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.... 


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

the nominations...

we just wanted to say a huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated for a comedy award today. both lists, newcomer and best show are positively brimming with some of our favourite comedians and friends and we're absolutely delighted for them.

we're particularly delighted for james acaster as we share an agent and last year a dressing room, and is one of the nicest blokes in comedy. his show this year is such a funny, enjoyable hour. dr brown aka phil burgers is one of our all-time favourite performers and like us, is an associate of soho theatre so we're over the moon for him, as well as sketch heroes pappy's who are a constant inspiration to anyone working in sketch comedy.

we're also really happy for david trent and joe lycett, two gimp favourites who were nominated for best newcomer in another list packed full of ridiculous talent.



Tuesday, 21 August 2012

final week.

well, we're on the home straight now.

it's been a long month already and by now we're starting to really feel it. body clocks are all over the place, voices a bit croaky, livers almost completely destroyed and that's before we've even got to the last -marathon- weekend. that will involve flying to reading festival and back, driving to leeds festival and back, and doing our own show each night in edinburgh as well. if the fringe hasn't finished us off by then, the weekend certainly will.

still, plenty more shows to do and see before then.

pass the red bull.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

what a day.

yesterday was our favourite day of the fringe so far.

the show was sold out, which was a great start. almost doubling our venue size this year was a bit of a gamble and given how the well-documented lower audience numbers generally have made such an impact on this year's fringe it was a real vindication to have the venue packed to the rafters last night.

the air-con was down in our venue which made performing the show akin to running a marathon on a treadmill, in a sauna. but the audience were great and managed not to pass out and we all got through it, while losing about a stone in sweat along the way.

but that was only the beginning. we then had to leg-it across town to do bbc comedy presents at the BBC tent by george square. those gigs can always be a bit of a battle as they do go on for a long time and the audience have been in there for ages without much of a break. but we got into our stride and by the end i think they got into it.

that gig done we then had to dash over the the udderbelly to do spanktacular. spank is probably our favourite gig of all time. we love it. the guys that run it are good friends, the show is brilliant and the crowds are always fantastic and last night was no exception.

we arrived a sweaty mess so i nipped into the abattoir (the private bar in the udderbelly) to freshen up in the toilet. i was chucking cold water over myself and patting myself down with hand towels (a strong look, i think we can all agree) in the smallest toilet in the world when who should walk in but hugh grant. he gave me a look as if to say 'what the fuck?' (fair) so i explained "don't worry i'm not dying, i just did two shows in a row..." he smiled in that way only hugh grant can and replied "did you die at those?"

the old dog has still got it. if it was raining... i wouldn't have noticed.

the gig at spank itself was a fucking triumph. we were on first so the crowd were bang up for it, so much so they were on their feet all the way through our one direction parody, which was great -if a little awkward as we still had two sketches to go. but we finished with our 'strip' sketch which gave them well and truly what they wanted and cemented spank's position as our favourite gig on the fringe.

beat that, sunday.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


this week's episode of the pleasance news features a missing gimp...

we hope you can help.

Friday, 17 August 2012

just saying.

at the risk of this becoming a blog solely about food...

i'm particularly proud of the scrambled eggs i made this morning. perfect consistency, i even worked in some saint agur cheese and finished it with salt, pepper and tabasco... served on granary bread.

just call me heston gimpenthal.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

fish pie.

completely lacking in inspiration for the blog today i'm afraid.

so i'll tell you about the pie i just ate.

first up, it was bloody lovely.

sainsbury's taste the difference fish pie with salmon, smoked haddock and king prawn.

now they didn't skimp on the haddock either, some lovely bits of haddock in there. a lot of fish pies will just whack a load of salmon in and hope for the best. this one had the haddock to salmon ratio pretty much spot on.

if we're nitpicking, it was stretching it slightly to dub these prawns "king prawns". i think we both know they were just regular prawns. but no problem with that, they were after all tasty, and provided a welcome bit of texture to each mouthful.

veg came in the form of some spinach concealed within the maris piper mash, as i think we all suspected it would.

i'm not the kind of animal who'll just sit there and destroy a pie on its own, so i accessorised with some brocolli on the side.

the pie came in at a mean 12.2g fat (calm down guys, only 6.6g of it saturates), 1.92g of salt and a round 381 calories. what? it's nearly christmas.

