Do I look gay?
Last night, for the second time in my life, I was mistaken for Michael Topping of the gay comedy duo Topping & Butch. This time, the culprit was comedian Nick Sun who, in an admittedly dark corner of London’s Comedy Cafe mistook me for Michael.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being gay and certainly nothing wrong with being mistaken for either Topping or Butch. They are both very very nice people. I first met them a few years ago at the monthly gay club they ran in Brighton.
Look – I was there because I was giving my Glaswegian comedy chum Janey Godley a lift from London to Brighton, alright?
I was at the Comedy Cafe last night to see the first of anarchic Bob Slayer’s Edinburgh Fringe previews/tryouts for his Heroes of Alternative Comedy acts. He is running the Hive venue in Edinburgh this year, as part of his Alternative Fringe under the banner of the Laughing Horse Free Festival.
The Hive hosted an eclectic bunch of performers last year, from Phil Kay to Kunt and The Gang. This year, Phil Kay will be back at the Hive with the likes of “internet-sensation” Devvo, the much blogged-about Lewis Schaffer and last year’s Malcolm Hardee Awards co-host David Mills. The line-up was announced yesterday.
Bob’s Alternative Fringe at the Hive is an interesting combination of the ‘free’ show and the ‘paid’ show models. Unlike traditional venues in Edinburgh and elsewhere, the PBH Free Fringe and the Laughing Horse Free Festival do not charge acts to rent their venues and the audiences do not pay to get in; they can pay what they like (or nothing) at the end of the shows, depending on how much they enjoy them.
With his Alternative Fringe at the Hive, Bob will be promoting £5 shows in the evening and free shows in the afternoon.
“If you want to pay £12 to see a show where the artist is more than likely going into debt while the promoter and venue make a profit and there’s no bar and the sweet smell of desperation coats the walls all sponsored by Richard Branson, then you have plenty of Fringe venues to choose from. However, if you want to see a Fringe show where the artist is actually getting paid and happy, where the price to get in is either £5 or free, where there is a well-stocked bar and in place of a Virgin Bank sign there is condom vending machine… well, we’re your alternative.”
It all sounds very gay.
In the original meaning of the word.