Monday, 12 August 2013


Tonight will see a Fringe ambition fulfilled as we host one of our all time favourite gigs; Spank at the Underbelly. James and Leon who founded Spank are old friends and this year are stepping back after ten years of hosting duties to let some acts try and fill their shoes.

We were very honoured to be asked as Spank is not only a Fringe institution, it's a gig we've without exception loved doing and more importantly it's just a f***ing good night. It's late, it's loud, it's rowdy and it usually involves nudity. It's basically our perfect gig.

I remember when we first did Spank in our maiden year at the fringe we were absolutely shitting ourselves and the ten minutes of material that we rattled through like rabbits in headlights passed by in a blur, but actually went really well. Since then we've gigged at Spank and Spanktacular loads of times and tonight's hosting will be the icing on the cake. Let's just hope we don't f*ck it up.

In other news a couple of show tips: having now seen it myself I'd definitely like to echo Rich and Matt's recommendation of Boss of it all at Assembly Roxy. If you're after a bit of theatre you should check this out, it's brilliantly performed and well worth seeing. Also, we just saw Dan Cook's show which was just great, a really really enjoyable show.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Gimp Fan Art.

Hello again.

Lee's just about recovered from his Parkour trauma the other night you'll be pleased to hear.

Since then we've done a couple more nice sold out shows and I've had a few tactical early nights as I try and stave off the dreaded fringe flu, I can feel a sore throat coming on so it's lots of honey and lemon and fisherman's friends for me. Hard core.

Over the last couple of days we've seen some great Gimp fan art on twitter, so I thought I'd share the best ones with you here:

This, from Connor Wallace is a strange but beautiful LNGF wall-clock. Cos it's always Gimp time. (sorry)

And we were contacted by friends of Charlie Tarran, a longtime Gimp fan to ask if we'd sign her Birthday card which we were very happy to do, but we were even happier when we saw they'd made a bespoke Gimp themed Birthday card, and an even more impressive Gimp Cake! They certainly win the award for Gimp fans of the week for this effort:

We're loving the effort guys, so keep it coming. We should probably give an award to the best piece of fan art we see at the Fringe, and put it on our website.

We're now off to remove our gimp masks and don our geek masks, as we perform for an audience of children this afternoon (yes, really) as our alter-egos Late Night Geek Fight at Comedy Club for Kids.

Wish us luck!


Friday, 9 August 2013

'the' night out.


it's happened. every fringe there is one night out that defines the month; that involves either some epic success, failure, alcohol related incident... or all three.

last night was that night.

the evening didn't get off to a great start as we had a very 'difficult' show, shall we say. there were a number of technical and sound problems that threw us and the show suffered a bit as a result, so we were feeling a bit down afterwards and in need of some sorrow drowning.

we started with a few drinks in the pleasance dome before heading over to the three sisters for another gig we were doing at a quarter to one. or so we thought. when we arrived we found out they'd muddled the dates up and we weren't doing the gig until next week. so our spirits raised by the new prospect of a night's uninterrupted drinking ahead meant we headed back to the dome.

now if you know edinburgh, you'll know there's a little underpass on the way to the pleasance dome with two slight sloped walls either side. it looks like this:

obviously, after a few drinks it becomes so much more than an underpass. it becomes a mini parkour playground as you run up the sloped walls giggling like a little child at how much more fun it actually is than it really should be.

and that's when it happened.

lee launched himself up one of the walls with just a bit too much pace and enthusiasm, and not quite enough spatial awareness and smacked the top of his head on the cement ceiling.

we all laughed hysterically, naturally, while lee stumbled around clutching his head and trying to laugh it off. it was only a minute later when he took his hand off his head and saw it had blood on it that our laughter turned to concern (for a minute or so) and we realised he'd actually done some damage to his noggin.

apologies if anyone's squeamish but this was what his head looked like (of course we took photos before seeking medical help- we've got a blog to maintain)...

so we found a first aider in the Pleasance (embarrasingly he's also a colleague of lee's at soho theatre) who checked he wasn't concussed and took him off to clean up the wound.

when lee returned fifteen minutes later it was clear they had literally added insult to injury and dressed the poor guy up like whistler's mother...

the only suitable dressing they had for a head injury was to fashion an arm sling into a rather fetching bonnet to keep the pressure on the wound and more importantly, make lee look ridiculous for the rest of the night.

after all that we decided that we definitely needed another stiff drink so we headed to abattoir bar and then the assembly loft bar and crawled home at gone five this morning.

so you can guess how fresh we felt when we went for lunch just now with our agents and all their other acts... not our finest hour.

the good news is lee's fine and (after a nap) we'll all be raring to go again tonight. we just may lay off the parkour for a while....

