It was pointed out to me that in a previous entry I refer to Zeus as coming to earth and having sex in the form of a goose. In fact, he came as a swan. I’m sorry. Still, maybe if Zeus had come as a goose, there wouldn’t be so much fighting in the Middle East. Thanks Zeus. You’ve helped enough. Just go back to having more crap spring out of your head like Gods, rivers, love, or whatever. Now, onto the present entry . . .
I spent the month of August in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival. I did 25 shows in a row (with one day off) in a giant, cavernous stone building that is normally too wet to be occupied. I’m not sure what it was used for centuries ago, but I imagine a very wealthy family that had a wetness fetish lived there.
Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival is the biggest arts festival in the world. There are about 2000 different shows. If you want to see a play about Star Trek, a Japanese comedy team, or a Frenchman surrounded by fire eat his own face this is the place to be. Plus they have an abundance of whisky, swords, and general ancientness. There is also a fantastic nightlife, complete with people vomiting on themselves (from liquor, not disease) somewhat early in the evening.
I lived at the bottom of the Royal Mile, a cobble street that lead to a giant castle—which I never attacked (too well guarded, even now.) The Royal Mile is swamped with tourists. One day I was walking up the Royal Mile to my venue and saw three teen punk-rock girls with cardboard protest signs that read, “Go Home!” I understand a certain youthful distaste for tourists and khakis, and it is infuriating to see an American High School chorus, side by side with a tattooed Australian sword juggler. Still, it was funny that they were fed up with the biggest fringe arts festival in the world, and not, say, war or child alcoholism (a real problem in Edinburgh, and something American officials should bring up when people accuse our public schools of failing). These girls were like, “Fuck you, people from all over the world pumping shitloads of money into our economy to support weird theater, and help fund our semi-socialist government. Go home! This very touristy block is where we come to break shit, including—ideas, bottles, and dress codes.” On my list of things to protest, fringe arts is probably slightly below protesting unreasonably cold ice cream, but slightly above protesting good health care.
After my month in Edinburgh I went pretty much straight to Seattle for Bumbershoot (a great four day arts festival.) This is a clip of some standup (about Edinburgh—but recorded in Seattle. What? Yes.)
As a note, in the clip, comedian Andrew Donnelly (who stars in many of our favorite commercials, including Earthlink and a soap one) introduces me as “television’s Eugene Mirman.” He does that whenever he gets a chance. It’s because a few years ago Andrew and I were doing a show and I was brought up with a list of random credits that most audiences are more confused than delighted by, including Late Friday (a short lived late night NBC standup show), and Food Network (I was a spokes-potato on it for Potato Weekend a few years back, not to brag, too late, sorry). I then facetiously (that is literally the biggest word I know, excluding Weltschmerz, ha, fooled you) opened with “Hi I’m television’s Eugene Mirman.” The audience and I had a laugh—they knew and I knew that no one knew who I was, even though I had been on television around five times (sadly, for me, it wasn’t 1958 when that would have catapulted me to Shelly Berman-like stardom.) After that night Andrew always called me “Television.” (I just let you in to an unimportant, but very specific part of my world—something most people would be afraid to do, either because they are emotionally unavailable, or worse, falling, and preoccupied with trying to not break.)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 19, 2005