Tuesday, 30 August 2011


...and that's it for another year.

What a month it's been.

We are broken, but we leave with some fantastic memories of another successful Fringe. We were really proud of the show this year, it took a lot of time and hard work to get it to a position where we felt happy with it, so we're really glad people have enjoyed it. We seemed to divide the critics this year more than ever, which we don't mind, and we know we'll always be more popular with audiences than critics. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks to all the venue staff at the Pleasance, to Ryan for having us, to everyone at Phil McIntyre for looking after us, to Steve Marmion our brilliant director, to all the gimps' girlfriends (the gimpettes as they don't like to be known) for putting up with us, to Tizzle and Alex for their technical heroics and finally Thank you to everyone who came to see the show. The audience's reactions have made it all worthwhile. It's a great privilege to have such an enthusiastic and loyal fan-base and we're very grateful.

We've got a few days time off now (detox, anyone?) before gigs at Bestival, Ireland and Kent in September. We will of course be doing the Edinburgh show in London at some point, so look out for that. So all that's left to say is thanks for reading this blog- we hope you enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to do.

Until next time...

David, Lee, Matt, Paul and Richard.

Monday, 29 August 2011

What a Weekend!

Where to begin?

So, on Friday night after the show we had the final of The Great Big Sketch Off, a huge success, it was won by Swagger Jagger, a team that included our very own Matt Ralph, with Max Olesker (on crutches since The Wrestling), Tom Hensby and Paul Dunn (who gained a black eye in the process). Well done to all the teams though, it was a great night.

We got home about 2am and were up four hours later to get a Taxi to the airport. We'd all just about managed to shower and get out of the house and into the cab in time... only to find it wouldn't start. The driver slumped over the wheel head in hands and said we'd have to get a black cab (it was raining) unless we wanted to give him a push to start it? The next thing we know the gimps are all out of the car (except David) and pushing it over a box juntction. It was like something out of Little Miss Sunshine... except in the rain. And in Scotland. Anyway, it worked, and we were off!

We got our flight and met up with the ever reliable Matt Tizzle, our London-based diabetic tech hero, at the airport and got in a hire car. That's where the troubles began. Chris our agent was valiantly driving us from Luton to Reading but we ran into traffic, like, a LOT of traffic. We only had about an hour to get there for our sound-check. In the end we missed that by some margin and only arrived at the Festival - we had to drive right up to our stage - with five minutes to go.

We quickly got mic-ed up and before we knew it we were on stage in front of around two and a half thousand people singing about Bestiality. The mad rush meant we didn't have time to get nervous and the adrenaline meant our half hour set felt like it was over in about five minutes. The crowd were amazing, really responsive and loud and the largest we had played so it felt amazing.

We got off stage and just had time to check out our dressing room. Being possibly the least rock n' roll group to have ever played Reading Festival, our rider as you can see is less about champagne, lap-dancers and heroin... and more about lemon and ginger tea... and a curlywurly. That's the way we roll.

We grabbed some delicious non-battered food (a novelty this month) in the artists' catering tent and then we were back on the road to the airport. Chris by now was giving Lewis Hamilton a run for his money and he got us to the airport in good time, we certainly met our part of the bargain. Easyjet... less so.

The flight was delayed by an hour, which made things pretty tight back in Edinburgh as we had our own show to do that night. We just about made it in time though and stumbled through a red-bull fuelled performance on Saturday night. We got home and ate dominos into the wee small hours and then collapsed.

The next day went a lot smoother in all fairness. We got up early and got into the hire car Chris had sorted as we were driving to and from Leeds. It started, which was nice. We made really good time and the journey was much more relaxed. Too much so for Richard, who fell asleep almost immediately only to be woken at regular intervals by Matt screaming into his ear. Good times.

We sampled the limited delights of most service stations along the A1(M), played travel games, listened to the football and thought up new ways to wind Richard up.

We got to Leeds Festival in time and sound-checked properly and made some changes to the previous day's running order. We got to catch the end of one of our favourite comedians, Mark Watson's set and sneak a look at the crowd. It was huge.

Mark, as you'd expect, went down a storm and made us feel suitably petrified of messing up and ruining everyone's afternoon. Thankfully though, it went well and the crowd were very nice to us. Also, by finishing both days with our Strip sketch, we worked out that Lee had showed his penis to over five thousand people this weekend. That's a lovely statistic to take away from the experience if nothing else.

We stopped by the catering tent to grab some much needed fruit and vegetables then it was back on the road again. We got back to Edinburgh in good time and turned in a respectable performance in the circumstances, despite Richard's voice being all but gone.

At this stage the sensible thing to do would have been to get home to bed. But of course we ended up in Brookes bar till gone three, expect David who fell asleep on a sofa in the Library bar and was duly taken home.

