How to survive the Edinburgh Fringe: 10 tips from comedians

We asked ten tip-top comedians to give us their ten top tips for getting the most out of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We’ve also provided links to their shows since we are pretty sure you’ll have a stinking great time at their gigs. If you’re in Edinburgh, check them out!


John Robertson

First up, only see comedians. Musicians and actors make a lot of money working at KFC, so we’re the ones who really need your support. Then, only see comedians doing two shows, the rest are too lazy and selfish to bring joy for 1/4 of a normal person’s work day.

Then, only see comedians with long hair, because it takes us longer to get ready (I look wild, but I shampoo often). Then only see me, since I’ve got two shows and long hair and once I’m done you’ll be so tired from laughing you’ll only have enough energy to fall asleep watching serious theatre, which is good, that’s what it’s for.

John Robertson: Arena Spectacular! is at The Stand Comedy Club 2, and John Robertson: The Dark Room is at Underbelly, Cowgate.


Brendon Burns

Leave but do so quietly. If you hate a comedy show, you’re not doing anyone or yourself any favours by staying – with your folded arms and grumpy face, you’re bumming everyone out.

You are right though: there was a thousand things you could have gone to instead. But it’s not like we’re some giant big budget movie that spent 100 million dollars ruining your favourite comic book when we could probably feed a West African nation.

We’re just a fool with a microphone trying to make you laugh and failing. So leave quietly. You wouldn’t leave a play yelling “you can’t act and everyone in this room is obviously gullible”. So maybe don’t do it at a comedy show either?

Brendon Burns: Dumb White Guy is at Liquid Room Annexe and Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Do Comedy and Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches! is at the Pleasance Dome.


Ria Lina

The first thing you HAVE to do is find a room with no windows. Or even better a whole flat built into the vaults under Edinburgh, because during the Fringe day is night and night is night; things don’t ramp up till 12pm and definitely don’t finish before 3am, but usually 5am, and the sun will just confuse you!

Next, get the Fringe App. This is the most amazing tool for seeing as many shows as possible by using the ‘Nearby Now’ function. That way you can stumble from ‘unknown-as-yet-to-be-discovered-delight’ to ‘unknown-for-a-reason’ as quickly as possible without wasting time thinking about it. And don’t stress about seeing the big shows with the big names – these are the shows that will tour during the year.

Focus on the little ones, so you can later say: “I saw them when…”

Ria Lina: Dear Daughter is at Gilded Balloon Teviot

Danielle Ward

Do something a bit selfish and indulgent. The fringe is a tough slog.

It’s a month in a self-obsessed bubble if you are a performer or it’s the least relaxing holiday outside of a mini break to Beirut if you are an audience member. So get an express manicure, a head massage, even just a dead fancy cake from Hendersons. Not forgetting the cheapest lovely thing you can do for yourself; a frisky fro-yo on the meadows whilst wearing noise cancelling headphones. Three minutes of bliss.

Danielle Ward: Seventeen is at Just the Tonic at The Caves


Alison Thea-Skot

Pull your boots on, grab a rain mac and swagger down the length of Cowgate. Once there, hurl yourself through the gauntlet of acts ready to sell you their show, pick up a crystal …. oh wait it’s not Crystal Maze …. grab a flyer and head in to one of the myriad venues. Take a chance, the Fringe is best enjoyed shaken not reserved. Like a big dice covered in beer and comedians dreams. Whatever you choose, you’ll definitely have a messy story to tell.

Alison Thea-Skot: It’s Thea-Skot in here (so take off all your clothes) is at Cowgatehead


Holly Burn

Be yourself. Don’t do what I did last year and spend all month – day and night, on stage and off in character. #notasfunasitsounds

Don’t end up with nowhere to live, as I did, because your flat is condemned by the fire brigade half way through August and you end up in the middle of a court case. #wewon!

Don’t overdo it early on and go big on the Berocca and the health kicks.  #luminouswee

Do nice non fringe things like swimming, day trips out of Edinburgh and speaking to people outside of the fringe to remind yourself it’s not all about you. #eventhoughitis

Holly Burn: I Am Special is at Underbelly Med Quad


Jinx Yeo

Watch shows by performers you’ve never heard of. You can always catch big-name acts when they’re on tour – but the Fringe is an opportunity to discover relatively-unknown talents from all over the world (whom you’d usually never get to watch). And many of them are performing with the Free Festival / Free Fringe, so you can catch them risk-free.

Last year I visited the Fringe as an audience member (instead of a performer), and I took my own advice. I watched lots of free shows – plus some paid ones – and was pleasantly surprised to find the free shows were of comparable quality. Such that I happily gave voluntary donations at the end of the free shows to support those artists.

Jinx Yeo: A+ Underachiever is at Laughing Horse @ Southside Social


Tim Renkow

My top tip for this year’s Fringe is to go to the Mosque Kitchen, because it is delicious and has a lot of food. When the Fringe becomes too much, instead of killing yourself, you should treat yourself to the Mosque Kitchen.

It is the type of food your mum used to make, provided that your mum was South Asian. On second thoughts, it’s probably not like the food your mum used to make. Because you’re British. So your mum used to make really bad food. So it’s better than the food your mum made.

Tim Renkow: King of the Tramps is at Heroes @ The Hive


Marny Godden

Go where your heart takes you, if it leads you off the beaten track down an odd looking alley you may find exactly what you’re looking for, rather than planning every show in advance. Make sure you eat a jacket potato at least once from the lovely potato shop on Cockburn Street. The fringe is all about taking risks for us and you, we should all be getting out of our comfort zones so try a show you wouldn’t normally go for. Even if you hate it, it’s better than something you already tasted in life. It may lead to something you love too.

Marny Godden: Where’s John’s Porridge Bowl? is at Heroes @ The Hive


Tom Neenan

One word, Netflix. I know it’s basically blasphemous to be at the center of the largest arts festival in the world and have your head buried in an episode of Pretty Little Liars but it really helps.

Of course you should see Free Fringe shows, take a punt on a random flyer you’ve found in a puddle and turn up at a venue and just see what’s on, but that’s exhausting. No performer wants someone sleeping in their show. Cramming in too many shows can cause fatigue, so why not give yourself a break, catch up with The Gilmore Girls and head out energised and ready to laugh. Loudly. Also keep hydrated.

Tom Neenan: Vaudeville is at Underbelly Med Quad


About Chris ShowSpot

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At ShowSpot we cover Comedy Shows, Videos, Reviews & have plans for much more so watch this space! Chris is our lead writer, bringing you the funny info since... well since he started bringing you the funny info.

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