Edinburgh Festival '99: Diary - Al Murray - comedian

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The Independent Culture
THIS YEAR is my 10th Fringe Festival in 12 years (the other two years I had a life or something). It sounds like a lot but there are people who have been coming since the dawn of time. And that's the thing about the Fringe, it never changes. Oh, it gets bigger and busier and more successful, but so many people just go on and on about how it isn't what it was. The first week you can't move for people saying it needs more grass roots opera workshops. Then there is the usual refrain that comedy has got "too big" - whatever that means - as if the audience has somehow made the rather dreadful and ill-informed decision to go out and have a laugh, poor lost souls. This argument always fails to address the fact that the Tattoo is the only show in Edinburgh that sells out from start to finish.

This strikes me as a terrible shame. The Fringe is a bastion of meritocracy, you pay your Fringe fee and then you're in. It doesn't matter what you do, there you are, part of the greatest show on earth. People put on Look Back In Anger with 18 year olds and don't sell a single ticket. But they just don't care. They go to the Festival out of love, hoping for a shot at the title role.

That's what never changes about it and that's why I'm here again this year.