I'm not quite sure how we did it looking back, but it was a hell of a weekend. Thanks to Chris for all his driving, and a huge thanks to the audiences at Reading and Leeds, you were incredible.

Right. One more show to go and then that's Edinburgh done for another year, and we can all go to bed.

Friday, 26 August 2011

One final push.

Well we're getting very near to the end of the Festival now and as you can probably tell, the lack of sleep and the frantic desire to see all the shows left on our lists means the blog entries have fallen a bit behind. Sorry about that.

If I'm not around to chivvy the other gimps into doing the blog they don't get done as they're all too busy seeing stuff, sleeping off hangovers... or wrapping Richard up in carpets.

Anyway, to being you up to speed. We ticked off another gig on the fringe wishlist by playing the Udderbelly (the giant upside down purple cow) at Spanktacular! the other night, and we loved it. Great crowd, great gig, headlined by the superb Sammy J and Randy.

I saw Tim Key's show Masterslut which was fantastic. Every bit as funny and inventive as you'd hope. He's just announced he's doing a month-long run at Soho Theatre in December so if you missed the show up here, be sure to see it in London. I'm going again.

We saw Adam Riches' tour-de-force Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches. An unbelievably energetic, fun, anarchic and hilarious hour. I don't know how he's survived the month keeping up that energy. He deserves to win the Comedy Award for that alone. Brilliant.

This afternoon I saw Alex Horne's hilariously shambolic annual show, Taskmaster. It pits comics like Key, Watson, Long, Atkinson etc against each other in a year-long competition where they have to fulfil delightfully odd and creative tasks and this afternoon's show saw the results play out. Josie Long triumphed in the end, by stuffing 16 grapes into her mouth in a tie-break with Stuart Goldsmith. Other highlights included Key losing his comedy award and a young child winning a Ferrari. You had to be there, but it was great.

Back to our own show and we've had some great audiences this week and a nice review in the Metro. After tonight we'll have just three shows left. Some tickets are still available for the Sunday and Monday here.

Which brings me on to the upcoming weekend. This weekend has loomed large for us for a long time and now it's finally upon us. We're playing Reading and Leeds Festivals on Saturday and Sunday respectively, then travelling back to Edinburgh each day to do our own show in the evening. You heard that right.

We finish tonight's show, then have the final of the Great Big Sketch Off, which should finish around 1am, get to bed, get up at 6am to fly to London, jump in a hire car, drive to Reading Festival, soundcheck, do a half-hour set on the Alternative stage, drive back to the airport, fly back to Edinburgh, get a taxi to the Pleasance, do our show on Saturday night, get to bed, get up the next morning and get in a van and drive to Leeds, play the Alternative Stage, drive back to Edinburgh, do our show on Sunday night... and then collapse.

I'm getting the sweats now just thinking about it.

Still, we like a challenge.

We'll report back after this weekend, if we survive. In the mean-time follow us on twitter for live and -inevitably- increasingly panicked updates.

Good luck everyone.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Big Day

We've reached that time of the Fringe again. Sore throats and fatigue are setting in, every bar in Edinburgh is being drained as performers feel the return to normality is just around the corner and, most annoyingly of all, we're all desperately trying to see all the shows we've put off seeing until the last week. Recent highlights for me have included Matthew Crosby's AdventureParty (a really enjoyable show which left Rich and me desperate for Nando's), Joel Dommett's Neon Hero, a fantastic debut show, and Ford and Akram's Humdinger in the Pleasance Hut. Try to catch these if you haven't already, as well as Joe Bone's stunning third part of his Bane trilogy.

The big news of the day came at about 3 in the afternoon when the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards nominations were announced. The fact the announcement was delayed by several hours is testament to the quality of the shows under consideration, and we were personally happy to see Gimp favourites Adam Riches, Andrew Maxwell, Chris Ramsey and Totally Tom all up for awards. It really doesn't seem like a year since we got our nomination, and we offer our Gimp congratulations to everyone nominated.

On the subject of nominees, I managed to sneak into Josh Widdicombe's show tonight. I really enjoyed his set and, having never seen him before, now understand why he's being spoken about in the same breath as Michael McIntyre and Jerry Seinfeld. A really entertaining hour.

Right. I'm tired, I'm hungry and it's raining outside. This can only mean one thing: time to go flyering!

Til next time,


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Home Stretch...

Well, the final week of the Edinburgh Fringe 2011 is upon us! Only 7 performances to go...

For those of you wondering, I managed to make it back from the wedding (which was excellent by the way) in one piece and in time for the show. It was rather like an episode of Challenge Anneka except far more stressful and I wasn't wearing lycra. I had hoped that a train journey back to Edinburgh would be uneventful with the only stress being whether I could find a seat that didn't have a ticket stuffed in the back of it. Sadly the train broke down, the buffet car ran out of crisps and I was sat near a girl who was certain the man behind her was from the tv show The Only Way Is Essex. I know she was certain of this because she called 3 friends telling them as much. But apart from that, it was fine and it was nice to be back in the buzz of the fringe and the Pleasance Above. The show went really well and the day off hadn't completely erased the show from our brains. The night was finished in Central where my friends Nick and Herbie ate battered mars bars for the first time. It was a sight to behold but I fear their life expectancies may have suffered a massive blow...

