Edinburgh Festival: Diary

Vic Henley, comedian
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I ARRIVED with great expectation for my first Edinburgh Fringe Festival last Thursday. This was one of several "firsts" that day. First Fringe Festival. First time in this city. First time in Scotland. I was virginal. Then the drinking started. I can now safely say that I don't know if I'll be alive by the end of the month. So when my publicist rang me up (note the vernacular) andtold me The Independent wanted a piece from a first-timer, I was very happy because holding a pen keeps at least one of my hands from shaking.

Did I mention that I'm an American comedian? I will pause here briefly to feel the love. Now some reflections on being here.

Right off the bat I begin to feel inadequate. I see that they've compared me with Bill Hicks on my poster. Great. Why not include Richard Pryor and George Carlin, too? Then the show starts and my fears vanish. The strangest procession of actors, singers, artists, mimes, clowns, jugglers and stilt-walkers give excerpts from their shows. I am transfixed. What I do learn is that vegetables are popular. Root vegetables in particular. Chopping them, juggling them or simply wearing them on your head - you people love a turnip gag. As far as making you laugh, I've really enjoyed feeling the Scottish hatred as opposed to the London hatred. The people here are more quaint. So I guess 15,347 shows are not enough. More shows, more vegetables - and more love for the septic hillbilly.

Vic Henley (good ol' boy from Alabama) is at the Assembly Rooms, Venue 3, 8.45pm, pounds 9-pounds 10, to 29 Aug