Hello dear people,
Each year comedians – a lot of them on the dole or gig-economy subsistence – pay more than £3.5 million between them to come to the Edinburgh Fringe. The local council spends this money building unwanted tram stops and raiding saunas, and subsidising the biscuits at the Holyrood canteen.
There are a lot of comedians, so it’s little wonder that a whole profession has grown up around assessing, categorising and rating them each year. Even the most embittered comic would admit that reviewing is, by and large, all part of the Fringe carnival. The problem is that it can make or break their run, so it’s important to know who, exactly, is reviewing comedy today and why we should trust their opinions.
To inspect a nuclear power station you need to have passed some pretty rigorous tests. To inspect Iran for weapons of mass destruction you have to be clever, resourceful and brave. Even an Ofstead inspector needs to prove that they are not rampaging violent perverts before we let them wander around schools assessing children. Of course, analysing comedy is not the same as any of these examples. It is far, far more important.
Comedy is the best thing in the world, and the United Kingdom is the best PLACE in the world because here the comedy flows as freely as our rain and is as essential to our sense of wellbeing. So if we care about our industry, we must care about those who appoint themselves as its quality controllers. And they have ALL, pretty much, appointed themselves.
So Fringepig began in 2014, first as a website reviewing the reviewers. We have now reviewed almost 300 of them. And then we realised we weren’t losing enough money, so we became a magazine, with proper articles and everything. Our intention was to be the only Fringe publication that was CELEBRATING the Fringe rather than moaning at, belittling, second-guessing and otherwise doing down the Fringe. And by ‘the Fringe’ we don’t mean its managers and money men, we mean the performers. The acts. At Fringepig our policy is to criticise and harrangue everything and everyone, but not (if we can help it) the acts.
The acts have got enough to deal with.