While a wise person would have seen as many shows as possible at the beginning of the fringe when they were cheap and not selling out, I am now foolishly packing my days with as many shows as possible, shelling out lots of cash and being turned away from many. Just a few quick recommendations that I saw with Paul today: Skittles is an excellent one man show spoken mainly in verse that covers a relationship, really funny and touchingly sad. Also saw the excellent Matthew Crosby in Adventure Party. It was a wonderfully feel good show that reminded me it is alright to be a geek/nerd and was reassuring to find out that I'm not the only one who fights to open train doors first! I could happily listen to Matthew for hours. Catch it in the Pleasance Courtyard, it's excellent! And Brett Goldstein is also great, I hope he writes a book based on his strip club adventures, it sounds like there are way more stories to tell than his hour show permitted.

Well, it's almost time for our last Tuesday show. I have downed some Buttercup Cough Syrup and swallowed about 12 Vocalzones. It is going to be off the hook!

Bye for now

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Arthur's seat.

Just climbed Arthur's Seat.

Worst idea ever.

I'm exhausted.

Half way through the fringe is not when I'm at my physical peak. My legs are still shaking an hour later.

Oh well.

In other news, Richard, who went to a wedding yesterday and was meant to be back in good time for the show today... is still not back.

He was meant to get a plane at 5pm. But he was worried about delays so he booked a train... that gets in even later than the plane was going to. 8.15pm. Idiot.

Now he's just texted to say the train's stuck outside Durham.

Will he make it back in time?

Put it this way, the other four gimps are spending the evening working out how to cover his parts in every scene in the show.

Good luck everyone.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Day off.

Finally, our day off.

An odd decision to take a day off on what would have been a sold out Saturday night... but Richard's going to a wedding. So there you go.

The rest of us have pretty much been in bed all day. Which is fair enough.

I'm off to see Tim Key tonight then the four of us are doing a set at Spanktacular! in the Udderbelly, which should be even more riotous than a normal Spank. Can't wait.


Friday, 19 August 2011

and another...

Saw two more really great shows today, both of which I'd highly recommend.

First Matthew Crosby (of Pappy's fame) AdventureParty. Matthew has such a likeable and easy manner that the show flies by, with loads of really memorable moments (his line about Wifi is f***ing priceless). Also, if you're a Nando's fan (and if you're not, you have no place reading this blog, seriously, what's your problem?) then seeing this show is a bit like coming home.

Then Joel Dommet's fantastic Neon Hero. I don't know how this show isn't completely sold out, it deserves to be. Joel weaves his best stand-up with an unbelievable story of what happened to him over one week of his life. It's a true story that tugs at the heart strings and leaves you feeling so warm and happy, it's definitely the most uplifting show I've seen this fringe. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Then as if that wasn't enough I came home to find Matt's girlfriend Milly, who'd been staying with us for a few days, has left us quite the most chocolatey cake I've ever seen. Proper heart-attack chocolate goodness. I only had one slice and I already think I'm having a stroke.

Yes, those are slices of Mars bar on the top.



Thursday, 18 August 2011

Productive day all round...

Today I got up early (well, eleven) so I could finally cram in a lot of the shows I've been wanting to see.

First up was Kieran and the Joes, a very fine sketch show on at Just the Tonic at The Store. They use the audience really well- which I'm always really impressed by as in the gimps we're such a 'fourth wall up' no audience interaction kindof group so it's really enjoyable to see a group completely unafraid to involve the punters, and these guys do it brilliantly.

Next was a double-act I hadn't heard of but took a punt on, after being recommended by Dan from Delete the Banjax, called Ford and Akram... and it was a really pleasant surprise. The two girls are naturally very funny and have such confidence with their material that you can relax and just enjoy an hour of unusual but really entertaining double-act.

Then was Isy Sutie's Pearl and Dave, my favourite show of the day. Just a really, really lovely show. Heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure, delivered effortlessly and in such an engaging, likeable manner. I thoroughly recommend you see this show. It's selling out so don't miss it.

Finally, fellow sketch pals Delete the Banjax with this year's Pigs and Ponies. A really entertaining, fast-paced hour which makes great use of multimedia. I feel like I could watch Dan go off on one (as he tends to do) pretty much all day, it's very, very funny.

Pretty impressed with my tally of four shows I headed home after a productive day, feeling very pleased with myself. But what had the other gimps been doing I wondered...?

Seeing shows?

Cooking dinner for us all?

Going up Arthur's seat perhaps?

