Dozens of shows at this years Fringe festival have been cancelled because comedians say it has become impossible to come up with anything as funny as Boris Johnson’s latest uncosted policy pledge. Comedian Jason Beesley says he cancelled his show and returned home after waking up to find the PM had promised an extra £100m to boost UK security.
‘I was up until 3 a.m. working on a gag about the prison service…trying to get the balance right, working on the nuance – I snatched a couple of hours sleep on someone’s sofa, and when I put the news on this morning – there he was, gurning away, going on about introducing X ray scanners at airports and metal detectors in prisons. Then he promised £2.5bn for an extra 10,000 additional prison places. I was up all night working on a gag and he took ten seconds to come out with a punchline like that. Comedians simply can’t compete with quality material like the stuff he is coming out with. Luckily my dad’s in the building trade so I can easily join the family firm. But for many of the guys at the Fringe that option is not available to them – they depend on comedy for their livelihood and this Tory guy is nailing it.’
Fellow comedian Tish McLain pointed to the recent ‘stop and search’ announcement saying it had ruined her entire stand-up routine and forced her to cancel the show. ‘It has taken me months to come up with that routine – writing, editing, re-writes, constantly changing the dynamic – and he ruined it with one crazy policy announcement. I don’t know who his gag writer is but whoever came up with ’the first duty of any government is to protect the public’ should be given best gag of the Fringe award now. The rest of us might just as well pack our bags and go home’.
Some Fringe veterans say they saw it coming and decided not to take part in this years festival. ‘The signs were obvious right from the start’ said veteran stand-up Bob Doughty. ‘First off, the Tories voted Boris Johnson as PM which showed they were serious about this years comedy awards. But then Boris went one better and appointed Sajid Javid as chancellor – Sajid ‘fucking’ Javid. The festival runs for 25 days and there will be over 50,000 performances but nobody is going to top a gag like that.
‘Best to lick your wounds, cancel the show, come back and try again next year. At least we might have a Jeremy Corbyn government by then.
‘Oh fuck – on second thoughts, best leave it until the year after’.