My Edinburgh: Simon Munnery, comedian

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Returning T' Edinburgh fer Ye Twenty-Fife Yer. It's good to be back "They say you play here twice in your career. Once on the way up. Once on the way down. Great to be back." So runs Ian Macpherson's most famous joke, so famous it has almost entered the ether and lost its author and would do were it not for its author's tiger-like resolve. I think part of its sublime power rests in that simple, concise, well-worn yet still mysterious phrase. Is it good to be back? Is it? To come back you must have been away; there must have been some reason why you left; perhaps you were looking for something, perhaps you went to get some sugar. Did you find it? Did you bring any back with you? We're completely out. Or is life like a merry-go-round, where you keep leaving and returning to the same spot without volition over and over again? Perhaps there was volition once, but now just habit.

Even so it may as well be good to be back; at least you recognise where you are, you're not that far gone. The Fringe is so many things, I won't list them all now. It's a testbed and a trade fair, that's all of them. Some bring the bones of a show and hope to add flesh, others the polished carcass and hope to impress. Me, I digress.

Not just now but as a way of life. I get distracted, I follow my nose, teacherless, terrified. I really don't know what I'm doing. I've just an inkling, a tiny inkling, but that's enough. It's good to be back.

'Simon Munnery: Hats Off to the 101ers... And Other Material', The Stand (0131 558 7272) to 29 August; Simon Munnery's pop-up restaurant, La Concepta, is all around Edinburgh to 28 August (

Simon Munnery's must-see

I have no choice but to recommend seeing Andy Zaltzman. He's standing behind me with an expression I've never seen before on any human face. Who else to see? Go see yourself in a mirror. Hilarious!