Ah, no.

They'd wrapped Richard up in all the carpets in the hall.

Of course.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Never Let Lee loose on the blog...

Well hello there!

It's Lee here today writing the blog and guess what? I've got no idea what to write about! Nothing! Not a jot!

So let's see what happens. I'm just gonna type and see what comes out...

Things I've been thinking about.

I'm at the worlds largest theatre and comedy festival and yet I'm still obsessed with watching Bargain Hunt. Watched it this afternoon. Ace. Didn't watch the end though. Not sure who won. Not fussed. Might watch it on the Iplayer after I've finished writing this.

I keep falling over.

Footballs back on. That's lovely. I support a terrible team.

Pauls in the shower at the moment and he's singing. It's horrible. He has a good voice but is a terrible human being.

puntuaction speling and proper, grammar are over rated

I seriously keep falling over. I don't know why. It thankfully only seems to be when I'm on my own so people haven't begun to talk about it behind my back but I can't stop it. I even fall UP stairs! How can you fall up! Gravity is fucking with me and I don't like it. Life would have been much more fun before Isaac Newton invented gravity.

David just brought me in a coffee. I told him I didn't know what I was doing with the blog and that I was just writing whatever came into my head and he just shook his head and walked away.

Am I the only one who misses Saved By The Bell?

I must buy some more paint on Ebay before I go out this afternoon.

Weren't the riots terrible? On plus side my housemate Greg has text me to say we have a brand new 42 inch tv set and dvd player.

Wasn't Crystal Maze good? It was much better though when Richard O'Brien did it. That other guy that came in wasn't so good. Didn't like him as much. I did like Mumsy.

I fell over a flat piece of pavement last week. Wasn't even cobbled.

I've got a card at home I got when I was working in a special needs school. It is a card that the children use to tell the teacher when they need to go to the toilet. I put it in my pocket by mistake and forgot it. I feel very guilty about this.

I may try and introduce a similar system into my sex life.

Am gonna have to wrap this up now because there is an incredible piece of life affirming theatre which is supposedly one of the greatest things you will ever see on a stage starting in ten minutes which I need to ignore because there's a generic home improvement programme starting on ITV in five.

If anyone finds out who won Bargain Hunt let me know.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Wrestling


Just... wow.

Granted, I’m no Fringe veteran, but I think I speak on behalf of the 800 or so screaming, sweating people who packed out the Pleasance Grand last night when I say that Max Olesker’s brainchild, The Wrestling, was one of the greatest experiences in the history of the Edinburgh Festival.

We arrived half an hour late after finishing our own show, and were escorted to our seats. Right on the front row, courtesy of the amazing Beth O’Brien who, along with Max and Ivan, had organised this insanity. This chaos.

We sat back, and were treated to just the most bizarre spectacle any of us had witnessed. Max, formerly Max Voltage, the Human Dynamo and the youngest ever professional wrestler in the country at one time, called upon five or six of his wrestling buddies (one of them the biggest man I’ve ever seen) and teamed them up with some of the best comedians on the Fringe to create two hours of comedy wrestling madness.

Team Kane, lead by Gimp fan Russell Kane (see how I slipped that in there?) saw the likes of Colin Hoult as Thwor, the God of Thwunder, teamed up with Dan “The Hammer” Head, and Patrick Monahan, who didn’t actually wrestle, but ran about a lot. They faced off against Team Riches, Adam Riches ‘Heel’ side, which included a surprisingly skilled Humphrey Ker as The Vinyl Solution and Tom ‘Explosenthal’ Rosenthal, who looked more like a gimp than any of us have ever done. Brendon Burns and Andrew Maxwell commentated, or at least took the piss out of Patrick Monahan. Matthew Crosby tried to keep order as did ring announcer Nick Helm.

The night culminated in Max performing what I believe is called a Senton Bomb, a sort of backflip off the top rope onto his opponents, and fracturing his left ankle.

The good guys won, the bad guys lost and the night was an unmitigated, mental, ridiculous success. Whatever happens to poor old Max for the rest of the run (I hear that his and Ivan’s show Holmes and Watson, which you should definitely go and see, contains a pretty vigorous Charlston. Not ideal with only one working foot) he can at least be happy with the fact that he has created what is sure to be an Edinburgh institution.

And we’re all genuinely proud to have been able to say “I was there”.


PS apparently my blogs read as if they were written by Alan Bennett. I don’t think he knows what a gimp is, though...

Monday, 15 August 2011


Hello again.

Last night's show was fun. It was a little weird knowing two of our comedy heroes; Stewart Lee and Russell Kane were both in the audience. At least we know the latter enjoyed it after his very sweet tweet about it... I shudder to think what Mr Lee made of us.

The dreaded 'fringe flu' is threatening to rear its ugly head and Richard's voice is already sounding rather croaky so it was straight back home to bed for us.

