Comedy blog

20 things I wish I’d known on my first day at the Edinburgh Fringe

Comedy blogger and Edinburgh Fringe fan Imogen Sebba takes us through 20 things she wishes she knew on her first day at the Festival

1. Taking someone’s flyer does not count as a contractual obligation to see their show.*

* However, if you are going to have a proper conversation with a flyerer, promise to see their show, and then not turn up, you will inevitably bump into them every day for the rest of your time there and it will be pretty damn awkward.

2. All umbrellas are equal in their uselessness. Don’t bother spending more on a ‘good quality’ one; no such thing exists

umbrella rubbish bin

This is what happens to all Fringe umbrellas

3. There is nothing wrong with seeing a show on your own (unless you are literally the only person in the audience)

4. If someone is in full stage make-up and costume on the Royal Mile, it doesn’t make them interesting or their show different. The only thing it makes them is desperate/often a bit of a dick.

fringe twats


5. A free badge is not a good enough reason to see a show. (Free food and/or alcohol, however, most definitely are).

6. Advance ticket booking is rarely essential.

7. Read the review, not the star rating

8. Get a map. Use it. And leave more than 15 minutes between shows until you’ve memorised it.

Edinburgh Fringe labyrinth

Edinburgh is a confusing city

9. There’s some weird thing going on to do with trams in Edinburgh. You don’t have to know what’s happening exactly – just if it comes up, get on board (with the joke, not the tram)

10. You will haemorrhage money. Money will disappear from your life faster than you ever thought possible. For a couple of days you might think you can survive without scouting out half price deals and offers. Do not labour under this delusion for too long

11. A bottle of Bulmers’ brightly coloured cider is approximately 10% bigger than the size of your bladder. Remember this when choosing a drink to take into a show

bulmers bladder

What one wins?

12. Be prepared for your sleep cycle to change drastically. And your eating habits. And your aptitude at walking up hills.

13. You will be dressed impractically for the weather at least once a day. It is perfectly reasonable to be queuing to go into a show under an umbrella and leave a show needing to apply suncream

14. Talking to strangers is a lot less uncomfortable here than anywhere else in the world. If you need an icebreaker there’s nothing better than ‘what have you seen that’s good?’

15. You have nothing to lose with a free show except just under an hour of your time.

16. Don’t offer any opinion on a show you saw when you were hungover.

17. There’ll be lots of people here that you know. If a friend you haven’t seen in ages suggests going for a drink one evening, then you say yes.

18. The fact that you saw someone on Mock The Week that one time doesn’t guarantee that their show is going to be any good.

chris ramsey edinburgh fringe

Chris Ramsey

19. If you don’t experience some unexpected on stage nudity, you won’t experience the Fringe.

20. This is the first day of the best month of your life, so get out of the hostel and bloody well enjoy it.

Imogen Sebba is a comedy fan who blogs at Jokeback Mountain

New to the Edinburgh Fringe and unsure what to see? Take a look at Laugh Out London’s comedy recommendations:

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