Thursday, 8 August 2013


The Gimps had an unusually productive day today. We were up before ten which is unheard of at the fringe. Richard and Lee had even got up to do their insanity workout at 9.30.

We took delivery of our brand new T'shirts, which look like this...

Then headed out to see some shows. Matt and I saw some phsyical theatre: Gecko's Missing which was very impressive, then we all saw the Young Pleasance's excellent show Rites. Such a well performed show, they're a very talented cast and they really are well worth seeing each year.

We followed that with Boss of it All at Assembly Roxy which was utterly brilliant.

Then we headed home to eat our own bodyweights in Pasta (why? why always before a show? why??) before heading out for a bit of flyering and then the show.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fighting fat.... I mean fit.

Hello everyone,

Richard here and it is time for me to tackle the blog. 

Well, this is now my 6th Edinburgh Fringe and while I have happy memories of seeing superb stand ups, powerful plays and splendid sketch acts, almost all of these memories end with me standing either in Brookes Bar with a pint or in a take-away pondering whether to have salt and sauce. That is why all photos of me taken at the start and end of previous Edinburghs have looked like before and after photos from a diet plan but the wrong way round.

But not this year my friends, oh no! You see, I am getting married at the end of September and I am determined to look suave and chiseled and not pale and podgy. So, I am attempting to do something that has never been done before at the Fringe...leave Edinburgh in better health than when I arrived.

I am very fortunate that Lee has agreed to perform this Herculean task with me and together we are undertaking the INSANITY WORKOUT. Not heard of it? Well, imagine a 2 hour work out taking just 40 minutes with a guy surrounded by very healthy people on a screen shouting at you. It is painful and sweaty and so far Lee and I have done 3 sessions. Are we feeling like we've been beaten up by a gang? Yes. Are we feeling the benefit yet? No. Have we got six-packs? Yes. (One of these is a lie.)

Anyway, we will not stop until we have done all 60 sessions and mark my words, by the end of Edinburgh we will either look bloody good or dead. Keep reading the blog to find out which...

In between breaking a serious sweat, I've managed to see a couple of things and would highly recommend David Baddiel's show Fame and A Play For September.

Right time to see Nick Helm and lift some cars (one of these is a lie)

Bye for now.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Video Blog.

This is the first of many Video Blogs we'll be sharing with you over the course of the next few weeks.

It follows the story of the often traumatic (for Richard) journey up to Edinburgh last week.

Enjoy it here.

Monday, 5 August 2013


'Sup, gimp fans?

Paul here.

Oh dear.

It's begun.

Five days into the Fringe and the air in Gimp Towers is thick with tension.  And the damp from Rich's room after he left his skylight open during a thunderstorm.  But mainly tension.

You see, it all began this morning.  Lee and Rich, in an attempt to get buff this Festival, completed their first Insanity Workout, with Matt and I filming the whole thing (soon to be available for your viewing pleasure on our video blog).  Once the spectacle of watching two very out of shape men attempting squat thrusts and suicide jumps had worn off, Rich decided to call it a day and hit the shower.

And that's where it all kicked off.

You see, a few days ago, Matt noticed the lock on our bathroom door is essentially there for show, meaning any kind of privacy goes out of the window (well, it would do if our bathroom had a window).  This led to him and our now London bound technician Dan developing a process they like to call 'delousing'.  And guess who was their first appointed victim?

That's right.  Yours bloody truly.