Today was mainly taken up with filming for BBC at Edinburgh Fringe 2011. We were there to film ten minutes at the BBC Comedy Presents show this afternoon, it was all very glamorous. Here's Paul in make-up... she really had her work cut out.

There tends to be a lot of waiting around when you do any filming, so we spent most of the afternoon in the green room and today, we saw something extraordinary.

We were sat backstage with Tom Deacon and Joel Dommet talking about our shows when who should stride in but David Hasselhoff. That's right, The Hoff. As if the moment wasn't surreal enough who should walk in next? Ze Hoff! That's right, A Hoff impersonator! We watched behind fits of giggles as Ze Hoff met his hero and The Hoff got slowly more and more weirded out... it was a full on Hoff-off. Tom managed to capture the moment on his phone here.

My favourite moment was when the real Hoff, before leaving the room, turned to his double and declared: "May The Hoff be with you" and with that, he was gone. Legend.

The actual gig went well too (anything's going to be a bit of an anti-climax when you've witnessed a live Hoff-off) and you should be able to see our bits on BBC Three soon... watch this space!

We're sold out again tonight, but it's worth saying last night we had our first night that didn't sell out. So if you happen to be a Pleasance Pass holder and have been turned away, this could be the week we sneak you in as traditionally the third week's a bit quieter... so you may be in luck!

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Just a quick note to say after an epic Silent Disco last night, we've been too hungover to blog today.

We're saving any energy we have for the show tonight, but in the mean-time I'd point you in the direction of yesterday's blog if you've not read it, for a tale of David's thundering stupidity.

Normal Service will resume tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Two nightmares in one night.

Helo. Injured David here.

So last night I did without doubt the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life.

I'd just put on a new black polo t'shirt I'd bought to wear for the show. As I was getting ready to leave I noticed that the collar was up. Not wanting to look any more pretentious than usual, or like I was trying to bring back the 'Cantona collar', I figured I'd need to iron it down. Most people would have taken the shirt off, gone to an ironing bored and done so. Not me. Not maverick Moon. I decided it would be a handy time saving -if incredibly dangerous- idea to just iron the collar down while I was still wearing the t'shirt.

I don't know how an idea like that could ever be considered good, but I pressed on. Literally. Sure enough, within a few seconds I'd missed the collar and managed to give myself a third degree burn with the iron. An hour before the show. Here is photographic documentation of my unparalleled idiocy:

Then to add insult to a very literal injury, last night's show was, to put it mildly, a bit of a nightmare. It was no-one's fault in particular but pretty much everything that could go wrong took it upon itself to do so. In style.

Some lowlights included the UV lights not working in our first UV scene. Have you ever performed an entirely visual sketch in total darkness before? No, nor had we, until last night. The reaction, as you'd expect, was utter confusion followed by a sympathetic (well, they had a go didn't they...) smattering of applause.

A number of sound cues played in the wrong order, and one of the videos we have between sketches decided not to play at all. This made a costume change between sketches impossibly quick for Matt so when he did almost make it onstage he caught his zimmer-frame in the curtain as he did so. It made for an absolutely chaotic finale. So much had gone wrong by this stage I think we were all openly laughing on stage. Oh well. We had to laugh about it afterwards... it was either that or cry.

Let's hope that's our nightmare show of the run done now. If you came last night we can only apologise! In the words of D:REAM...

Friday, 12 August 2011

A Good day

Today was a good day.

We were taken to lunch at The Outsider by our agents. It's a great restaurant on George IV Bridge, the food is properly delicious. Half way through the meal we heard we'd been given a Five Star review by Steve Bennett on Chortle, which really made our day.

Chortle's basically the UK's official comedy website and if you work in comedy you tend to check it most days. Steve is the editor and wasn't that keen on our first show two years ago, so it was great to hear we'd managed to win him over with this year's show.

Here's the ★★★★★ review. It describes us as "A gloriously funny spunkstorm of bad taste" which, as quotes go, is a pretty memorable one.

We then toddled off to do a podcast for Xfm then I saw The Beta Males: The Train Job which I thoroughly enjoyed. A great piece of narrative comedy performed by four seriously commited, seriously sweaty young guys. Highly recommended.

I must also mention probably the best show I've seen so far this Fringe. Bane 3. Joe Bone is the kind of performer you could watch forever and it wouldn't be long enough. He and his guitarist Ben have concluded the Bane trilogy with a show that, remarkably, is even better than the previous two. Funny as f***, brilliantly performed and constantly inventive. Go see it. Now.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

One big damn puzzler...

hey hey hey

its Matt!!!! you lucky things.

Yesterdays blog from Paul got a bit of a bad response, someone actually said that reading his blog was like reading an Alan Bennett Monologue, other people suggested we kick him out of the group altogether (me) so i am not going to talk too much i will keep it as snappy and interesting as possible.

