Rhod Gilbert: 'The worst thing about Edinburgh is the relentless grind'

My Edinburgh
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The Independent Culture

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is hell. I can't switch off until 6am in the morning. I get a couple of hours sleep at night – even with a sleeping pill. The minute I wake up, I'm in this weird headspace. I have to remember 15,000 words every night for 28 performances.

The worst thing about Edinburgh is the relentless grind. It's a slog to perform for three-and-a-half weeks. You get the Edinburgh stalwarts who go every year and embrace it, but some of us see it as Groundhog Day and would happily chop the length of it in half.

The best thing about Edinburgh is the challenge of getting through it. I must get some kind of masochistic pleasure out of it. There are plenty of hidden gems to see, too. Every year I promise myself I'll make an effort but I never do. I'm too focused on my own stuff. I will go along to see a few comedians, including Daniel Kitson and Stewart Lee. I also like to do things outside of the festival like visit art galleries, to escape the world of booze and comedy.

This year I've got a house with a garden. Everybody stays in flats for the Fringe and you can feel very cooped up. My girlfriend and friends are coming to stay throughout the month, so it's good that we can hang out in the garden.

My show this year, Rhod Gilbert and the Cat that Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst, follows on from last year's show, Rhod Gilbert and the Award-Winning Mince Pie, when I had a nervous breakdown over a mince pie. This is my fifth time performing a solo show. I don't think it gets easier, but you do get older and wiser. One thing I don't do anymore is read my reviews. I used to wait on every word and that was a killer; there was always lots of quotes running through my mind.

'Rhod Gilbert and the Cat that Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst', Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 4472), 5 to 31 August (not 12 & 19) with extra shows at the Pleasance Grand on 22 & 29 August