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Dirty Diane and Dan Willis or: Tales from the opening weekend of the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Part Three

In search of the first pint of the day (it was gone 2:30pm) Lobo and I quickly found ourselves in the Pleasance Courtyard. For those that don’t know it the courtyard is magnificent beer garden that allows you spot comedic celebrities as they come out of their shows whilst simultaneously being assaulted by people with flyers.

My Edinburgh dwelling schoolmate Brinky and his girlfriend Lisa came to meet us for beers and leaflet harassment – good times. One of the leaflet assassins managed to convince us to go to a sub-standard show (I’m not going to name names…), and for that I’ll be eternally hateful of that leaflet lout.

We left the sunshine and the beer for less than average comedy. There’s nothing worse than below par comedy that you paid to go and see. Really bad comedy is great for the cringe worthy moments and the times when whole audiences are dumbstruck and unified in abject disbelief at the horror being presented before them. You leave those shows and tell everyone you encounter about the shite that you saw. Good comedy is beautiful and leaves you with a “Ready Brek glow” and you tell everyone about the awesomeness. Substandard comedy makes you feel like have been pulled into a black hole, time slows down and your brain starts to seep out of your ears and nose with the tedium. You try and tell people about it but your brain has rejected the memories so you can’t.

Lobo and I were first out of the door from the substandard comedian and pegged it over to where I knew there would be great laughter in the form of Dan Willis. Dan is my saviour of the Fringe. When I came in 2009 I had less than no money to spend and found myself going to a lot of free shows the first free show was of the lowest level of crap that described above – the audience were horrified at the onslaught and I’m sure I even gasped at one point. I left that show shaken, scared for what the rest of the weekend had in store for me, considering shelling out top dollar to ensure a laughter fix. I must have been obviously grief stricken as a couple that was in that show took pity on my and pointed me in the direction of Dan Willis, whose show was free. I have never been so grateful to people.

Dan used to be a heavy weight computer boffin and after becoming bored he decided to turn his back on an easy going and lucrative career for the rock road of stand up comedy. His show then was about his life with computers and he took a topic that would normally be found in a comedy vacuum and made it hilarious! This year he had two shows back-to-back, one about Ferris Beullers Day Off – the best film ever made, FACT! The other about Michael Jackson. I dragged as many people as I could find to go and see the shows and he didn’t disappoint.

Inspite of a few technical hitches the Ferris Beuller show carried more of a comedic punch and had the crowded, sweaty room in fits of laughter. Maybe that’s just my bias as FB is mu favourite ever film even though I love Wacko Jacko style. The highlight of the two shows, however, was me, lobo and two randoms being invited on stage to recreate a Jackson 5 routine! Splendid! I had a picture taken with Dan and had a chat with him and I am happy to report that he is a thoroughly nice bloke!

The main event for that weekend was John Bishop. I bought tickets weeks in advance and they had sold out. Despite this Lobo managed to, in the most jammy manoeuvre I have ever seen, bag a last second release ticket and had a better seat than me! The bastard! But I was happy for him. John Bishop, for those of you who don’t know him is a funny Scouser. He has risen to fame sharply in the last year and rivalled only by Michael McIntyre telling stories mainly about his life and his family in an “Its funny cos it’s true” kinda way. Tonight sees him in a 1000+ seater venue at full capacity talking about his early standup years telling jokes to 6 people at a time at the Fringe. In this year he has come from being a nobody and being turned down for parts in the “Admiral Car Insurance” and “Bazuka That Veruca” adverts to his own prime time Saturday Night TV show. A fantastic year and inspiration for the name of the show, “Sunshine”. He talks about having his teeth whitened to lying to the producers of Live at the Apollo telling them that one of his friends is dying so that he could get them all seats for the show.

Lobo headed back to Glasgow after that, leaving me to dance the night away in Edinburgh with a load of Brazilian Samba dancers. Sucker!

The next morning was a Sunday and I woke with a heavy head sorry that my show Eboro exploits would shortly be coming to an end. The last show that I was going to see was Diane Spencer, who I talked about in the last Edinburgh post, doing her full stand-up routine.

I first came across Diane at last years Fringe. I had just arrived at in Edinburgh flying solo after splitting up with the lady that I was seeing, thinking, “what am I actually doing here?” In the midst of my moment of misery a tall red headed female figure skipped, like off of primary school, towards me with her arm outstretched, and handed me my first ever flyer. I should point out I have a soft spot for redheads, I think it has something to do with Jessica Rabbit and is something that I share with Matthew McConaughey’s charater in the film “Dazed and Confused”. She had me at “Hello”. I saw her show perform that year as part of “Big Comedy Breakfast” and loved it – forcing people I knew to go and see it.

How can I describe her stand up style…she…is…filthy! Her show talked about her time as a teacher and her first stand up shows at old peoples homes as well as having sex with men with large…male parts. One of the most memorable parts of her show saw her recounting an incident where she and her partner climaxed at the same time as the fireworks kicked exploded. Seeing this as an awesome event she tried to recreate the magic but not being able to get the timing right each time she settled on buying a UV Black light and tossing the guy off so that his ejaculate would glow. At this point a solitary figure left the show in disgust. The rest of the crowd were in hysterics.

As soon as her show finished I jumped onto the bus to get onto the plane to get me back to Manchester. I left Edinburgh with a huge grin thinking about the weekend wondering if what Diane did actually worked, how much a black light would cost and if I could buy one from Maplin online…