Tag Archives: Gambler

How one comic broke his own bones for an Edinburgh Fringe comedy show

Kunt and the Gang’s ‘cockgate’ saga is not the only Edinburgh Fringe publicity stunt which might be considered for the Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award next week – the judges meet on Tuesday to decide a shortlist.

Tim FitzHigham might be in there for unintentionally getting attention with bone-breaking. The fact that a publicity stunt is unintentional does not necessarily disqualify it from winning a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award – as Stewart Lee proved last year.

For his Fringe show Tim Fitzhigham: Gambler, Tim tried to recreate the ten weirdest wagers and strangest bets in history. He says:

“Some of them we don’t know who won and some we don’t even know if they’re possible so I wanted to find out.

“Early on,” he tells me, “while doing this, I broke a finger. It was actually in an unrelated cricketing accident (playing for a comedians 11 in a charity match). The doctor re-set it but, it being a finger, after a couple of drinks one night I knocked it and broke it again on a table. They re-set it again and, by accident, I broke it again – this time while training for one of my bets. They re-set it again (by this time the doctor was getting a little less happy to see me). Again it broke and, this time, he decided to re-set it using large amounts of metal – a sort of mini-Barry Sheene approach! We thought there was no chance it could break again with a load of metal in it. So, after four breaks, all seemed well.

“Unfortunately, the metal poked out of the end of my finger and caused one of the most undignified scenes I have ever been involved in. While attempting to wash myself, I somehow managed to get my finger hook attached to my testicles.

“I went into the bedroom where my wife was trying to get out of her dress and she asked Could you un-hook me? I replied I’ll unhook you if you unhook me first. She turned and gazed at me with a look I can only imagine a fisherman gives to a catch he knows he’s never going to eat… It is a very testing time in a marriage, looking down to see the woman you love unhooking your hand from your plums.

“Then, while training to take-on a race horse in a 100 yard dash, I slipped and fell down a slope impaling myself on a fence post. It could have been quite bad but, luckily for me, I only fractured a rib. I tried to postpone it but the horse was adamant so I had to enter the race against the horse with a broken finger and fractured rib.

“I mention this to the audience in my show to give them a fair indication of the form.

“All these attempts had involved bets so, at this stage, my gambling losses were getting crippling so there was no chance of taking time off to recuperate.

“I had also entered into a bet to roll a cheese board over four miles. It is a very old cheese board and quite heavy and you have to throw it 60 metres per go to stand any chance of winning the bet. Needless to say, with my broken finger and fractured rib not helping… I sprained a wrist.

“The next bet involved pulling a 1 pound weight on a mile of rope. It was not entirely pain-free.

“Then we come to the wheelbarrow incident.

“I had taken on a wheelbarrow bet – it was originally done in  1789 by a man called Goliath Shadbolt (not a promising name to attempt to beat at anything).

“You have to push a wheelbarrow from Ware in Hertfordshire to Shoreditch in London in under 6 hours – that is just shy of a marathon distance, so it is quite a competitive time. On the way, I hurt my big toe on the wheelbarrow. It hurt a lot. We thought I had split it.

“The good news was that I had not split it… Hurrah!

“The bad news was that it was fractured… Bother!

“That covers the breakages…

“Then, of course, the metal fell out of my hand.

“I tried to pop it back in and got it most of the way back in but could not manage that last bit. So I arrived back at the hospital to see the same now grim-faced doctor who, after various x-rays etc, decided that the metal had not fallen out but that my body had rejected it as being infected and, as a result, I had now contracted an infection in my bone marrow!

“On 1st August, he said I should not travel more than one hour away from the hospital where he practices in East Anglia so, naturally, I came up to Edinburgh and started the run of my show. My losses were now running so high there was really no other choice – Where else could I find so many other people losing so much money?

“I accept that, medically, it was a bit of a gamble doing this but luckily it seems to have paid off in so much as the infection has not flared up again and hopefully I will keep my bone marrow and not turn to jelly by the end of the month.

“I would wager few have ever chased a punchline this hard – and none have found it less consistently!

“PS… Then, of course, there was a death in the family.

“What a month!”

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Cunning stunts and a Kunt apology

I complained in my blog yesterday that there were no classic Malcolm Hardee style cunning stunts around at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

And, of course, since then people have been telling me about broken bones and hospitalisation. I’m not sure these totally count as publicity stunts – more like the wrath of humourless god. But…

First of all Adrian Rox told me about comedian Jeff Mirza being physically attacked as he walked down the Royal Mile dressed as Colonel Gaddafi. The reason remains shrouded in mystery. Possibly some American tourists, famously weak on geography, thought they had accidentally wandered into Libya, got drunk and lived out their dream of being SEALS. The near-constant rain might have stoked their aquatic fantasy.

Then Kate Copstick, aka Cruella de Cowell from ITV1’s Show Me the Funny, told me about Tim Fitzhigham’s extraordinary run of bad luck while preparing for and performing his show Tim Fitzhigham: Gambler.

