'Some reviewers clearly don't like comedy' | The Big Ask: What do you think of critics?

'Some reviewers clearly don't like comedy'

The Big Ask: What do you think of critics?

I don't think of critics. Mat Ricardo, Mat Ricardo vs The World, City Cafe, 12:30

They have some acts to grind. Darren Walsh, Darren Walsh: Massive Punt, Just The Tonic: Little Kirk, 18:00

Man we're cool with critics. Like everything, some are really good and some are really bad, you just have to remember who you're dealing with. Some of our best reviews have been our 'worst' reviews because they've given us really good creative direction/advice. Zach & Viggo and Thumpasaurus, Where Does The Love Go?, Underbelly Cowgate, 21:20

I love them, they've never said a bad word about me. Mind you this is my Fringe debut so that could change. Jeremy Nicholas, Jeremy Nicholas - After Dinner Stories From My Disastrous Broadcasting Career, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 13:30

Critics are generally comedy fans who are expressing their opinions, which is fine, and they often help people's interest in comedy. However, some critics clearly don't actually like comedy, you can smell it a mile off, and they can do one. Also, review shows - not press releases, venues, timeslots and audience sizes. Alexander Bennett, Housewives' Favourite, Waverley Bar, 19:30

I like them as much as they like me. Luca Cupani, Luca Cupani: God Digger, Underbelly: George Square, 17:20

Seriously, I love critics. Even the imbeciles with poor taste and bad grammar. We have a symbiotic relationship so we need mutual respect and open communication so we remember we are human beings. Even the total idiots. Nathan Lang, The Stuntman, Just The Tonic @ The Caves, 14:45

I think that they're people, too, with the same strengths and the same fallibility as the rest of us. Ideally, they serve as a conduit between artist and public, enabling the latter to find the former without a lot of tedious trial and error. You just want a critic to know what they're talking about and to have tried to understand the show on its own terms. It's very frustrating when a review is full of inaccuracies, when it gives away jokes, when it reveals the critic's prejudices and has little to do with how the audience will see it. As a performer it's best not to peg your happiness to all that, really. As Sibelius said: 'A statue has never been set up in honour of a critic.' Kieran Hodgson, Kieran Hodgson: '75, Pleasance Beneath, 20:15

If they'd had more love growing up they wouldn't be critics. Sheraz Yousaf, The Pursuit of Manly-ness, 20:00

I think they should be kinder - while their job is to critique, they should take in the ultimate subjectivity of their own perception and vision and be less absolute. Most performers are trying their best (most of the time). I wonder if critics would be kinder and more considered if every review they wrote was potentially critiqued by their peers. Barry Ferns, Barry Loves You, The Tron, 21:00

The respected critics have seen so much comedy that they're completely jaded and can't enjoy it any more, like a French aristocrat who has exhausted every form of sexual debauchery and can now only climax from huffing ether and being rubbed with a cheese grater. So they're only going to give stars to shows that break through their deadened emotional carapace and makes them feel something - 'comedians' who recount trauma, cry and don't tell jokes. Most Edinburgh reviewers aren't respected critics though - they're completely inexperienced, in the first year of a media degree and are writing the reviews for course credit. My friend came to Edinburgh and went to see 11 shows last year based on rave reviews and said they were mainly awful. Word of mouth is more important than reviews. Leo Kearse, Right Wing Comedian, Espionage, 19:30

I thought about doing some stand up about critics, but then I thought, no, I shouldn't pass comment on something I've never tried myself. Rob Oldham, Rob Oldham: Worm's Lament, Pleasance Courtyard, 21:30

Love them. A good critic is great to help further you as a performer and the show as a whole. I hate poorly expressed critics... If you write a poor review I am going to start reviewing your review for making me waste my time reading the pile of turd. If you're going to review or critique something at least take the time to do it well, hate it or love it. Aaron Calvert, Declassified, Gilded Balloon at the Museum, 18:00

I'd like also to say that There have been two moments in my life when I knew I was a grownup: When I stopped getting excited about getting mail andwhen I learned to stop reading reviews Sara Barron, For Worse, The Tron, 15:40

They can offer insight to your show. They can provide a lovely warm hug. They can also be a kick up the bum or sand in the face. At the end of the day, they are all human beings reporting their personal opinion of a show. Ell Sachs, The Travelling Sisters: Toupé, Biliard Room - Gilded Balloon Teviot, 18:15

Sometimes I think it must be a hard job, imagine watching comedy and not being able to just relax and enjoy it at face value, it must be terrible. It's just part of the business though I guess. Scott Bennett, Leap Year, Just The Tonic At The Mash House, 17:55

I quite like them, they aren’t wildly different from comics. They are fellow comedy fans who have a large enough ego to think their opinion is worthwhile to write reviews but not quite enough to show off on stage about it. Out of the critics I’ve met so far they have had a higher strike rate of being nice people who are open and welcoming compared to the number of comics I’ve met. However the toxic mix of the open mic circuit and online comedy forums is a potent enough poison to turn the Dhali Lama into an embittered prick, complaining in car-rides that The Stand won’t book him. Struan Logan, Struan All Over the World, Counting House: Attic, 18:05

Good journalism is good journalism. If you can't write and are doing it for freebies fuck off. Che Burnley, Elvis Was Racist?, Bar Basis 21:30

There are roughly three good ones - the rest are just weaponised audience members Pierre Novellie, See Novellie, Hear Novellie, Speak Novellie, Pleasance Courtyard, 19:15

My dream job was to be a music critic for Melody Maker in the 90s, so I hugely respect the form. They used to point you towards new stuff and almost write essays on society. The actual songs were never the main thing. I understand why comedy reviews can't do that, especially during the Fringe when there is so many to be written, but I'd love them to be more than why the shows were good or bad. Lee Kyle, Kicking Potatoes Into The Sea, City Cafe, 10:20

They’re important but I don’t like the star rating system. Damien Warren-Smith, Garry Starr Performs Everything, Underbelly Cowgate, 20:10

Black-hearted parasites sucking on the life blood of the creative arts but quite nice actually if you like, meet them face to face or whatever. William Andrews, Willy, Pleasance Courtyard, 16:45

Having once done some reviewing myself for a theatre blog at the Fringe, where I fell asleep in half the shows I reviewed, I know for an absolute fact that all professional reviewers are complete charlatans. Be especially suspicious of any review that seems particularly lucid on things that actually happened in the show. Those are definitely the ones that were written after a long nap. Luke Rollason, Luke Rollason's Planet Earth, Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, 14:30

I've been a teacher. Teachers are critics. Critics are teachers. Some learning is more painful than others. Sam Fraser, Stand Up, Weather Girl!, Counting House, 19:45

I think there are very few career choices that a comedian can legitimately look down upon. Human statue and comedy critic are two of them. Lloyd Langford, Lloyd Langford: Why The Big Face?, Banshee Labyrinth Cinema Room, 22:00

It pains me to says this after the reviews I've had, but they're usually right. Will Dalrymple, Pity Laughs: A Tale Of Two Gays, Just Up The Stairs @ Just The Tonic, 16:05

I think they should go and get a proper job like us comedians have. Rich Wilson, Still Relevant, Sneaky Pete's, 18:15

A healthy ambivalence Justin Moorhouse, Northern Joker, Gilded Balloon, 19:00

I think they are a really important part of the industry. But it would be great if there were more professional reviewers who covered Edinburgh and fewer... let's say less experienced writers. Richard Soames, Let's Make a Movie, Underbelly - Buttercup, 15:55

Scared of them. Alison Spittle, Worrier Princess, Gilded Balloon Teviot 17:15

Published: 20 Aug 2018

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