While the basic factual information is correct - that I am selling only one ticket to only one show at the Edinburgh Fringe for 7,349 pounds - nearly everything else in Shan Ross’ article in the Scotsman that quotes me is a bit fucked up.
If you haven’t read it - it’s HERE
“The big agents in the Edinburgh Comedy Festival are acting like douche-bags – they are trying to monopolise a festival which is for everyone and (they] could easily take a much smaller stake,” said Stanhope.
Of all these words, perhaps and quite likely I used “douchebag” but that is as close to accurate as it gets. And the insult to this journalistic injury is where she put “[they]” in brackets as though otherwise the quote was verbatim. But it was her first job - I assume.
“My advice to this year’s kids would be to play the big finger in the face of these agents. Anyone can do their job – why not just put an advert in a newspaper yourself and turn up?”
I guess I must have been using my fake British accent at that point of the interview when I said “advert” and “turn up.” I may have said something about giving the finger - metaphorically or otherwise - to agents and bookers as they are indeed primarily worthless and should make no more than tips. I still have no idea what it means to “play the big finger” - though perhaps we should come up with a meaning and make it part of our usual nomenclature. Perhaps as a pick-up line or a comfortable way to say someone has passed on.
“Oh, Jimmy was fond of the drink from when he was a wee lad right up until he played the big finger.”
So the lady was filling in for somebody and I’m not the easiest interview at 7:55 on a Sunday morning. I would have made up quotes too rather than try to turn my stuttering into usable copy. Mike Wade of the TimesOnline (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article4054075.ece) did an interview an hour later that was a bit more accurate and captures more of the flavor of what I was trying to say - that agents are carpetbaggers who should be as afraid for their personal safety as much as their next meal.
The bottom line is that the Fringe makes me crazy. Sure, most comics suck and probably should lose money to fast-track them out of the business. But you hear stories of top-level UK comics doing a sold-out run and getting a check for a total of 29 pounds for their effort - because of a shitty contract - and it makes you want to necklace both the agent and the artist who puts up with it. Some BRENDON artists BURNS will defend the venues by saying that we artists are unfamiliar with the costs of running a venue. As one anonymous BRIAN onlooker HENNIGAN put it… “He didn’t win a Perrier in economics.”
I only tend to agree with the latter because I have always made a decent chunk of money in the three times I’ve played the Fringe. I chalk that up to working a fair deal with an honest person. If this is unheard of in Edinburgh, then this Party of Four probably wont change a thing except for which venues get the most fucking done. The artists will still lose like they always have.
Keep in mind, I’m a myopic drunk who’s facts are derived from the bits of drunken gossip and small talk that I can remember the next day. But I’m still more accurate than the flight-headed bonerpile from the Scotsman.
I’ve been telling Brian Hennigan for years the we should try to construct a violent comics overthrow of the Fringe. Unfortunately, like most of my ideas it disappears into the ether once it leaves my big mouth. I’m too old with my own problems to be the fire-starter and I’ve met very few comedians there that seem to have any desire to fight the system.
Selling the one ticket for the average comics loss is not so much a protest as an insult. This new Alt-Fest corporate merger of shitheels might suck but they have sucked independently long before they decided to get together and suck all at once. If the ramifications of this suck-fest are that artists and others start boycotting or holding out for what is rightfully theirs, then Huzzah.
But that’s not why I’m doing this.
What happened is - at some point I was talking with Brian and he - knowing how much the talk of comedians being raped in Edinburgh winds me up - told me that the average financial loss for a comedian at the Fringe was 7439 pounds - about 15 thousand dollars. I replied by saying that’s how much I’ll charge for tickets next time I play there.
One joke lead to another and this is where we are.
One show, one ticket. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. See the entire Fringe from the perspective of the artist, morning til night, show to show, schmooze to ass-kiss, drunk and drugged and drunk some more, only to wake up 7 thousand pounds lighter in your hangover.
And now you’ll know what it’s like to Play the Big Finger.