My Edinburgh: Bo Burnham on changing venues and the Golden Age of the Fringe


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The Independent Culture

What a shame. A lot has changed at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2010 (the last year I was here). Three years can do foul damage to things like comedy festivals and milk. I'm sure most of you reading this are too young to remember the year of 2010, but I can assure you, those were the good ol' days.

Back in 2010, there was none of the disgusting corporate meddling that you see in today's festival. The comedy awards, rather than being sponsored by some giant corporation, were sponsored by a single, very generous man named Foster. Comedians supported each other back in 2010. I remember fellow comedian Stewart Lee calling me a "knob". Now, I'm American, and in America we don't have the nickname "knob", but I assume it refers to how I always do my job well, like a doorknob.

And the venues, OH THE VENUES! How they have changed (and changed for the worse, duh). The Assembly Rooms were all individually stacked on top of one another. And I don't mean they were stacked in pairs, I'm talking one single stack of rooms towering into the Edinburgh sky if you can believe it - with a sturdy rope ladder on the outside for the punters.

The Gilded Balloon was literally a giant gilded balloon – a giant hot-air balloon covered in gold leaf. The Pleasance Dome and Courtyard were wastelands– we called them the "salt flats" of comedy back then. Natives to the Pleasance would grab your ankles, pleading for water, as you walked to your gig. True rock star stuff.

The Golden Age of the Fringe is behind us. Way behind us. Back in a time when men were men and just the first Hangover movie had come out. 2010, I miss you.

'Bo Burnham: What?', Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 6550) to 19 August

Bo Burnham's Must-Sees

Claudia O'Doherty: Pioneer (Pleasance Courtyard, 9.50pm), a spectacularly funny and inventive hour of comedy.