What do you think of critics? | Now it's Edinburgh Fringe comedians turn to dole out their opinions

What do you think of critics?

Now it's Edinburgh Fringe comedians turn to dole out their opinions

Bear in mind we asked this question BEFORE the Fringe, so opinions might have changed now the reviews have come in!

They're hit and miss, some are really insightful and interesting to read. Even if you don't agree, you can see their reasoning and logic. Others, however, can be completely useless and make the review more of an unsupported attack, or even appraisal.
Andrew White: It Was Funnier In My Head, Laughing Horse @ Southside Social, 17:00

It's an odd thing, really. I worry sometimes that it might be difficult to enjoy a show when you're scanning for things that might be wrong with it.
Laura Davis: Cake in the Rain, Underbelly Med Quad, 20:10

We like critics. We've always really liked critics. The scene is definitely overcrowded and there are a lot of people doing it who don't have the authority but a good reviewer does a lot for the whole community, and the artist. It's nice to have an informed opinion but from someone who knows what they're doing on the outside.
Zach & Viggo: Dream Team, Underbelly Cowgate, 21:30

I think we have a fairly healthy adversarial attitude to one another and it absolutely should be that way. While I'm always on the comics' side of our respective teams, I've born witness to some properly narcissistic performances and begrudgingly thought,’This guy needs a Copsticking or a damn good Bennetting.’ Alternatively, whilst everybody talks about the comedian ego and how out of control it gets come festival time, that ego still gets checked absolutely every time a joke doesn't work. I'm not so sure the critical ego gets anywhere near as beaten up and it probably should. (Here's a little clue though: If, as a comedy writer, you use the following formula in any review: ‘Some said of this show ____ whereas I FOUND it to be____’ Just a teensy bit of an ego check might be in order. You haven't discovered anything nor is anybody's interpretation of a frikken comedy show all that special or unique) But I think the one bit of schadenfreude that performers and full time comedy writers share is year in year out when that brand new delusional self-appointed ‘acerbic wit’ pops up and tries to establish themselves by hatchet-jobbing an act that the industry absolutely knows is a great comic. (And there are multiple wannabes every year) And together we all snicker, ‘Well that you've just embarrassed yourself. Good luck with anyone ever asking you for your opinion again.’
Brendon Burns, Race Off, Gilded Balloon, 18:45

I can only manage watching about 40 minutes of other people doing comedy. They do eight hours a day for a month. They are heroic idiots.
Geoff Norcott: Right Leaning but Well Meaning, Underbelly George Square, 18:40

That usually depends on the review I get and ranges from 'don't know what they're talking about and who are they to judge' to 'absolute legends who have got it spot on'.
Ian Smith: Snowflake, Underbelly Med Quad, 17:15

One Saturday night while performing a sold-out, well reviewed Main Company sketch show at the Groundlings in Los Angeles (my home town and home theatre) I was convinced a man in the front row was a critic. (We were told one was coming). While peeking from backstage, I watched him between sketches. He seemed to be making a face through the entire first act that looked confused and unhappy; squinting even. I told everyone back stage we were about to get a real sh*t review. I had the sketch right before intermission so I watched him as the house lights came up. I was thinking: ‘Okay guy who seems to hate us, let's see who you really are in full light!' Cut to him taking a collapsible walking stick from his lap and being escorted with the gorgeous woman next to him. Yeah, he was visually impaired and not the critic at all. Me = Super huge asshole.
Annie Sertich: How To Not Kill Yourself For 30 Days... And The Next 330, Pleasance Courtyard, 20:30

Critics are like chatting up someone in a bar. You try really hard to get their attention, you use all your best lines on them, and you try and convince them you are the one for them. Sometimes their reaction is positive, but most of the time you end up with a ‘you’re not my type’ or even worse a (figurative) slap in the face.
Bright Lights, Big City Impro, Laughing Horse @ Moriarty’s, 15:45

I think it's an impossible job. To really review a show that's performed live you have to see it at least twice. The audience and atmosphere have so much to do with a live show that if you only see it once you're not reviewing the show, you're reviewing the night.
Chris Betts: Bewilderbeest, Pleasance Courtyard, 21:45

They perform a vital task and don't receive the thanks they deserve. I think critics should be harsher, especially with new act competitions. Nobody wants to read a 3-star review.
Leo Kearse: I Can Make You Tory, Laughing Horse @ Free Sisters, 19:30

I like to Google the person who reviewed me. The weirdest one was a chef and the second weirdest one was a jazz musician (I think he might have gone to a different kind of improv show that he was expecting).
Katy Schutte: Schutte The Unromantic, Counting House, 22:15

I think criticism has a valuable place in any art form but the vast, vast majority of comedy reviewers have absolutely no business commenting on something they so clearly don't understand.
Popular Comedian Rob Mulholland, Just The Tonic @ The Caves, 20:00

Much like football referees, they do their job best when they leave their ego at the door, reward positive play and let the game of comedy flow freely.
Ben Van Der Velde: Sidekick, Espionage, 20:45

Since I stopped reading reviews about five years ago, my opinion of them has risen. They do what they do and we do what we do and that works for me. The problems arise when comedians read them and get angry thus creating a situation where it feels like two sets of enemies. I don't think reviews are for us comedians to read. The reviewer is an audience member who is reporting their opinion back to potential audiences as to what they may be in store for. That's cool with me.
Carl Donnelly: The Nutter On The Bus, Heroes @ Bob's Blundabus, 19:30

They’re the press. It’s their job to keep us on our toes. It’s natural for us to dislike them because of it. I think they’re a bunch of smug, entitled and over-important audience members.
Radi Isac: One Romanian Answering Questions, The Cellar Monkey, 15:45

Well some of them are shitbags and some of them actually love comedy and feel emotions so that's something. I think it's hard to be liked as a critic as you are essentially pulling apart shows all day but some people do that more constructively than others.
Samantha Baines: 1 Woman, a High-Flyer and a Flat Bottom, Pleasance Courtyard, 15:30

They are sound, critics are part of the fringe. Just wish they wouldn't come into the artist bars. Nothing worse than getting a beer and wanting to relax with my pals before looking over and seeing the mug who slagged off my show that I've spent the last six months of my life on
Elliot Steel: Near Life Experience, Gilded Balloon Wee Room 20:15

Here's my excellent proposed new idea, if you (a critic) loved a show - give it 5 stars if you didn't don't say anything. I think it would sort out a lot of issues and would give critics some free time for some crazy golf! Crazy Golf is loads of fun.
Jayde Adams: Jayded, Pleasance Courtyard, 21:30

We don't think about critics.
Markus Birdman's Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea, Laughing Horse @ Bar 50

Published: 20 Aug 2017

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