Could you have the Edinburgh festival in Glasgow? | Jamie MacDonald's Fringe cringe, binge and whinge

Could you have the Edinburgh festival in Glasgow?

Jamie MacDonald's Fringe cringe, binge and whinge

Jamie MacDonald 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

My cringiest Fringe moment came in 2014 at the mixed-bill gig called Comedy In The Dark. As the name suggests, all acts perform to a live audience in total darkness. God knows why. You'd think being a blind performer I'd have home advantage - but nope, it's the one time I've fallen getting on to stage. All the audience heard was a thump.

A panicked tech flashed the lights on for just long enough for the audience to catch a glimpse of a blind guy getting up, holding his bleeding chin before he flicked them off and I did my set to a room full of confused punters who weren't sure if bleeding blind boy was my act.

Fringe Binge

What I love about the Edinburgh Fringe and what I could binge on forever is that everybody hails me a total workhorse hero for doing 25 shows in a row. The praise I receive from friends and strangers alike for working one hour a day for not quite a month is inexplicably genuine.  

'Do you not get tired?’. ‘Are you not absolutely exhausted by the end of it’. ‘Do you not get any nights off at all?’ The answer to that last one being, ‘Yes, you can have the 2nd Monday or Tuesday off to rest your shattered, 13 hours worked, broken body but I'm not taking that this year as I'm a frickin relentless health-be-dammed Workosaurus!’

I love it. Most folk work at least a 40-hour week for all but six weeks of the year. My wife, who is a surgeon works for about 60 hours a week and is accoladed with nothing, nowt, nada... well, apart from the achievement she must feel from saving all those lives.  

Last Wednesday while covering the emergency work, she put in a 28-hour shift. Three more than I'm doing this whole month.  Did she get a slap on the back from her visiting sister? Nope, she wanted to know if I'd be taking September off after working for, and I worked this out, 3.36 per cent of August. The answer to that is 100 per cent yes, I'll need it to recover!

Fringe  whinge

How can I whinge about the Fringe? I'm too knackered from all the work.

 If forced to come up with something, it would have to be this. The Fringe is arguably the best comedy festival in the world. Hundreds of thousands of punters swarm all over the city to enjoy the best and worst that the comedy community have to offer. International performers from scores of countries descend on the city and shows run pretty much 24/7. Joy and harmony abound.

Friendships are made, careers launched. The city opens its doors and comedy, culture and comradery flourish.

But ask any citizen of Edinburgh what they think of it and they'll say : ‘You couldn't have this in Glasgow, it's too rough, there would be too much trouble.’ Speaking as a proud Weegie: 'Piss off ya smug nob, we wouldn't want it.’

Jamie MacDonald: Reasonably Adjusted  is at Gilded Balloon Teviot at 7.45pm every day of the Fringe. Yes EVERY day. What a hero.

Published: 6 Aug 2022

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