How to speak comedian
Lucy Porter shares the must-know does and don'ts of speaking to a comedian at the Fringe
This article is from 2016.
Comedians at the Edinburgh festival are like rats in London – you're never more than 6ft away from one and they tend to be more active at night. If you find yourself standing next to a comedian at a bar, burger stall or urinal, you may wish to make small-talk with him or her. Maybe you'd like to find out more about the craft of comedy or perhaps you simply want to get off with them. I have prepared a short guide telling you what to say and – more importantly – what not to say …
'I saw your gig earlier, I thought you were quite good.'
'Oh my god, you absolutely smashed it tonight, seriously though, you totally ripped it. Such insight, such intelligence, yet at the same time such warmth and such relatability. That was the cleverest, funniest, most artistically satisfying thing I have ever seen.'
(Note: You may think this sounds overblown and insincere, also you're wondering whether 'relatability' is even a word. Don't worry. Even if the comedian appears to bat away these compliments they will forever regard you as a simple, honest soul with exquisite taste and judgement)
'Are you a comedian then? I don't recognise you off the telly.'
I think comedy on television is overrated, it's all about the live experience isn't it? I've heard there's actually a conspiracy to keep the really talented people off TV.
'Wow, that was a tough gig you just had. Not only did no one laugh, but you seemed to actively anger people. When half the audience walked out and that guy threatened to punch you we all thought you'd get off the stage, but you just carried on and made it even worse.'
'So, how do you think it went?'
'Must be hard being a comedian, although I'm a paediatric nurse and my work can be pretty harrowing …'
'I'd like to hear more about that tough gig you just had.'
If you've tried all this and the conversation is still going badly here's the 'break glass in case of emergency' phrase. Do say:
'Apparently people are saying you're the new Kitson.'
Lucy Porter: Consequences, Pleasance Courtyard until 28 Aug (not 15 and 22), 5.30pm, £12 (£10).