ED2010 BEST BITS: Our first guest editor of 2010, Brendon Burns, is back to tell us all about being famous at the Fringe
I know why we do it.
Why hundreds of acts fork out thousands of pounds to put on a show at the Fringe each year. Whilst it’s the single greatest way to build an audience and hone our craft that I can think of, underneath all the empty claims of it being about the art, the real motivation for the comedic ego is that we can delude ourselves that we’re famous for a month. We can see our picture on posters everywhere we turn, or, more candidly, everywhere we seek them out.
I’m not famous. I know people that are and I’m not it. Yet if I set foot in my venue after hours, staff memebers are apologising for not knowing who I am. Because they’re part of the illusion. But in the words of Charlton Heston, if you have to tell someone who you are then you’re no one.
If I’m within the easily defined region around the Pleasance Dome, the cow and the Gilded Balloon I’m the fucking man baby. People give me friendly nods. I’m signing clothing, holding babies and grimacing like a tit at camera phones. But If I wander anywhere near the Assembly Rooms people throw spare change at me. If you ever delude yourself you’re famous in Edinburgh you should try walking to the other side of it.
I love that this city reminds me of that fact every year. On my very first day, after settling into my flat, I hailed a cab to my venue. The cabbie asked, “So are you up here for the Festival?”
“Aye” I replied. For some reason I always adopt the local colloquialisms on my first cab ride in a flailing attempt to not be taken on a ramblers route.
“Oh right what do you do?” he asked
“I’m a comedian” I said. His eyes lit up.
“Oh! Oh! I’ll tell ye who ah like. I’ll tell ye who ah like.. That, Brendon Burrrrrrns”. He rolled the ‘r’s Scottishly.
I snickered casually like a cock. I’ve lost some hair since last year and I’ve taken to wearing my glasses everywhere, so I figured he just hadn’t recognised me.
“Bollocks, are ye fuck”
“Yeah I am”
“Listen to my voice – it’s me”
Then, oddly enough, I did an impression of me. Which sounds more like Terry Alderton’s impression of me. He refused to believe I was me and then started citing my act at me. Odder still I didn’t recognise a lick of it.
“That’s not one of mine” I interrupted as he was rambling on about something about knees. “He does, he does this thing about knees. You’ve got to catch him” he continued, still maintaining that I wasn’t me.
Just then we went past one of my posters in which I’m painted blue as Vishnu with four arms.
“Look there I am!” I declared
“Bollocks. You’re nay blue”
He had me there. I am not blue. Nor do I have four arms as I sit suspended in space.
“No I’m not blue” I surrendered.
Further along, we passed a poster for Jason Byrne’s show. The driver pointed and declared, “Ah no. Jason Byrne! That’s who I mean” And without skipping a beat he turned to me and said with zero tongue-in-cheek, “Who’re you again?”
So there. I’m not famous and neither are you. Jason Byrne is. And even he gets mistaken for me… by people that don’t know who I am. So mind your frigging manners Fringe dwellers. You’re not famous. You’re just on a poster. That you fucking paid for.
Brendon Burns’ show ‘Y’Know – Love n God n Metaphysics n Shit’ was performed at the Udderbelly during Fringe 2010.