovely moment. And then when we were finished this blokes lady came back and she told him she was very proud of him. We bid each other goodnight and I like to think that they went home to have great sex that night…
I just had a charity knocker on my door. I like it when I can get accents right and so did she when I told her she was from Hull within two sentences. It broke the ice and it was cold on the doorstep so I invited her in. As she walked into the kitchen I waved a knife at her for a laugh, luckily she saw the funny side.
Vicky from Hull started to tell me that she wanted me to donate some money to dead kids or something in the form of tax relief from my income. I said that I would love to but pointed out that the big flaw in that plan would be that just like Jimmy Carr I don’t pay tax… she frowned at me and so I pointed out that the difference between me and evil Jimmy Carr is that the tax plan my accountant has set me up with is much less complicated, he said my circumstances were perfect for avoiding tax and that I didn’t need to change in order to take advantage. It seems that my non-payment of tax loophole is based on not earning enough money…
I offered the charity lady a cup of tea, but she had a look at the pile of dirty cups on the side and declined. It was nice to have some human interaction. I was going to go to the shops today but maybe I will save that for tomorrow now.
This has been shortlisted for some film competition
I filmed it with many broken bones just like Steve Austin
I would like to publicly give my support the campaign to stop Comedians using Rape Jokes. http://rapeisnojoke.com/
Here! here! Lets stand up and see who is the most ‘right-on’. Who can stir up the most hatred towards anyone who is spreading hate. Let’s smash through irony into a whole new playing field…
What Comedy needs is more rules and regulations and now I have given up the whole agitant business I can put my full, not inconsiderable weight, behind this petition to stop comedians telling rape jokes. I hope this can lead to the banning of jokes from a list of other subjects which includes murder jokes, incest jokes, adultery jokes, jokes about speech impediments, Jehovah’s witnesses and rabbits (rampant or otherwise).
Of course all of this will require a comedy police force to ensure that these rules are adhered to. The role will involve vetting every comedian before they even do their first open mic gig. If they are deemed ‘officially funny’ then they will be awarded with a provisional license to perform clean pre-approved jokes. They can then work towards proving they are capable of a full comedy license to make up their own jokes. It is only in this way that we can educate and control the hate mongering that is spread in comedy clubs up and down the country every day…
A comedian license would work along similar lines to the one employed for buskers on the London Underground whereby anyone who was homeless and looked like they were only busking in order to keep in the dry was driven outside to think about their lives while they slowly died of cold. Thankfully they were then replaced by college students and trustafarians who had achieved at least grade 4 on their chosen instrument. These approved buskers were then given a laminated badge and allowed to entertain commuters with officially sanctioned playlists…
I look forward to comedy being ordered in the same way
This first appeared on John Fleming’s Blog after The Scotsman who commissioned it and approved it mysteriously changed their mind
Edinburgh Fringe’s magnificent choice of shows comes along with a rainforest of media and PR which aims to persuade us to see this show or that. Of course we all ignore that nonsense and seek out shows based on friends’ recommendations, reviews or other factors such as venue or price.
Surely the better shows are in the bigger venues and a £15 show will outshine one that is £5 or Free? You would think so wouldn’t you? Well maybe we should have a look at how the Fringe really works.
Understanding the Fringe means knowing who actually pays for it. Promoters? Venues? Some all-powerful Fringe body? All of those will make money but actually the Fringe is mostly paid for by performers (who generally don’t make money!). Really? Yes, Really!
The open-access policy means that anyone can perform at the Fringe so long as you can find a venue. Demand to perform at the commercial venues is high and they have evolved a selection criteria that sets a minimum number of tickets that shows must sell, then charges them for those tickets before the festival even starts. Now it doesn’t really matter for the venues if tickets sell or not as they have already covered all their costs.