I'd like to point out at this juncture that we gimps are, despite impressions, a fairly cleanly bunch, and therefore never been struck down with any kind of lice (well, apart from that time in Galway...) However, once I'd finished my shower, Matt decided to find the oldest, dirtiest broom he could find in our utility room and brush me down with it.  Whilst I was still showering.  Dan then thought it would be a great idea to start throwing sugar over me, to "prevent reinfection" as he called it.  Needless to say another shower was needed.

But the fun didn't stop there, oh no.  The delousing process began again.  In total I had four showers that morning.

Which bring me to this morning.  When Matt and Lee went too far.  And decided to film the delousing process on Richard for the video blog.  Now Richard, as evidenced in his defence of the aforementioned WWE Wrestling title, has the patience of a saint.  However, the prospect of his delousing being made horrifyingly public in the name of fun pushed him over the edge.  The air turned blue.  And tense.  And damp.

So Lee, in an attempt to further wind up poor old Rich, has taken a vow of silence.  And guess who's having to pass messages between the  two parties? You guessed it.  I hope they can resolve their differences before the show tonight...

Speaking of the show, last night went well, a few microphone mishaps notwithstanding, and we had a lovely crowd in - cheers gang! Also we got our first review; four stars from Broadway Baby, which you can read here.

That's all from me.  I'd better go and mediate.

Peace out.

Paul x

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Out and About.

We all got out and about yesterday to see some shows, which was good as it's great to see friends in other shows but also to not be thinking about your own one for a change.

We bumped into Dan Cook of erstwhile sketch group Delete the Banjax who was dressed as our own Matt. Or maybe it's the other way round. We're not sure. Looking forward to seeing his debut solo show this year.

Then in the evening we went out flyering before our show. You might think after five years of doing the fringe we either wouldn't need to, or we'd be too proud to flyer. You'd be wrong on both counts. To tell the truth we quite enjoy our unique style of flyering. People familiar with our technique will know that we take a couple of gimps out on a lead and offer them out to members of the public to do pretty much whatever they want to them, while the other person hands out flyers and tells people about the show.

Lee was on the receiving end of a rather overzealous lady on a Hen night yesterday. She took a pink paddle to him. This wasn't just for the camera either, she really went for it. Lee's cheeks were red raw by the time she'd finished with him. What's worse... he had to sign the paddle she'd used to spank him with afterwards. That's right, she made her victim sign the weapon he'd been beaten with.

Ah. It's good to be back.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

“My wee smells funny…”

These were the words that echoed in my ears as I made my way up the stairs to write this blog. No idea which of the gimps was having urinary issues and nor do I even want to know but suffice to say the Fringe is truly upon us. What was that at the back? How does one survive the fringe in one piece? An excellent question.

First up.

Lots of sleep.

We’re all failing on that part so far. We’ve been out after the show every night and even then, on arriving back at the flat, have sat staring glass eyed at the TV screen playing computer games or watching films. The night before last I watched a film whose title I don’t even know and have no interest in looking up where Dennis Quaid was playing a baseball coach who gets a shot at the Major Leagues. By god it was terrible. Everything about it was awful. Just awful. I watched the whole thing and may have almost cried but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a terrible film. My tears are not a marker of quality. I’ve been known to cry watching Frazier. So good sleep patterns are not being achieved thus far.

Second on the checklist.

Eat well.

The night before last I ate large scampi and large chips at one in the morning.

Last night I ate two battered hamburgers and large chips at one in the morning.

I’ve forgotten what fruit smells like…

Third thing you can try on the checklist.

Keep intellectually stimulated.

This one we’re managing to do pretty well. I saw five shows yesterday and managed to cover a good few different bases. Saw some amazing physical theatre from Gecko, one of the funniest childrens shows I’ve seen with the I Hate Children Children’s Show. That was very funny and I didn’t even feel that weird sat all on my own in the back row in a room full of kids. Excellent show. Saw lots of other great things yesterday and then we all saw our fantastic technician Jim’s show Play For September today. Really well written and acted piece. Got lots more to go and see in the next few days but doing well do far. The minds are stimulated.

So there we have it folks, on a three part checklist of what you can do to survive the Fringe. One out of three ain’t bad right?

Still twenty five days to go I guess…


Friday, 2 August 2013

second day.