He has chipped and broken multiple bones. Malcolm Hardee only destroyed his body with excessive drink and occasional drugs. I think Tim may be trying too hard to win a Malcolm Hardee Award next week.

Then we have the lovely and very highly talented Miss Behave, host of the upcoming Malcolm Hardee Award Show on Friday 26th August. She has been laid low in London with potentially-fatal meningitis for the last few weeks and only a few days managed to struggle up to Edinburgh to host her extraordinary variety show The Mess at Assembly in George Square.

I wandered over to George Square to see her in the rain yesterday afternoon and found her wearing what I think was a bear costume. Well, it was quite cuddly and had bear-like ears. She was not wearing this for publicity purposes, she was not in public view and it was around six hours before her show started. She was just dressed as a bear. Perhaps I should have asked questions. I did not.

Last night, in The Mess, she recreated the Malcolm Hardee/Greatest Show on Legs’ naked balloon dance with original GSOL member (and what an appropriate word that is in the circumstances) Chris Lynam, Steve Aruni and Bob Slayer. I could not be there because I was watching Janey Godley storm Paul Provenza’s jam-packed Set List: Standup Without a Net, which has had to move from the Tron to the larger Caves to accommodate the punters.

Bob Slayer tells me that, back in George Square, after the balloon dance, he “ended up running around the Assembly area  naked – as one does – and I caused Tim Key a suitable level of confusion by hugging him and doing a poem”.

I suspect this is only a low-key start to the mayhem that Miss Behave may visit on unsuspecting, unprepared Fringe-goers who attend The Mess.

Bob Slayer – you would not think it to look at him – is keen on Kunt and the Gang and I would not be surprised if they connived on publicity. In 2009, Lewis Schaffer showed the value of apologetic press releases in garnering publicity with a press-released ‘apology’ to the Edinburgh Comedy Awards which managed to plug his own show twice – in detail.

I was never totally convinced by Kunt’s recent scam of sticking paper penises on other shows’ posters. But yesterday’s ‘apologetic’ press release manages not only to get publicity for himself but to add in what are, in effect, review quotes from other performers. I print the apology below without comment, but it possibly deserves a review of its own.


Sorry About The Cocks:

Kunt and the Gang would like to apologise to anyone who is upset about the ‘crudely drawn cock’ stickers that have been appearing all over posters in Edinburgh. When we had 5000 of the cock stickers printed in the run up to the Fringe Festival we just thought it would be a light-hearted alternative to flyers. The plan was to give them to our audience each night so they could go out and vote with their cocks by sticking them in amusing places on posters. It was intended to be one big jolly jape that everyone laughed along with. This I now know was a badly misjudged joke that horribly backfired.

Unfortunately it was brought to our attention that some comedians were extremely angry at seeing their posters adorned with an effigy of a male member. This culminated in myself being physically threatened by one irate comic who failed to see the funny side of his poster being decorated by a member of the public with a crudely drawn image of a man’s winky.

Further to this, after only four nights of the audience being handed stickers at the end of my show, I received a warning from the Fringe Police and was told that Underbelly had threatened action should any more of my stickers be handed out. I suspect the cock that broke the camel’s back was the penis that ended up in Christine Hamilton’s wine glass on their flagship poster on Bristo Square. The same night I received a visit at my venue from Edinburgh Council Environmental Dept who told us that they had spent the day pulling off over a hundred cocks. They showed us examples of cocks they had found on posters, including the one of Russell Kane with his mouth open, the one of Richard Herring lying on a bed and the one of the Spank Comedy Club with that bird bending over. I gave them my assurance to that no more cock stickers would be given out.

I would like to take this opportunity to say my cocks were not meant maliciously or designed to annoy anyone and I sincerely apologise if one of my cocks got up anyone’s nose. Admittedly I didn’t think it through properly. I mistakenly thought everyone would share my enthusiasm for seeing Edinburgh covered in crudely drawn cocks for a month. In retrospect I realise I was like America selling Weapons of Mass Destruction to the Middle East without a thought for who my cock shaped missiles would be affecting. Furthermore I would also like to apologise to any of the performers who have had a cock removed and are now left where the sticker once was or a ‘ghost cock’. I’m sorry if my cock cheesed anyone off.

Kunt (Kunt and the Gang)

Notes to Editors

– Yesterday Stewart Lee, the thinking man’s comic, went to see Kunt and the Gang, the most puerile show on the fringe, for the second night in a row. Mr Lee, and his wife Bridget Christie, once again laughed like drains throughout renditions of classic Kunt songs such as: Wanking Over a Pornographic Polaroid of an Ex-girlfriend Who Died, Fucksticks and Hurry Up and Suck Me Off Before I Get Famous.

– Serial prankster Lewis Schaffer was asked what he thought about it all and he said: “Well I was thinking of going to see Russell Kane’s show but when I saw his poster I was worried that he might be a cock sucker and so have decided to give it a miss.”

Russell Kane: “I actually found it fucking funny! Keep printing cocks and saying it too. It’s proper funny.”

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