the important thing to remember here, was that this was oven cooked from chilled in only 25 minutes.

need i say more?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

human for a day.

well, our day off yesterday was bloody lovely.

we got up after a respectable lie-in and gave the flat a much needed clean, so we can now see surfaces again and that odd smell in the kitchen seems to have gone.

while the others went off to do rod is god i went to see 'bad musical' at the gilded balloon, which was bloody great. i love the guys that made it, they're called the trap and they did a series of parodies of worthy plays years ago called 'bad play' and they've made a very welcome return to the fringe with their latest show. great performances, sublime touches and just a very funny hour.

i then went off in search of some vegetables. i ended up in pizza express but the thought was there, and it was at least nice to be eating something that wasn't battered.

in the evening i saw joel dommett at the pleasance courtyard and it was another brilliant show. for the second year running he has made such an uplifting and properly funny hour of comedy look absolutely effortless.

i couldn't have asked for two better shows on my day off, and with my spirits raised and the freedom of not having to do our show that night i headed home for an early night happy, and almost human again.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

day off!

it's our day off today.

a much needed chance to clean the flat, eat some proper food, go and see some shows and not worry about ours at all.

we had a late one last night, the highlight of which was getting paul absolutely battered in a drinking game with tom from the noise next door, as part of their 24 hour fringe adventure.

the game was to come up with jokes based on topics the audience suggested, and the least funny joke meant the designated member of each team (for LNGF it was paul) had to down a drink. there were five in total. from memory they were: a pint of beer, a neat gin, a goldschläger, a tequila and a red wine. now, given we're a sketch act not famed for our improvisational skill and we were up against the noise next door who do this for a living... we held our own pretty well, thanks to a combination of paul's terrible puns and the noise next door's tiredness. in the end everyone had to down all their drinks anyway so we all won. or in a more accurate sense, lost.

we must say huge congratulations to them - incredibly they still haven't finished. i believe it ends at 7pm tonight. i just walked past a couple of them and they looked... well, like they'd been up for over thirty hours wandering around edinburgh doing ridiculous tasks....

well done boys.

Monday, 13 August 2012

busy day


bit of a busy day today.

we had the last of our internet shopping delivered this morning so the next two weeks will be an exercise in rationing the mince and -bizarrely- baby corn we seem to have stocked up on.

we're seeing some shows this afternoon, then doing the chortle fast fringe at 6.40 which is always a fleeting but fun gig. today's lineup includes ed gamble, jigsaw, piff the magic dragon and john shuttleworth so should be a cracker.

we'll probably do a bit of flyering around the courtyard before our own show at 10pm.  then we're off to do a thing for the noise next door's 24 hour fringe adventure which you can read more about here.

after that we'll probably get dangerously drunk as it's our day off tomorrow.

should be good.

in the absence of any relevant picture, here's a photo of us having been tarred and feathered.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

almost half-way

well we're nearly at the half-way point and the familiar mid-fringe slump is threatening to rear its head. not a slump in the show thankfully, which is running smoothly again after some technical blips, but you just get to the point about half-way through when you start to miss home and loved ones and feel like you've been here a lot longer than you have.

check that out for a depressing start to a blog, eh? 

it will pass quickly i'm sure; we have our day off on tuesday and we're hoping that after the olympics finishes tonight the number of visitors to the fringe will start to creep up again as tourists make their way from london to edinburgh. 

it's funny, we really didn't expect the olympics to have any real effect on fringe sales, but numbers this year have been noticeably lower across the board, so hopefully that will change after this weekend.

UPDATE: just read this article by richard herring about the lower audience numbers this year. worth a read.

last night i managed to escape the fried food and hot dogs of the fringe for one night only, when i went out for a posh meal. so more to invite jealousy than anything else, (but also cos the blog hasn't contained enough pictures this year) here's what i ate...

that's just a bit of roe deer with some skirlie, on a bed of beetroot and pea purĂ©e, topped with blackberries... 

chill out.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

back on track.

we seem to have overcome the tech issues and the show is running as we want it to again. it's such a relief and means the enjoyment of the show has come flooding back and we're all having fun onstage again.