It's amazing how quickly we've slipped back into our Fringe routine. The late nights in Brooke's bar... the visits to Scotmid at 3am... walking upstairs to find the gimps doing this to Richard...

(there are four grown men in that pile)

Paul and Lee are big fans of WWE wrestling which is all the excuse they need to experiment with the latest finishing moves on poor old Rich. I say poor old... We know he loves it really. Look at that face.

The show last night was a bit of a 'second night' show. We weren't gripped by the same first night terror of the night before, so the show wasn't quite as slick as it could have been. We're still tinkering with it though, and getting used to the space, so after our final preview tonight we should be pretty much there. 

It's a really fun show this year, much more so than previous years. It's less technically reliant, less 'dark' and just a lot more silly which is quite liberating for us as it means when things go wrong it's less obvious and we just go with it. We're all a lot more relaxed on stage this year.

Now that our show's up and running we're not spending all day re-working and rehearsing bits so I'm going off to see my first shows of the Fringe this afternoon. Let's hope Richard's still alive when I get back.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

We're back!

Hello everyone.

We're back and my have we been busy...

First up - We've been locked away in rehearsal rooms for the last month getting our new Edinburgh Fringe show ready. We're now in Edinburgh and had our first preview last night and the good news is the show is pretty much there. Normally after the first preview we have a crippling panic as we discover there are way too many technical elements, we can't make any costume changes or simply that we've created a terrible show. Fortunately we had none of those freak-outs last night as the show went alright. It can definitely be better, tighter and will naturally improve as we get used to running it in a new space, but fundamentally the show is there. Which is good news!

Secondly - We've got a brand spanking new Website! Our tech team have been working really hard over the last few months to come up with a much more fun, friendly and funny new website for everyone to get a sense of what we're about and they've done a great job. We'll be updating it much more from now on, adding videos, blogs and bits of content for all you gimp fans to enjoy.

Next up - We've written a Blog for the mighty Huffington Post about why we're doing Edinburgh again. Have a read of it here. We've also written an article for The Stage about trying to bring a bit of Fringe Spirit back, which we'll share as soon as it's published.

So that's the most important news out of the way. We'll be blogging as usual every day over the Fringe, so stay tuned for tales of fire-alarm interrupted tech runs, hosting Spank! and the fact that our flat only includes two forks and one frying pan to cook with.


Friday, 7 September 2012

dust settles.

has it really been almost two weeks since the end of the fringe?
it feels like recovery has only just begun...

it's been nice to get away and have some time to reflect on the month-long blur or beer, battered food and box office reports that was august. it was a strange one this year, for a number of reasons. the well documented lower audience numbers, particularly during the first half of the festival were something that we didn't expect, despite people's warnings about the effect of the olympics. in truth, i don't think the blame lies solely at the door of what was happening in stratford but more likely, it was a combination of various factors which this year finally came to a head.

the fringe has been expanding year on year, but has now arrived at a point where that seemingly indefinite increase in the number of shows means there is just too much choice for audience members. there is simply no way all those seats can be filled. the fringe society were quick to point out that sales were -according to early reports- only down 1% this year. but when you consider the number of shows rose by 6% and the booking lines were open earlier than ever -some as early as january- you begin to realise that perhaps looking at the reasons why audience numbers were lower rather than simply defending this year's sales may be a more helpful tactic.

ticket prices are another area that has slowly crept up and up each year until for the first time i think they actually became an obstacle for punters who didn't want to pay that much, and fair enough. when i first came to the fringe in 2001 ticket prices were generally £7, with concessions at £5.50. that was the way the fringe was positioned, as a fresher, rawer and ultimately cheaper alternative to professional theatres. this year some household names were charging £18.50 a ticket for their fringe shows and it would be very hypocritical not to point out that our own prices had been set this year for up to £14 (£12.50 concessions) at weekends. when you consider that you can see a play at the national theatre in london for a tenner... it does put the current fringe ticket prices in quite an alarming context. as richard herring points out in his insightful piece on ticket sales, we are after all in a recession and the fringe is "open to the same market forces as the rest of life".

