Edinburgh Fringe: Frankie Boyle says a lot of performers at ‘elitist’ festival are ‘parasites’

‘Most of the people you want to hear from can’t come here,’ comic said

Isobel Lewis
Friday 12 August 2022 09:01 BST
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Frankie Boyle says lots of performers at Edinburgh Fringe are 'parasites'

Frankie Boyle has said that many of the acts performing at the Edinburgh Fringe are “parasites” as he discussed elitism within the festival.

The annual arts festival returned to the Scottish capital this August, with more than 3,000 acts performing.

Appearing in the BBC documentary The Fringe, Fame and Me this week, comedian Boyle said that, while the Fringe had produced “a lot of great comedy”, it was a “very middle class thing” and unrepresentative of the larger comedy landscape.

“Think of how much more it could be if it was democratised, if you actually had voices from all the different parts of the country, if you actually had a proper representation of class and race,” he said.

Referencing the huge financial losses made by many performers at the festival, Boyle continued: “That needs to change if you’re going to have any kind of representation or if this is going to be worthwhile.

“Most of the people you want to hear from can’t come here and lots of the people who are here bringing those shows are parasites.”

Performing at the Edinburgh Fringe can be hugely expensive for acts, with artists having to pay to appear in the Fringe programme as well as venue and marketing fees.

Performers on the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Fringe this week

The housing crisis in the city has also meant that artists are spending large amounts of money on accommodation costs.

Elsewhere in the documentary, Boyle spoke at length about how “even middle class doesn’t quite cover it” when discussing the Fringe anymore.

“A lot of these people, your standard Fringe act, they’ll have gone to public school, they’ll have gone to Oxbridge.

“If you’ve done that and then you get your own TV show or whatever it is, you’re not in the middle of any kind of experience of the average British person. You’re part of an elite.”

The Fringe, Fame and Me is on BBC iPlayer now.

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