we had a busy day yesterday rammed full of gigs: we did five in total including our own show and rod is god, and squeezed in some shows as well: sammy j (another great new show), trevor noah (just brilliant stand-up), totally tom (such funny, effortless performers) and i saw an excellent show i'd like to particularly recommend...

it's a clowning physical comedy called waiting for stanley at assembly roxy at 3.45. if you're up for taking a chance on something a bit different, this show is the thing. it's performed perfectly, is funny, moving and the staging and moments of puppetry and physical theatre are so clever and inventive the hour really does fly by. i can't recommend it highly enough.

one final tip - the beta males are doing a late show tonight and again on 17th & 18th called midnight movie theatre and it's a really fun, unique show. we're appearing in it briefly again tonight with a whole host of great performers so if you find yourself in the pleasance courtyard around midnight looking for something completely different, come and check it out!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

flippin' tech

well, we had another tech issues-affected show last night i'm afraid to say.

it was less serious than wednesday's disaster but still affected ours and inevitably the audience's enjoyment of some of the show, which is a shame. we're trying not to get too down about it, which in turn will make this blog less depressing reading... but it is a bit dispiriting when a show that you've put a year's work into is undone by factors beyond your control.

still, things could be a lot worse and now we've hopefully identified what the problem was that was causing the issues, the show should run smoothly from now on. keep everything crossed for us please!

and it's not all bad... the weather these last few days has been fantastic and there's a new nando's in the centre of edinburgh that we are making excellent use of.

we've also seen some brilliant shows, here's one we'd particularly recommend. john peel's shed, the smash hit from comedy connoisseurs show and tell is up here for a limited run so if you haven't seen it, you must. tickets are almost all gone so move fast! it's a really lovely storytelling show all about one man's passion for british radio. funny, nostalgic, moving and accompanied by a great soundtrack.

i'm off to see ed eales-white's solo character show again today because it's that good. if you haven't seen it yet- you're missing out. character comedy done brilliantly by an instinctively great performer. what more could you want? it's on every day at 5.45 in the pleasance courtyard's baby grand.

speaking of good shows i'm about to trump the lot of you by going to see daniel kitson tonight. that's the way to end a day at the fringe in style.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

the nightmare show.

it happens every run. the night where it all goes wrong. well, last night we had it. or at least, we hope that's it.

this year our show is very reliant (arguably too reliant...) on technical elements, and last night the tech decided not to play.

the computer that we run the show off (the lighting, sound and video cues all come from one computer) had gremlins that we couldn't fix which meant having to stumble through the video elements of the show, and apologise to the audience a lot.

fortunately, we've been rehearsing a song that we could do in emergencies if such a cock-up did happen. unfortunately, that song is only a few minutes long and we needed a bit more than that to try and fix things. we filled a bit more time by singing our bestiality rap from last year while lee and the technicians scrambled to get things up and running again.

eventually we got through to the end of the show thanks to a wonderfully supportive and patient sold out crowd who appreciated what we were going through, and were willing us to get through it, which i think we just about did with our reputations in tact.

as a result we've spent all of today working with a computer expert trying to identify and fix the problem. we think even if we can't completely fix it today, we can work out a version of the show that won't be too affected. but fingers crossed we'll be able to sort it in time for tonight.

we must say a huge thank you not only to last night's audience but also to our venue staff who were amazing and completely calm in a crisis. jo and her team have gone out of their way to help us sort the situation and came in early today to give us some extra tech time in the venue. we're very grateful to them all.

right, we're on our way back to the venue shortly to finish re-teching things. wish us luck.

p.s. next year i swear to god... we're making a show with no tech. just sketches and blackouts...
if only.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

a good sit down.

only one piece of news worth reporting today.

when in the missoni hotel for an interview we discovered the comfiest armchair in the world. 

so we each sat in it. it was lovely. 

really lovely.

i sometimes worry we're too rock n' roll.