so what is to be done? well, there have already been a few good opinion pieces on what could happen, and the steps that might need to be taken next year both by the fringe society, and by acts and their management companies if indeed the bubble has begun to burst. the overall message is that change is definitely necessary in one form or another. kate copstick has some excellent ideas in her article that should be seriously considered and steve bennett, editor of the comedy website chortle has some very good advice in his reflection on this year's situation.

for us gimps, it was a strange year as well and the need to change things for the future was felt as keenly by us by the end of the month. by creating a show that had such high production values and reliance on technical effects we left ourselves with a lot or work to do technically and comedically to make a show that met our previous standards, which left ourselves wide open to criticism if it didn't.

in some areas i think we all agree we didn't quite hit the mark. there were areas where the technical side let us down- like the computer going down on a few nights. other areas where we simply ran out of time to make all the videos or 'gimp stings' between sketches so their quality suffered, and in some areas we were concentrating so hard on getting the production looking right that we didn't quite nail the sketches or come up with the right punchlines. however there were many, many parts of this show that we are hugely proud of and feel like they are as good as anything we've done up till now, even if the entire hour might not have maintained that level.

the reviews weren't bad at all, in fact they were mostly very balanced (with one exception which made us laugh out loud it was so subjective) they just all seemed to agree that it could have been better. the hardest thing about reading a critical review of something you've done is when you agree with it. and we agreed with a lot of what had been said.

the funny thing was the audience reaction never changed throughout the month. the feedback that we almost unanimously received was that this year's was our best show. whether we agree with that or not, it is genuinely lovely that people thought that and that they keep coming back each year. we're very lucky to have such a loyal and enthusiastic fan base and we're very grateful for it.

it doesn't diminish however, the feeling that looking ahead a change is necessary. a change in the way we work, the way we approach putting a show together, perhaps a change in the type of show we make, and certainly a change in the way we would go about doing the fringe, if we were to do it next year.

but rather than feeling downhearted, i'm actually perhaps more excited than ever about what we might do next. you learn immeasurably more from the stuff that doesn't work than the stuff that does, and the idea of doing things differently, reinventing, starting from scratch is a very exciting one. plus, there were so many inspiring shows this year when you look at the likes of tony law, pappy's, doctor brown etc, you realise actually you don't have to adhere to people's expectations, if you work hard enough at creating the show that you -first and foremost- are happy with, and is the best it can be, then you can do something really special.

right. so that's the next twelve months sorted...


Sunday, 26 August 2012


just got back from leeds. it was fun. really fun. better than last year actually, great crowd and we really enjoyed it.

it was an interesting decision to do spanktacular again last night, not cos it isn't a brilliant gig (it was), but it meant we weren't home till half two and we had to be up less than five hours later. still, by this stage of the fringe when you're SO tired anyway, sleep becomes something of an optional extra.

well done to matt for driving us there and back and not falling asleep at the wheel (ahem... more than can be said for our agent who drove us last year... eh, chris...?).

so much for solidarity and all being in it together... lee and paul were passed out within thirty seconds of getting in the car this morning. we had barely left edinburgh.

anyway we made it in good time, just as chris ramsay was getting offstage and it was great to see brendon burns who was on characteristically good form.

the gig was easily as good as reading on friday, the crowd were really attentive, especially for a festival audience, and really seemed to get our stuff so it made the set an absolute pleasure. here's a view of the tent filling up as we sound checked before going on.

afterwards of course we hit the catering tent and ate ourselves stupid before hitting the road.

so, we find ourselves back in edinburgh tired at the end of a great weekend, with still two more shows to do then it's home for sleep, rest and liver recovery. 

nearly there.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Reading and back.

this is what happened yesterday.

the alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 6.15am. ungodly by anyone's standards but at the fringe it's inhumane. cramming all our props and costume into our hand luggage we bundled ourselves into a cab to the airport. some people's spirits were higher than others, as you can see.

the taxi driver's accent was so strong we had one of those awkward conversations where you're only about 40% sure of what he'd said each time he asked a question. it's difficult to know what to do in this situation but we chose to vary our responses to each indecipherable question, choosing either "yeah i know", "umm... not sure" and just laughing, assuming it wasn't a question.

