ED2014 Columns ED2014 Comedy

Sam Brady: 8 simple ways to be kind at the Fringe

By | Published on Thursday 17 July 2014

He may be a failed Buddhist monk, but that hasn’t stopped Sam Brady from setting out on a mission to spread a little kindness in the world. It’s just these days he chooses to do so via the platform of stand-up. “Naturally funny and charismatic” we reckoned at last year’s Festival, “a light-hearted take on human nature” without “veering into sanctimonious or self-righteous territory”.

Sam Brady

Brady has been kind enough to bring his show ‘Kindness’ back to the Free Fringe this August. And not only that, he’s even found time to share with you eight tips on how to ensure you too spread a little kindness this Festival.

Whether you’re a punter or a performer, the Fringe can be a pretty intense experience. After a few days of back-to-back shows, ample alcohol and thronging crowds, even the most soft-hearted among us can suddenly find themselves screaming at a loved one in the middle of the Grassmarket.

With all that in mind, and as a failed Buddhist monk turned Fringe comedian, here is my guide to being kind at the Fringe this year.

1. Be nice to venue bar staff. Remember that they haven’t slept since early July. These unfortunate wretches work non-stop for six weeks to make your Fringe wonderful, before returning to a dungeon beneath Edinburgh castle where they are stored in barrels for the winter.

2. If a tourist stops to ask for directions, only give them advice if you’re sure you know the way. Definitely don’t do what some hilarious Geordie lads did to my auntie, directing a confused elderly lady to the Burke And Hare lap dancing club. (Fortunately she still thinks she saw the Bolshoi Ballet).

3. Remember that “free shows” are only free to get in – you are expected to pay to get out. Please help performers by putting something in their bucket. Do give: money, smiles, thanks, hugs. Don’t give: foreign coins, empty bottles, career advice.

4. If you have come to Edinburgh solely for the Tattoo, try not to be too alarmed and surprised by the multitude of casually dressed people inexplicably obstructing your route to the castle. These people are attending a little-known phenomenon called the Edinburgh Fringe. They mean you no harm. Please treat them with kindness in spite of their evident moral and cultural inferiority.

5. If you see a man throwing knives around on the Royal Mile during the Fringe, please give him some money. He is a street performer. This is his livelihood. If, however, you see a man throwing knives around on the Royal Mile when it’s not the Fringe, run away immediately.

6. If you don’t want to be handed a flyer, be nice about it. Do: Listen, smile and say “No thanks”. Don’t: say, in a haughty voice, “We’re fully booked!”; glare at them as if they just bludgeoned Greyfriars Bobby; or glance at their flyer and say, “Look’s shit”. Also, if you don’t want to be flyered in the first place, there are a number of strategies for avoiding it without causing offence. Top techniques include: grabbing a bunch of someone’s flyers and pretending you are giving them out; walking really fast as if you’re late for something; wearing a kilt and speaking loudly in an American accent.

7. Be kind to living statues. Don’t poke them, call them names or wipe their silver paint off. Just give them 50p, stand back and enjoy the amazing spectacle as they make small movements with their arms and face. Remember: since the UK government cut spending on the arts, these “actors” rely on our donations for survival.

8. If you see a beleaguered Fringe newbie clutching a batch of 500 different flyers and being set upon by every performer within a mile radius, step in and offer them some friendly advice. Gently point out to them that by displaying their readiness to accept flyers indiscriminately, they might as well be carrying a sign saying, “I’m a sucker – sell me your show!” Street teams will spot them as the weakest in the herd and pounce like a pack of lions on a lame antelope. Advise them, without further ado, to hide their extensive leaflet collection inside their “I heart Edinburgh” bag-for-life.

‘Sam Brady: Kindness’ was performed at Cabaret Voltaire at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

LINKS: www.sambradycomedian.com