As many of you already know I’m taking this year off the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Comedy Festival of Comedy. Firstly I want you to know that I’m sorry, and that it’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly. After close consultation with my extensive team of agents, managers, producers, therapists, wives and publicists; I’ve decided to pass the torch to another most ‘likely’ lesser performer. The last 8 years I’ve been at the Fringe have been an absolute joy, from taking acid at midday and climbing Arthurs Seat after being nominated for the Best Newcomer in 2010, to yelling at myself in the mirror for being a ‘fucking loser asshole’ in 2012 when not enough people came to see my show.
Taking a year off the Edinburgh Fringe is a serious business; it’s not something to be undertaken lightly. When I decided to take a year off you can imagine the internal uproar, all those around me wrung their hands and dashed themselves on rocks crying and shrieking, ‘NO, NO, NO!’ Just one year off without the proper reasons to explain ones absence can lead to a crippling back step and rumors of cowardice. All the momentum built up over years can dissolve instantly. If you don’t believe me try this: name one comedian you’ve not heard of, that has performed at the Fringe for some time, taken a year off and then come back? There is a system that must be adhered to, and even a small deviation can be catastrophic to the trajectory of a comedian.
As this years Fringe approached my news feed, twitter feed and Facebook timeline began to buzz with the impending gathering. I looked on from afar transfixed and nostalgic as people patted themselves on the back or set their faces in a steely mask in preparation for the battle ahead. Questions were asked, accommodation was sought and promises were made,
‘I’m not going to read a single review!’ Many said.
‘Off to Tescos to buy fruit and veges for the whole 4 weeks!’ Some said.
‘Just got my gym membership, who hasn’t got 20 minutes a day, WOOT!’ One said.
People wrote lovely descriptive things about the architecture; they even praised the food and the weather. Old friends met up and clutched hands on the cobbled streets; pints were emptied and drams enjoyed. Opening nights were ‘SOLD OUT’ or ‘pretty good’ or would most definitely ‘get better’ as the Festival progressed. Then the reviews started to trickle in, as many of you know reviews are sometimes more important than the actual show itself and whether good or bad need to be celebrated and hated with equal fervor.
‘** from The Scotsman! fuck them they’ve always hated me’ Some tweeted.
‘I got *** from some 17 year old media student from Korea, WTF!’ One Facebooked.
‘ONLY ***** 5 STARS FROM GOLF WORLD. WOOT WOOT WOOOT’ Many wrote.
From my 5-star Hotel Room at the Darwin Festival in tropical Northern Australia I looked on with bitter jealousy as I slowly realized the mistake I’d made taking a year off. Sitting there trying to enjoy the last remnants of my tropical in room buffet breakfast I felt alone and distant: like the last Albatross. The ceaseless flow of Instagram photos, reviews, humble bragging tweets and hung-over status updates only further confirmed my fear. People are right, life doesn’t exist outside of Edinburgh during August its grey and bland.
By taking a year off I may have catastrophically fucked my chances for people to see my shows ever again; but I promise to the people who are reading this article to its conclusion. I’ll never take another year off again, unless I get some more telly stuff or another tropical gig somewhere.
Love, Asher Treleaven. Xo