So shows are going well blah blah blah. lets cut straight to the good the stuff, the stuff you really want to hear about, the real reason you started reading this, i am talking of course about Jigsaw puzzles.

Specifically the Jigsaw puzzle that we started and finished, 8hours later, yesterday. it is only 600 pieces but all the pieces are very oddly shaped. (as you can see from this typical piece) also it is a picture of earth which (assuming you are familiar with earth) you will know has a lot of sea that looks very similar to other sea.

So the puzzle fun began about 12:00 with just me and Rich and carried right through until 5 which we felt was a fairly good stint but very little was done and we knew we had a big night of puzzling ahead of us after the show. so we went and did our show and me and Rich both agreed that while the show went well it was a massive distraction from our puzzle building. so we all came straight home in a cab (rock and roll) ensuring we got a receipt (not rock and roll) and burst through our door me and rich headed straight for the puzzle, Dave and Paul poured the wine out that the Pleasance had kindly given us and Lee made himself a tuna Bap with a stone on the side (rock and roll).

Once the puzzle was about 50 pieces from completion at about 2:00 am who should suddenly show interest? the rest of the gimps! I was not happy but they outnumbered me, and rich (as always) was no help. so I let them join as long as i could put the last piece in. so the time came we had got to our last piece! this was it, with my palms sweating and everyone cheering me on I slowly slid a section of the Atlantic ocean into place and we were done! the room exploded into a frenzy of relief and excitement with a real sense of achievement, it felt like finally after 3 years of Edinburgh we had achieved something!.... then we looked up.... 16 Pieces! 16 Pieces were missing from the Jigsaw....i cried, Rich cried, Lee cried, Dave didn't care and Paul cried. another day in Edinburgh wasted.

The only good thing to come out of the day was the things we saw all of a great quality. between us we saw Lady Garden, Humphrey Kur, The Three Englishmen, David Reed and Colin Hoult. all very different and interesting shows that are definitely worth seeing this year.


Matt "the puzzle" Ralph.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Food, glorious food...

We had possibly the most uneventful day in LNGF's Fringe history yesterday. A long overdue early night/lie in, coupled with the fact that we couldn't get in to any shows because everything was sold out and a performance last night that we felt went fine means there's nothing much to write about.

So instead, let's talk about something else that takes over Edinburgh-based peoples lives in August. Food.

I have never eaten so much crap in my entire life. I haven't had a vegetable in two weeks, unless you count the obligatory post show chips, on which we smother a variety of equally unhealthy liquids. I, being a Northerner at heart, always opt for gravy. Dave, on the other hand, goes for the mysterious substance found only in Edinburgh and known only as "soss" (sauce, in English).

Matt is certainly able to pack it away duri

ng the Fringe. I remember last year, when we shared a bedroom (and a bed) sitting up at four in the morning, watching aghast as he demolished TWO Rustlers microwaveable burgers, a huge packet of kettle chips and an entire Victoria sponge, all washed down with a litre of Coke. And when he had crammed the last slice of sponge in, he rolled over, turned off the light and went to sleep, as his stomach went into overtime.

One Fringe habit we always break is the group meal. It's nice before a show to all get together, sit down and eat a meal as a family. It relaxes us and gets us focused for the evening ahead. We also usually take it in turns to cook and wash up each day (except Richard, who, in reference to the mountain of washing up he had failed to deal with three days running, once uttered the now legendary phrase "Well, as long as it gets done.") Inevitably, however, when we begin seeing shows at different times of day and as friends and family come up to visit, the group splinters and the customary gimp Chillis/Bologneses become fewer and fewer. Cheers, Rich.

Another Fringe favourite is the Tatty Dog, a sausage wrapped in mash and deep fried. Actually more appetising than it sounds. We're also a stones throw from a shop called Choco Latte, the most ridiculously chocolate stuffed shop I've ever set foot in. Everything is covered in melted chocolate and chopped up Mars Bars. I had seven pints and two Jaeger bombs last night, more than enough for a lightweight like me, and yet felt better this morning than I did half an hour after eating three quarters of the muffin I bought from that shop. So nice, but so sickening.

Well, probably better wrap things up now. Just time to mention Tizzle, who is a dab hand at a Bolognese. Me, Matt, Rich and Lee are all pretty terrible in the kitchen, hence the dash on our allocated nights to put the frozen pizzas in the oven and claim we've cooked dinner. However, I suppose it would only be fair of me to say Dave is the best cook, as he usually does most of the cooking (and he's just made me a bacon sandwich in exchange for writing this blog).

It was a very good sandwich.


PS- A nice ★★★★ review from Edinburgh Festivals Magazine here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Minds elsewhere

Afternoon all.

It was a great to wake up yesterday feeling like we finally had a suitable ending for the show (even if this feeling was accompanied by a splitting headache and Palmyra wrap sauce round our mouths.) But it was 2 for 1 day and we were determined to make the most of it.

