ED2014 Columns ED2014 Comedy ED2014 Week3 Edition

Dane Baptiste: Ten things to do at the Fringe when you’re dead (that is, you died on stage)

By | Published on Monday 18 August 2014

So every comedian’s been there. The night you died on stage. But you know what, you can survive it. You will survive it.

Dane Baptiste

And Dane Baptiste has some tips for doing just that…

1. Drink
This is the other great comedian pastime of course, other than doing gigs in a converted butcher shop for a room full of fruitarians and vegans. You’ve died, now have fun and embalm yourself.

2. Eat
Recharge and carb load, it’s a marathon not a race up here. Edinburgh accommodates both all types of comedy and all the comfort/binge eating you could imagine. You can famously have everything deep-fried here. Pizza, Mar Bars, your dignity. Stuff your face, and then why not wash those trans-fats down with some alcohol, because you could use it.

3. Gig!
Usually you have to wait at least a day, maybe a week, to regain your confidence on the normal circuit; here, you can get back on the horse within the hour. No-one would ever know that you’ve died, as you can get back on stage before rigor mortis sets in on that material. Try to revive it straight away, maybe the Portuguese Girl Scouts at the hostel gig weren’t the target audiences for that bit after all.

4. Remember the terrain
This beautiful historic city is a great tourist destination, but also serves the fattiest snacks I’ve ever known and alcohol all day long, all in an area that boasts the most hills I’ve ever seen. After travelling up and down these hills, audiences might not be up for it! Don’t worry if you get a crowd that seem to be just gawking, they’re probably just getting their breath back.

5. Walk it off
Edinburgh is a nice city full of interesting characters. Observe them all and they could possibly be part of a newer, more socially aware piece of material. Also have a look around some of those dark alleyways. There are plenty of secluded spots for a recently deceased comedian to self-medicate, meltdown or cry in the foetal position. Those other people in the alley, they were comedians, just like you.

6. Suck it up
Remember that this is comedy boot camp, and you’re in the shit now, marine! There will be no sympathy here, not in the comedy equivalent of Vietnam (by which, I mean, some amazing art will be created by people detailing their experiences here, but some people will just go crazy, and others will go home but leave a part of themselves behind). That’s how it works, love it! Semper fi.

7. Forget
You are in a place where drinking happens all day long and you know what audience-plus-alcohol equals for comedians – a shit time. Why should they have all the fun? Maybe you could use a drink. Let’s drown that pain in booze until you don’t even remember the gig. Perfect!

8. Drink
No? Fine, I’ll have one in your honour; I know I’ve had a tough time here. No, I DON’T have a problem, I just died, and now I’m toasting my death and all of my comrades that have died before me.

9. Learn
Even in the biggest international comedy and arts festival, a gig is still a gig, and you can get something from every show that you do. Maybe use those death throes to allow your comedy life to flash before your eyes. Maybe you’ve always known you would die this way; do it with dignity. Who wants to live forever on stage? All of us, but then we’d have to be robots competing against other robots, and I think ‘Robot Wars’ is already a thing.

10. Laugh
Because it’s a comedy festival, and you’ve bankrupted yourself to come up here. You’ve been living on a diet of tobacco, alcohol and pizza, and have regressed to the lifestyle of a student at Fresher’s Week with that first instalment of the loan. All your other horny comedy friends are up here doing the same thing, add to the mix the finest in narcotics (I don’t know nothing about nothing, police) and really, death was inevitable. Better it be on stage, where you know you can recover. If all the fun was off stage, you probably wouldn’t last longer than the month!

‘Dane Baptiste: Citizen Dane’ was performed at the Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

LINKS: www.danebaptiste.co.uk