Category Archives: Blog

I was all set up for a difficult day today.  It’s a Monday, not the weekend, and storms have been forecast.

Apart from a bit of rain in the morning, the day was glorious.  As for the audience for Shit Socialist, I had 27 in, just shy of capacity.  The show was nice again.  I’m also illness free whilst all around me people are going down with ‘Fringe flu’.

It all feels a bit suspicious.

To temper this though, it was explained to me that while it is a Monday, today is generally a busy day.  I believe it’s a bank holiday of sorts (just in Scotland, I think), and the regular paid shows have their 2-4-1 tickets available.

Ok, so maybe doom is coming after all.  Hurray!

Improv Cage Match

A bunch of our American guests were taking part in the Improv Cage Match tonight.  Performing as their group, Weisenheimer, they fielded a number of suggestions to create a 20 minute long form collection of scenes.

I felt they did particularly well dealing with the suggestion ‘Acorn Antiques: the musical’.  I think it’s fair to say that the genius of Victoria Wood has not made it over to America yet.  We ended up with a musical number about an acorn becoming a tree, which is fair enough.

They did great, as did the house team following them.  It’s the first time I’ve seen this show, and I would certainly recommend it.

Crime of the Hour

Ending the night, I took part in another show of ‘Crime of the Hour’: the longform we’ve been booked to do with our improv based on the strange aspects to do with true crime.

The last show I did had all of three people in, so to have a dozen or so made a huge difference.  The players were made up of me and various CSz Manchester players, along with Nina from America.

The show was a lot of fun, and I did scenes that included me as Jesus owning a bar, who then went on to try and fleece inexperienced sellers at a car boot seller.  I also played the role of Napoleon Bonaparte (you could tell that is who I was as I had my hand in my shirt.  Classic Bonaparte, ask anyone).

A quiet pint after in the bar, then a lazy Uber home.  Will tomorrow be a tough one, or can I keep this streak up?


My show, Shit Socialist, is on 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic).  Free entry, PWYW.

ComedySportz is on twice daily – INFO

ComedySportz Edinburgh 2019

The climate of Edinburgh must be a unique one.  Where else could you get the weather of all the years seasons in one day?

When I left to flyer for the early ComedySportz show, just before 11am, it was grey but warm.  Then the heavens opened, so on goes the waterproof.  After schlepping myself up the hill (everywhere is uphill in Edinburgh, somehow), being in the warm and wet meant I was soaked with sweat, so I might as well have not bothered with the waterproof at all.

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Meet the press Edinburgh

The first Saturday is here at last!  After having the warm up days of Thursday and Friday to preview and tweak our shows, the Edinburgh Fringe really begins today.

I started early, with a story telling show, Tales of Whatever, beginning at 10.50am.  It was strange performing so early, but at the same time, it was a great to be in a situation where I could perform at that time.

The energy was more sedate, as you can imagine, but the acts certainly gave some punch.  An American act finished a bit about being hoodwinked in to do doing foot porn with a great punchline: #MeToe.

I explained when I went on after her that there was no way I was going to top that.  However, they were very receptive, and I enjoyed my set there.

All seats taken

After having a slightly smaller audience yesterday, despite having more people around, I was determined to promote my show as much as possible.

After getting set up in my room I went back to do some last minute flyering.  A staff member from the venue stopped me, saying “we’ve been looking for you.  Your shows full.”

“Oh,” I said “I guess I’ll stop flyering then”.

True enough, there was a big queue waiting me.  They easily filled the room, even after the staff brought in some spare chairs.  I was told after that the staff had to turn away around 20 people.  Not bad for turnout then.

The show was really nice again, although interestingly, this was the first time that I had audible gasps after explaining that I was a left wing leave voter.  Didn’t lose them, but it certainly got a reaction.  Nicely summarised with this nice tweet after the show:

Meet the press

After my show I went over to the ‘meet the press’ event.  I didn’t know what to expect, but it turns out it’s like speed dating, but that the press are the hot guy/girl that everyone wants to get with, and we’re the nerds trying to impress them.

Basically you queue to meet a representative from each publication and explain about your show, giving them your flyer and press release.  As my show didn’t finish until 4.15pm I could only get there late (the event was 1-6pm – a long slog).