Monday, 6 August 2012


i'm injured.

clearly the fringe gods were not happy with my decision to try to stay healthy and active this month and a day after going for a fairly long run in the gym, my foot is in considerable pain when i walk.

it's very annoying, particularly as we gimps aren't famed for our sympathy towards each other when one of us is in pain. "have you tried manning up?" is hardly an NHS prescription. speaking of which, i have of course been looking up the symptoms on NHS direct and have narrowed it down to: tendon strain, trapped nerve, or a slow heart attack.

the upshot is i've had to stay in resting the foot all day so it doesn't affect the show tonight. it's frustrating as a) it's sunny in edinburgh today and b) it's 2for1 day so it's normally a great day to get out and see shows.

still, in slightly happier news the 2for1 thing means tonight and tomorrow's shows will be full audiences which always makes the show that bit more fun. oh, and i had my first culinary fringe institution last night in the form of chips with salt n' sauce. mmm.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

hung. over.

urgh. we feel awful.

we had our street team (our lovely flyerers) drinks last night. a great night but it ended in brooks bar at five this morning debating with mark watson about the best way to eat baked beans. it was one of those nights.

we had to be up at a reasonable hour today too, to record a song for an E4 podcast at the udderbelly. to say it was a weird gig would be putting it pretty mildly. there was a great lineup (sean hughes, susan calman, sarah kendall etc) but the acts had to be interviewed chat show style and not only was it confusingly recorded out of sequence, but most of the questions were about cows (the udderbelly connection, which explains the whole "podcalf" name) so it was hard to tell who was more confused; the acts or the audience.

we were just there to record our bestiality song which has a pretty high expletives-per-minute hit ratio, which makes performing it in front of a twelve year-old boy in the front row awkward at best.

still, we did the gig and then my hangover really started to kick in. it was one of those slow-burners where you wake up thinking you're ok, then two hours later my face was sweating. my face. not even a city restaurant fry-up could save me and i stumbled over to the pleasance courtyard to record what must have been one of the most bumbling, incomprehensible and uninspiring interviews i've ever done, live on radio. i can only apologise to anyone who hears it. not my finest hour.

fortunately, i did see a good show to pick me up: matthew crosby's latest standup offering, which was great. it's a really warm, relaxed, but very funny show and he's such a natural performer the hour flies by. really worth seeing.

just time for a red bull and a pizza to get me through to tonight's show then an early night for me i think.

oh, i've done something to my foot. it started hurting when i was walking around today. any ideas, anyone?

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Now then. Baggles here.

So one week in and it finally feels like we’re at the Fringe; 2AM is considered an early night, between-show boredom in the Pleasance Courtyard has led to the consumption of countless plastic hotdogs, and of course, the 8 o’ clock hour has been devoted each night to that erstwhile Gimp Fight pastime: flyering.  This being our fourth Edinburgh Festival as a group, many people assume that we shouldn’t have to promote our own show any more, thanks to the great work of our flyering team, but we still like getting out in the Courtyard ourselves with a gimp in tow and talking to people.  A cynic might describe this as “getting the brand out there”, but we just see it as a unique way to meet comedy goers before the show.

Granted, as a group of men approaching 30, being led around a public place on a dog lead and behind a mask, hearing “bring out the gimp” for the seventeenth time that evening can feel ever so slightly humiliating.  But it is genuinely good fun too, and from time to time elicits the most amazing responses.  Steve, or Director Gimp as he prefers to be known, reminded us the other day of the time he asked a guy at the Courtyard bar if he would like to “stroke a gimp”, to which the broad Scottish reply came “Is he a Lithuanian?!”

We saw the Three Englishmen yesterday, who are on at 5.40pm in the Pleasance Dome, and they gave a genuinely funny and inventive hour, as they always do.  Between us we also saw our favourite double act McNeil and Pamphilon doing what they do best, and Ed Eales-White's show Champions, which was brilliant.  Character comedy at its best.  All three shows are highly recommended by the gimps.

Right, pasta’s ready, so I’d better wrap this up.  It’s ten to eight, which can only mean one thing: Gimping awaits…

Friday, 3 August 2012

that's more like it

phew. the show went much better last night. the panic that we've created a totally unsuitable show seems to have subsided and we basically just did it better. the changes we made after the first night seemed to work and crucially we invested in some microphone tape so the mics stay on our faces now, rather than flying off every time you remove a wig. which is a bonus.

one big change though, is we have reluctantly decided to cut one of our more 'controversial' sketches. it's a real shame as it's always gone down well in london and in our pre-edinburgh previews. it would get a big laugh, then gasps of shock and horror from the audience at what they'd just laughed at, which is absolutely our favourite reaction. good comedy should be challenging, and the sketch in question probably went as close to the bone as we've ever gone but was still justifiable, which is always our benchmark with the 'darker' material.

