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Jason Cook: Celebrating broken flyerers

By | Published on Thursday 21 August 2014

Veteran Edinburgh type Jason Cook – Clatterschenkfieternmaus alumnus and creator of TV’s ‘Hebburn’ – back this year with his latest show ‘Broken’, surveys the desolate Fringe landscape for one particular type of downtrodden participant.


All hail the flyerer…

And so, we have crested the mountain of the Festival and are happily skiing down the other side to the last weekend, boozes, fond farewells, optimism for next year and the uplifting feeling of a Festival well done.

But not for all of us. For some, their feet are still stuck fairly and squarely in the trenches of the marketing warfare of Fringe 2014. And by this, of course, we mean the flyerers. Those poor souls whose daily agenda lists only one item: hand out bits of paper to people who don’t want them, showing pictures of people who don’t appreciate you.

Because the Fringe flyerer’s lot is a bad one; the buoyant momentum they must sustain for a whole day, as they see the smiling faces of festival-goers going to or coming from another wonderful show. Smiling until they make eye contact with our poor flyerer. That is when faces fall, derision appears and you can see the flyer-ee looking for excuses to refuse the promotional gift.

And it has broken some. The emptiness behind the eyes has begun, the contempt for human beings as they file past, day-by-day, acting as if the flyerer does not even exist.

And that has to take its toll. Surely it is only a matter of time before a flyerer-created killing spree engulfs the Fringe, ending with a pile of bodies and a member of the offending promotional team standing atop it in a coloured hoodie screaming: “Two for fucking one is it!?”

Though, even worse than a broken flyerer, this Festival has seen the rise of the ‘Flyerer Stalker’. Broken comedians spying on their own flyer team “to make sure they are doing their job”. I have heard half a dozen comics talking about stalking their own promotional teams and stating, with some vitriol, the tasks that the spied upon poor mite was undertaking rather than handing out one of the several thousand ‘ego-pamphlets’ that form their day.

“He was just standing there, texting”. “Having a cup of tea, can you believe it?” “Giving a man mouth to mouth resuscitation” Ok, the last one may have been made up, but it does beg the question: how healthy is this behaviour? And how productive?

My approach has always been to try and be as nice as possible to those selling my show, buy them sweets, voice your appreciation and generally show them that no matter how shitty things are getting, they are appreciated.

So, with that in mind, you job today, dear reader is simple: Hug a flyerer. It will make their day and lift their spirits. And you KNOW it’ll annoy whoever is stalking them! “…and they were just standing there, accepting kindness from a stranger…!”

‘Jason Cook: Broken’ was performed at the Pleasance Dome at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

LINKS: www.jasonlovescomedy.com