The definite highlight of yesterday was the double act Totally Tom on at the Underbelly. I first became aware of their writing via their excellent YouTube video series High Rennaisance Man and David's been going on about them ever since we gigged with them earlier in the year. Sure enough, they didn't disappoint. Their characterisation was spot on with the 21st Birthday speech sketch was a particular highlight. Catch them as soon as you can, they are going to be massive.

Our show went pretty well - now we have the order sorted, we can start to relax and enjoy it more.

When we got back to the flat we tuned into the news for the first time this fringe and watched the heartbreaking images of London in flames and chaos. London is home for all of the gimps and we all suddenly felt very far away. It is difficult to articulate the atmosphere at the fringe but the insulated bubble has definitely been burst and everyone is feeling very concerned for those we've left behind and for London in general. This EdinburghIsFunny Article sums up the feeling up here very well. We all really hope some calm returns to London and that everyone is safe.

In slightly happier news, we got our first paper review today and it was a lovely one from the Edinburgh Evening News. "Their sheer verbal, physical and visual inventiveness leaves you breathless" ★★★★


Monday, 8 August 2011

That's more like it.

Great show last night. Really, really enjoyed it. The audience were bang up for it from the start and we felt like we did as slick a show as we could have hoped for. Let's hope we keep it up and the audiences continue to be as full and enthusiastic as last night!

The elusive early night still hasn't materialised yet... it was the legendary Matt Tizzle's last show before he heads back to London for his other job so we took him out and saw him off in style, then came home and ate leftover pizza at 4am.

Today we all had a lie in and have resolved to finally get out there and see some shows. I broke my fringe duck yesterday with Humphrey Ker's show Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! A seemingly effortless yet brilliant bit of storytelling, and really, really funny too. Highly recommended.

Now off to take advantage of 2for1 day and see some bloody shows!


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Weirdest gig ever.

Last night.

How to describe last night.

Let me start at the beginning. We noticed in our diary that we were supposed to be doing a late night show elsewhere. Not too bad we thought. We got to the venue. It was the same venue as our now legendary failure of a gig from last year.

Ok we thought. A good chance to put some ghosts to bed. Great. It'll be fun.

I don't think the word fun was uttered all night.

There were 14 acts on. That's right, 14 of them. It was as though they had got a copy of the brochure, set fire to it and rifled through the ashes to see what kind of disjointed show could be put together. And then decided to put us on 12th.

There were Shakespearean improvisers, there were singers in drag, there were acrobats and there was Paul Daniels.

That's the kind of night we were looking at. It was being held together by two performers who, in all fairness, seemed to have less idea what was going on then the performers did.

The show went up at about half past one and I can safely say the audience were outnumbered by the acts at about three to one. Acts were dropping out left right and centre. We felt too bad to leave so we tried to soldier on as things got weirder and weirder. This picture was taken of us at the interval.

The best thing about the photo was we asked the bar man who took it if it was ok and he said yes.


We look like we've been taken through a hazy fog. Or through a window. Or in the 1800's.

This guy was certainly no Mario Testino.

By this point we were falling apart. David had eaten no less than five packets of crisps. He was trying to overdose on potatoey badness to get him out of there.

No luck.

It was almost our time to go on. Things couldn't have got any weirder.

Then a man walked in wearing a full Dorothy from Wizard of Oz costume.

Five gimp jaws dropped as the only sounds in the room were coming from a man murdering a musical classic and the constant friction of Judy Garland spinning in her grave.

Five minutes that we will never get back later and we were on. Fuck it we thought, let's do the bestiality song! They definitely weren't the crowd for it but by this point we were beyond caring.

It went pretty well! We did a good version and the people seemed to go with it. A good time to escape. They then decided to interview Matt and Paul. Here is a sample of that interview:

Weird woman host: "There are so many words. How do you remember them?"

Paul: "That's my job?"


Weird guy host: "You don't really do much do you?"

Matt: "Erm...thanks?"

Needless to say we then grabbed our coats, jumped in a taxi and never looked back.

And that's the tale of our terrible gig (number one!).

Did we exorcise the demons of last year?

Well the gig was just as bad this year.

At least this time it wasn't our fault!

Am off to try and buy a Judy Garland costume. If you can't beat them...


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Late nights, early mornings...

Paul, here.

6.15. AM. In the morning. That's what time we got in last night. The rock n' roll lifestyle of sketch comedians, eh?

The show had gone well, and straight after we had to set up for The Great Big Sketch Off, hosted by Lee. Happily, it was a Great Big success, raising a load of cash for charity and won by our very own Matt Ralph, along with The Three Englishmen's Tom Hensby, Max Olesker from Max and Ivan and Paul Dunn from Don't Trust Salmon (all shows definitely worth checking out by the way!)

