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.

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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.”

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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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