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Enter the Dragon

Edinburgh (verb) – to bankrupt oneself.

Usage: Are you going to Edinburgh?

With Adelaide, New Zealand and Brighton comedy festivals under my belt I’m making my first pilgrimage to the comedy Mecca that is Edinburgh. I decided to go for the Free Festival rather than the more financially painful venue hire/ticket sales option. But explaining this concept to non-comedian chums can be tricky.

When a friend saw my flyer and said, “Free?” I began to explain how it all works. But this friend is fairly pessimistic and money-minded (Why are we even friends?) I reckon she and Bob Diamond could live happily ever after, a match made in a tax haven.

As I explained the pros I could see her mentally counting the cost of my foray to the capital. I was mesmerised by her eyebrows jumping skywards while her brain played abacus.


I began to feel like a would-be entrepreneur, backed into a corner trying to sell the idea on Dragon’s Den, to Deborah, Duncan, Paul and Theo Defeatist.

Stella: Hello Dragons, I’m going to Edinburgh.

Duncan: I’ve heard of it.

Theo: I’ve heard that’s the road to financial ruin…

Stella: This is more of a long term investment. I hope to see returns in the next 5 to 10 years.

Theo: I’m out.

Deborah: That’s ludicrous!

Peter: How many tickets will you sell?

Stella: Erm, none as I’m doing the Free Festival.

Theo: I’m out.

Deborah: Theo, you’re already out?

Theo: Sorry, can’t help myself.

Duncan: You’re selling no tickets?

Stella: Yes, but there’s no venue hire. That stings many people who go to bankrupt, I mean, go to Edinburgh.

(Peter looks through my balance sheet) Peter: Accommodation, flyers, posters… but no ticket sales?

Stella: Yes. But people can make a voluntary contribution after the show…

Peter: I’m out.

Deborah: So what’s your product?

Stella: My material, er, me?

Duncan: Can your product be patented?

Stella: Erm, not exactly no…

Deborah: So someone can see your material and replicate it and this isn’t illegal?

Stella: Short answer, yes, long answer…

Duncan: I’m out.

Theo: I’m out too.

Deborah: Theo!

Stella: The way I look at it, people spend a fortune to go to Uni, they get in to debt, but they learn a lot, they have a great time, and eventually they…

Peter: Take on a soulless, unrelated-to-their-degree kind of job to pay off their student loan?

Deborah: I’m out.

It can seem fruitless (Not Edinburgh itself, although I’m packing extra clementines just in case) to our “normal” non-comedian friends. But I’m looking forward to Edinburgh. I know why I’m going, even if my Money Saving Expert friend can’t see it.

And if in 5-10 years I’m in some soulless, unrelated to comedy job, still paying off trips to Edinburgh, I may invest in some wax and whip off my friend’s stupid shifty eyebrows so I don’t have to watch them hurtle towards the ceiling as she says, “I told you so.”


If you’d like to see my show, bring you and your eyebrows to see Karma Comedian at Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde, Aug 2-26, 7pm.

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