'Edinburgh has the topography of Boris Johnson's polygraph test'

Alex Kealy’s Fringe cringe, binge and whinge

Alex Kealy recalls his most embarrassing Edinburgh experience; what he can't get enough of at the festival; and the worst thing about the Fringe. Apart from the cost of accommodation, obviously...

Fringe cringe

I would never be so un-chic as to be cringe but performing in Belushi’s sportsbar next to Edinburgh Waverley in 2012 was fairly harrowing.

The management wouldn’t turn the TV off in our performance space, although we did achieve a ‘mute’ compromise. This meant for the entirety of the run, our mixed-bill compilation show was competing with whatever was on TV.

Yes, that was the year of the London Olympics so I can’t say my gags in the first 12 months of doing stand-up compared favourably with Andy Murray winning Olympic gold.

Worth putting ‘TVs in the venue switched off’ in the rider and to hell if that’s seen as diva-ish.

Fringe binge

I’m going to see loads of live music because it’s better than comedy*, and every live gig I’ve attended since Covid has blown my mind.

I’m going to Glasgow to watch Pitchfork singer-songwriter darling Torres, and in Edinburgh I’ll watch The Gaslight Anthem and pretend it’s 2007, watch Rage Against The Machine and pretend it’s 1997, watch Beethoven’s Fidelio and pretend it’s 1807.

In previous years, I’ve watched Edinburgh band Meursault’s farewell gig in 2014, and that same band return again in 2018. If LCD Soundsystem can leave and then come back, Scotland’s finest folktronica act can too.

*nuance: every comedian wants to be a musician and every musician wants to be a comedian

Fringe whinge

Blisters. Edinburgh has the topography of Boris Johnson taking a polygraph test and lots of 19th Century cobblestoned streets, and I usually do about four guest spots a day as well as my own solo show which means I walk eight miles a day.

Last time I went up for a full run I had a manic energy that powered me through this, and then at the end of the month looked down at my feet and in quite a detached way noticed: ‘Ah, I seem to have about eight blisters on each foot.’

I’m living further out this year so I imagine the problem will only be worse. I might try to time travel to treat myself to a session with the little fish that nibble your feet that were very in vogue in shopping centres in the late 2000s.

Alex Kealy: Winner Takes All is on at Monkey Barrel at The Hive at 4.15pm

Read More

Published: 10 Aug 2022

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Alex Kealy: The Art of the Keal

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Alex Kealy: A Kealy's Heel

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Alex Kealy: Rationale

Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Alex Kealy: Winner Takes All

Edinburgh Fringe 2024

Alex Kealy: The Fear


We do not currently hold contact details for Alex Kealy's agent. If you are a comic or agent wanting your details to appear here, for a one-off fee of £59, email steve@chortle.co.uk.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.