however the last two nights, in front of a couple of hundred people in our previews, it has bombed. not just bombed, it's actually killed all the goodwill we'd worked up until that stage of the show. the audience just have not gone for it at all and it's meant it being a real battle to try to win them back after that sketch. unfortunately, that sacrifices too much so with heavy hearts we've decided to cut it. i stand by it as one of the funniest and most "LNGF" sketches we've done, it's just one of those things. i heard a great quote about cutting material because of the reaction, which was "sometimes you test your audience, and sometimes they don't pass. that isn't your fault."

a few more tweaks of the show to work on now, then we're all off for a productive day. matt and paul will be heading off to do lee's play rod is god at the pleasance dome at 4pm, while i'm going off to the gym (as i attempt to remain human and vaguely proactive this fringe) then i'm off to see some shows.

here's a few bits of press we've done which may be of interest: we picked our favourite moments in comedy for chortle's perfect playlist, recommended some of our favourite places to go in edinburgh for such small portions, and here's an interview about the show we did with the sun.


Thursday, 2 August 2012

the dreaded first night...

first nights are always hard. you spend all day stressing about it and no matter how much preparation you do it will never go perfectly. it was after all the first time we've run through the show in the venue. to be fair, nothing major went wrong last night, just lots of niggly things that we can do better (microphones falling off, messed up costume changes, a few technical gremlins) but all stuff that can be fixed.

every year we seem to come off stage after the first preview a bit shell-shocked and wondering if we've created the right show at all! luckily these are the moments when steve, our director, picks us up (not literally) and points out that it's usually little adjustments, rather than a complete re-write, that'll make a big difference, and he's right.

so today we went through the show and worked out what we need to do over the next couple of previews to iron out these things and get the show to a place that we're happy with.

we should say we had a lovely, very warm audience who were willing us on from the start and were very patient with the bits that we didn't quite get right. so thank you, we do appreciate it.

after the show one drink became two, three, four, then jagerbombs started flowing and before we knew it we were in Scotmid at 4am buying rustlers burgers and in matt's case... a victoria sponge.

nothing changes.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

We're back.

back in edinburgh, back with a new show, and back frantically making last minute changes, finishing the technical elements and desperately trying to get the show ready before we open tonight.

on monday we had our seven-hour tech rehearsal, which went reasonably well- still wasn't enough to fit in an actual run of the show- but the lighting and microphones were working well, so even if we forget our lines, don't make a single costume change in time, or are just generally not very funny... it will look and sound lovely. so that's something.

we then went for a late curry with steve, our director. we asked him how long he was planning to stay up in edinburgh for and he said he'll be here "until the show's not shit". let's hope he's not getting the 12:00 return on 28th august with the rest of us then. we'll see...

today we had a shit load of jobs to do before we open tomorrow: film & edit lots of 'gimp stings' (the short interstitial gimp-based videos we play between sketches), buy some chairs and a table we need for the show, and re-paint our floor cloth. the chairs and table meant a trip to IKEA, a peculiar place to be the day before the fringe starts but there we go.

my (david) room in the flat we're staying in has everything you'd expect from a bedroom... except a mirror. clearly i'm far too vain to imagine not seeing my own face for a full month so i thought i'd pick one up while we were there. quickly this important furtinure buying mission became a frivolous quest to find me the best mirror for the best price. i don't think matt and paul weren't convinced this was the best use of our time. still, check out this bad boy- and only a tenner!

we spent the afternoon getting the rest of the jobs done until tizzle our unsung technical hero cooked us what regular readers of this blog will remember is one of the three stable meals we eat while we're up here: chilli (the other two being curry and spag bol).

there's still a bit of work to be done before we open but we think we're in a better position than we have been in previous years, so we're naively optimistic about how the first night's going to go. i think we've worked harder on this show than any other we've done so we really hope people like it, we're very proud of it.

it's worth saying, if you'd like to see our show this year, we're on every day (except 14th) at the pleasance courtyard, in a venue called the forth, at 10pm. tickets can be booked here.

spread the word. the gimps are back in town.


Monday, 2 April 2012


Here is the Video for our song Bestiality.

It was directed by the brilliant Tom Levinge, with thanks to Kentish Town City Farm, for not asking too many questions.

Please share and spread the animal love!