Performing at a 100 capacity pay-to-play room will cost an act a minimum of £160 per day or £4,000 for the whole Fringe. Ticket income is then split 60/40 but the venue applies such a myriad of deductions that shows are unlikely to ever cover what they have already shelled out. The venue is the only one guaranteed to make money in this relationship. Also with 10 shows programmed into each performance space it could generate the venue around £1,600 every day, or £40,000 for the whole Fringe. The commercial pay-to-play promoters have 65 performance spaces between them with an average capacity of 150 which means they’re charging performers nearly £4 million to pay for the Fringe, most of whom simply won’t make this money back.
Crikey! I want to run a venue! Oh, hang on, I do run a venue! The Alternative Fringe @ The Hive is in its second year, but we aren’t charging artists these sort of fees. In fact, we aren’t charging artists anything up front at all. Why? Well these crazy pay-to-play Fringe economics get worse.
Competition is so fierce for spaces in pay-to-play venues that, unless you have a full marketing campaign, then you are unlikely to get selected. This has led the average cost of putting on a Fringe show to be around £14,000. You can be the best show on the Fringe but if you haven’t got the cash then you are unlikely to be in the Assembly, Pleasance, Underbelly, Gilded Balloon or Just the Tonic. Conversely, if you wave enough money at them then they will probably find you a space somewhere.
So who ends up paying for these imposed costs? You the consumer of course. Just to stand a chance of breaking even, most shows need to charge at least £10. Even when you are paying £15 or £20 for a ticket, it is very unlikely the performer will see anything. It’s all being spent on that same marketing that you aim to ignore all month. It’s a myth that ticket prices reflect what the show is worth: they are dictated by what costs have been imposed on the show by an industry that has gone ever so slightly mad.
Some performers may still want the bragging rights of having played certain pay-to-play venues, but for how much longer? If you were a smart, funny, interesting act and you had a choice between spending thousands and risk not seeing a penny in return… or being part of a fun environment where you will be treated fairly, where would you decide to put on your show?
Change is inevitable.
The Alternative Fringe adopt a model similar to The Stand, who have been promoting some of the best, most affordable shows for years. We do not charge artists guarantees, rent or other hidden fees (Alternative Fringe earns £1 from each ticket sold). If we don’t sell tickets then we don’t get paid, which means we select shows purely on quality. As we are paying for the marketing ourselves, we are careful not to waste our money. These savings get passed on to the punter through cheaper tickets – £5 per show or £12 to see four shows (one pay).
Most importantly Alternative Fringe performers do not have to worry about getting into debt. When you buy a £5 ticket the performer is always seeing a healthy cut so you know that they are happy… It’s ironic that the pay-to-play mainstream comedy has been sponsored by a marketing led commercial beer, whereas the Alternative Fringe has been sponsored by Scottish Borders Brewery who produce individual real beers with care, building their business through word of mouth for a quality product.
“The pay-to-play venues have their commercial festival, but we are making a stand to Reclaim the Fringe!”
I bumped into Harry Deansway at Edinburgh Fringe and he said
“C’mere let’s go see Jimmy Cricket on the BBC live comedy marathon…”
It seemed like a right proper laugh
So we texted someone and they replied and said
“OK, what time are you on?”
What time are we on? Well that seemed like a good idea!
And there’s more…
After a few more drinks in Bannerman’s we found some marker pens and card and we had our “The Fringe is Dead” and “Long Live The Fringe” protest sorted…
Unfortunately we couldn’t source any live Chickens which would have been nice.
Harry said we were doing a very serious protest in the name of the Spirit of The Fringe.
I agreed and added that we were also protesting the lack of protest at the Fringe.
Some of the Audience thought we were protesting Pussy Riot… We will have that too…
And many others were so pissed it just woke them up… only to throw up…
It was a right good chuckle, happy if it stirs up some more interesting debate, although really the main thing it is likely to do is send Mr Spank to my Botty Land…
Andrew Maxwell’s response is our favourite… x
Some images of Harry and I with our signs here