made it to the airport and checked in smoothly, almost too smoothly. (interesting fact- at NO point throughout the flights there and back were we asked to show any ID. just a boarding pass. is that normal?) a wetherspoons breakfast in departures hit the spot, if that spot was indigestion and a faint sense of regret.

i'm a terrible flyer. i hate it. the other gimps provide no support whatsoever, in fact my catatonic fear only makes the flight more entertaining for them. also, we were forced to endure a canadian musical theatre group behind us reciting most of their god-awful back catalogue, another unwelcome addition to an already stressful experience. still, we survived the flight and touched down at heathrow at about half ten.

tizzle, our technician back home met us with a car at the airport and we were on the road to reading. after a month away from home there's something quite heart-breaking about being this close to home, but not being there properly, if you see what i mean.

anyway, we made it there with time to spare so we set up camp in our dressing room and ate miniature crunchie bars and drank tea, cos when you're at reading festival you've got to party hard. i even had a camomile.

when our time came we made our way to the stage. it was totally different from last year's last minute panic to get on in time, this time round we had a proper soundcheck and look around the stage as there was a break before we were on. the thing that really surprised me this year was how the tent was filling up as our stage time approached, we were getting a few cheers from the people in the crowd as we were soundchecking, it really felt like people had come into the tent to see us this year, which was really humbling.

this is the view from the stage a few minutes before we went on. we were told in the end there were about three and a half thousand people in there, which is mad.

the gig itself went like a dream. at a festival you only bring out your 'big hitters' the sketches you know will work anywhere, the big numbers, the songs, and in our case, the strip. it's funny- you don't hear a laugh immediately like a normal gig, there's a few seconds delay while the sound travels from the back of the tent and then a wall of sound, be it laughter or applause, hits you and when it does, it feels fucking great.

after our set we hit up the artists catering tent to have our first non-battered food in a month and crucially, some vegetables, which was a rare treat. then it was on the road again and back to the airport. we had a quick nap in departures then it was time to board. we landed back in edinburgh just after 8, jumped in a cab and just about made it back to the pleasance courtyard in time for our show.

i was just walking to our venue when a stanger came up to me and announced "i have a question for you" ... assuming him to be drunk i gave him a worried smile and nodded then he said "how the hell did you get to reading and back so quickly" i laughed and realised he must've followed our tweets and said honestly, i'm not sure. but we did.

we were by this point, knackered. but luckily last night's crowd were bloody lovely and really kept our energy up through to the end.

we have today to recover some sleep, and then it's leeds festival tomorrow for more of the same!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

fringe moments.

last night was fun. i snuck into the horne section, one of my favourite shows on the fringe, after our show. the horne section started a few years ago in the queen dome and you could see back then this was going to be a massive hit, so it doesn't surprise me at all that it's now filling the 700-seat venue the grand in the pleasance courtyard.

the show was going really well until half way through a fire alarm went off and we all had to be evacuated. no-one quite knew what was going on or what would happen but the band, desperate to keep the good times rolling dashed outside for an impromptu acoustic jam while the situation was sorted out.

as you can just about make out in this photo alex horne and the band kept the spirit of the show going outside and everyone gathered round in the car park willing them on while the staff figured out what was going on. it was the last night of their run so they wanted to keep the show going and give everyone a good night, despite what was going on. it felt like one of those 'fringe moments' and it was great that the show was allowed to continue after the hiatus and pretty much everyone had stuck around.

the show was a triumph in the end, great sets from tim key, des bishop and piff the magic dragon made for a great night out. if you ever get a chance to see the show, make sure you do- it's such a great night out.

today we had to be up at a reasonable hour for an interview in support of our upcoming appearance at the brighton comedy festival in october. the interviewer was stephen k amos and we were being interviewed alongside james acaster and rob broderick aka abandoman, two of our favourite acts. stephen hadn't met us before so was understandably weirded out when we turned up with our gimp masks on (especially as half of us kept them on throughout the entire interview) but it all seemed to go without a hitch. the interview doesn't go out till october so we weren't allowed to mention what we were doing at the moment or anything edinburgh-related, which was also pretty odd, but we did get to support abandoman in a freestyle rap, which was another fringe highlight for us!

it'll be an early night after the show for us tonight. for tomorrow the longest weekend awaits....