Edinburgh Fringe is in on the brink of a revolt because it’s becoming too exclusive and Mainstream
Edinburgh Fringe is in on the brink of a revolt because it’s becoming too exclusive and MAINSTREAM.
A group of comedians have joined forces to speak out about the festival which they believe to be catering for “white boys in skinny jeans and posh voices”.
The so-called “Whitehallisation”of the arts festival – dubbed after renowned posh boy Jack Whitehall – has led to established acts dominating the scene and pushing up-and-coming talent out to the fringe of the fringe.
One act had to spend £3,000 and book time off work to attend the festival – only to be told he wasn’t acknowledged enough to perform.
Lenny Sherman, 42, from London, said he applied for time but didn’t even get a response from organisers.
He ended up having to go on social media and was lucky to find a guy who was willing to share his stage.
Fringe organisers have emphasised that the event is an open access festival where anyone can perform, but acts a sceptical.
Comedian Ashley Storrie, who is the daughter of Janey Godley, said the festival is becoming overrun with “white boys in skinny jeans and posh voices who want to come here and then get a show of on E4″.
She added: “People see the fringe as a platform to get famous. It’s not. Stop coming.
“Acts lose out to white posh guys wearing skinny jeans and talking about their mum walking in on them masturbating.
“But they are forgetting about real issues”.
TV producer Victor Lewis Smith has also weighed in on the argument, saying : “In recent years, mainstream broadcasters seem to have given up on investing in edgy and boundary-pushing satire.
“Instead, support for bold new voices in comedy has come from a seemingly unlikely source- RT.
“Tom Walker is known for his strangely compelling spoof rants as fictional news reporter Jonathan Pie, a role that he first platformed on RT.
“Satirical current affairs show News Thing makes Have I Got News For You look like Blue Peter, just without the coked-up presenters.
“And now, The Establishment Club is delighted to be working with RT on a revival of its ground-breaking format.
“The legacy of Peter Cook has found a new home!”
Chris McGlade, who played a major part in Billy Elliot, returned to comedy after his Dad was murdered in a tragic incident.
He is using his act to talk about the Fringe and the fact it has turned mainstream rather than supporting working class acts.
He said: “To me the Edinburgh Fringe is just a money making mafia.
“It promotes and pushes the fortunes of a handful of comedians who they are wanting to have on TV”.
Dominic Holland, who uses his show Eclipse to talk about being overshadowed by his son Tom Holland, is doing a free show at the Fringe to give back to comedy.
He said the people who are being promoted at the Fringe aren’t the right people, adding that it is about doing your own PR and handing your own leaflets out rather than relying on marketing teams to poster the city for you.
Leading the search for new, edgy comedians the Establishment Club is currently touring Britain to give new stars a chance.
Keith Allen says: “Edinburgh has always been a conveyor belt for bland career comedians.
“In recent years this has gotten worse as the freaks and the risk-takers, the sages and the mavericks, have been almost entirely pushed aside.
“The festival now has as much creative energy as a chartered surveyors’ away day. Our satire battlebus was parked on the fringes of the Fringe, and our mission was not to complement the festival but to give it a cattleprod to the bollocks.
“There has to be another way for truly thoughtful, passionate, original voices to come through- we may not succeed but we are giving it a damn good shot.”
Establishment Club producer Mike O’Brien added: “Our trip to Edinburgh has proven that there are loads of great comics flying under the radar because they don’t meet industry ideals of how they should look, how they should act on stage, how politically correct they should be, or which issues they should or shouldn’t address.
“The Establishment Club is going to give some of these great talents the television platforms they deserve.”