Then it was off to the Courtyard to bid farewell to our director, Steve. Last year, his final night at the fringe involved about ten pints of Guinness, a heated political debate and a piggy back that nearly broke Matt's ribcage. Fortunately, this was a much more relaxed affair, and we stayed on the balcony at the Loft bar until it got light and depressing.

We were up at eleven (look, it's early for Edinburgh...), having relay showers, before heading to the Dome for drinks with our agents Phil McIntyre's acts and street team, all lovely people and a great way to work off the hangover.

Finally started seeing shows today. Caught The Beta Males and Zeus' Pamphlet, both great shows definitely worth seeing, and we're very much looking forward to seeing Lee appearing in Gimp-favourite Adam Riches' show every day of the Fringe!

So that's the guff out of the way. What you really want to know is just how many nicknames do I have now? I have to say it's getting ridiculous now, with new ones being added every day. So, just for you, I have decided to list all the ones I can think of...

Biggles, Baggles, Boggles, Bagglesworth, Bigglesworth, Biggleswade, Biggleton, Bigglepops, Baggleton, Baggins, Pauly Pauly Pigglepops, Snatchy, Thatchy, Patchy, Streaky, Leaky, Beaky, Beaker, Piggy, Pagu, Milky, Milky Biggin, the Milkman, Slugger, Slugworth, Sneaky Biggin, Champ.

If anyone can match that, there's a very special prize in store...


Friday, 5 August 2011

Second show syndrome


We had our second show last night and it was our first sell out, which was lovely.

It didn't feel like our best show as we were having some technical issues (the dreaded projector failure...) that needed fixing so we went up a bit late. We'd also swapped things around in the running order and we feel like we're still looking for the best version of the show and not quite found it yet. But that's what these previews are all about and after our last one tonight I'm sure we'll have the show locked down.

It tends to take about four or five performaces for us to hit our stride at the Fringe, but having full and enthusiastc houses is making things a lot easier. Most of these changes aren't things an audience would really notice, it's more about us tweaking and re-working until we feel like we've found the perfect version of the show, so we're doing it justice. Cos it is a show we're immensely proud of.

All this extra work means we still haven't seen any other shows yet, which we need to rectify as soon as we can as there's so many brilliant acts, old and new, that we're desperate to see this year. (Sheeps, Totally Tom, Colin Hoult, McNeil & Pamphilon, James Acaster... to name just a few).

Finally, a little plug. After tonight's show three of us are taking part in Lee's brainchild The Great Big Sketch Off which will be a fun, if under-rehearsed sketch comedy extravaganza. Tickets are still available if you fancy seeing your favourite sketch teams mixed up into random groups and given a day to come up with ten minutes of new material, or fall flat on their faces. Either way it'll be entertaining.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The First Night...

So the first show went surprisingly well for a first night! Nice, big crowd and most of the sketches and songs seemed to work.

As we're still previewing for another two nights (tickets only a fiver!) we're still in the finding our gimp feet stage so we're rehearsing and tweaking this afternoon: playing with running orders, finding new punchlines, editing Paul out of the show, etc. But I reckon it was about a 7/10, which is good for a first night.

After the show, once we'd towelled ourselves down from the sweat drenching we'd given ourselves over the previous hour, the euphoria or surviving the first show carried us to the Just the Tonic party at The Caves, where we met up with the lovely Shappi Khorsandi, friend of the gimps and force to be reckoned with on the dance floor.

Matt Tizzle our techie was on a mission, and he quickly reached 100% humidity and 120% proof. My ears are still ringing this morning, not from the music... but from Tizzle's unique interpretation of previously popular floor-fillers.

To anyone we saw last night, we're sorry.

That's all.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Two days in Edinburgh and we're already straight into the swing of things. Sleeping very little... panicking about the show... drinking till late... and getting soaked in the rain. But it's great to be back.

Yesterday we had a mammoth tech run which, while stressful, gave a good indication of how the show will run in the venue. Our show this year is much, much more technical than last year's which brings all kinds of new and head-scratching challenges and nervous clock-watching in the tech run. Luckily we have our trustee technical gimp Matt Tizzle with us for the first week (before he returns to London as he has "a dog"... "a wife" and "a life", apparently). The staff at our venue were also massively helpful and accommodating, so a big thank you to the Pleasance Above team.

Then we set off on the traditional props and costume buying mission, raiding all the pound shops and bargain stores Edinburgh has to offer. We managed to find a baby that looks exactly like Matt, so we bought it. As you do. I can't decide who looks more like Matt now, the baby or himself...?

In the evening Steve our legendary director took us all out for a curry, after which we came home and blocked all the toilets. (sorry)

The looming deadline is now very much in sight and whatever happens, the show has to be ready by tomorrow. Our first night. 10:30pm Pleasance Courtyard. Hope to see some of you there...

Good luck everybody.