It turns out that going late is the best thing to do, as the queues were not too bad when I got there.  Apparently when it started people were queuing around the corner to be seen.  Only time will tell if it was worth doing or not.


Crime of the Hour

In the evening I compered the Salford University students showcase at 9.15pm.  They had a full room, which was great, and as a Salford alumni and resident, it was a pleasure to do.

The venue itself was certainly a challenge, as it was a makeshift ‘pop up’ venue on Cowgate.  Completely open at the entrance, the room itself only had a curtain to try and keep out the loud house music from the bar opposite.

That didn’t seem to effect the students though, who provided a great show.

Following that I did ‘Crime of the Hour‘, an ‘Armando’ style long form improv show, based on the telling of various serial killers stories.  Our improv is based on the strange aspects about the persons lives, rather than the crime itself.

A very small audience unfortunately, but it was interesting to do a different format of improv.  Playing with our American friends is also always welcome.

So, a really good and busy Saturday, lets see what Sunday brings.  Unfortunately, rain has been forecast.  And I’ve heard it’s here to stay!


My show, Shit Socialist, is on 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic).  Free entry, PWYW.

ComedySportz is on twice daily – INFO

Cabaret Voltaire

It feels like I’m getting in to the swing of things now.  I now know where my venue is, the venues for ComedySportz, the accommodation, my gym, even the nearest Tesco Metro.

However, I did get small scare with my audience numbers.  As I got 14 in yesterday (a very good number as it was the Thursday), I assumed I should be able to get more today.  It was definitely busier today around town, so that expectation felt justified.

After flyering the tables at the Peartree I found a couple who were coming, so taht was a start.  But when I went up at 3pm for the room changeover to set up, I realised that the day before I already had a few people queuing to come in.

I flyered a couple who came out after a show who I managed to persuade to turn round and go back in.  I honestly thought I might only have four in!  But when I went back to my room, a  few minutes before the start, there was a small queue on the stairs.  Phew.

There were 12 in total.  2 less than yesterday, but no disaster at all.  And they were lovely.  I could also feel that bit more sharpness than the day before, which is all part of the process.

Shit boss

In one section I talk to the audience to find out who had had the worst job.  A guy today certainly won the prize so far for having the worst manager.

He worked for a supermarket, and one weekend he and his friends had been attacked by a gang.  One friend ended up with head injuries and had to go to hospital.  When back at work the day after, he got a call to say that his friend was at deaths door, and to go to him immediately.

He explained this to his manager, but she wouldn’t let him go.  She said “nah, you’ve just got a hangover, you’re not going”.  I know people make up excuses, but ‘friend dying after a gang attack’, even for the most cynical manager, is not one of them

Pick of the Fringe

Cabaret Voltaire Long Room Edinburgh

In the evening I went over and did the Laughing Horse ‘Pick of the Fringe’ show, doing a short spot to advertise my show.  It was a room in Cabaret Voltaire, which I had not been in before.

It’s like a Mad Max fantasy vision of what a Fringe venue could be.  Pretty cool, even if it does seem a bit dirty (even though it’s probably squeaky clean).

I opened the show, and my spot went fine.  No fireworks, but then I wasn’t doing a club set, I was doing a set to promote my show.  Those who enjoyed it were more likely to come to Shit Socialist, instead of dishing up whatever would work best in the room, a that would miss sell what I was about.

Chippy sauce

After a bit of late night flyering, I realised that I was starving.

I had decided before the Fringe that I would be careful to keep a healthy diet, to help take care of my general well being.  So far, I have managed that – salads et al.

Tonight though, I wanted chips.  In Edinburgh, you don’t have to go far.

I got a burger with blue cheese (is there a better topping?*), chips and a pint.  A lovely, lovely pint.  My first real drink of the Fringe.  A crisp, cold, Bierra Moretti.  Ahhhhhhhhh!

I also had chippy sause for the first time.  In all my time going up to Edinburgh I had never had it before.  It’s like brown sauce, but more vinegary, and perfect for chips.  Apparently, it pretty much only exists in Edinburgh.

I expect the Fringe to widen my horizons, but I wasn’t expecting that to happen in a chip shop!

My show, Shit Socialist, is on 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic).  Free entry, PWYW.

ComedySportz is on twice daily – INFO


*No, there isn’t

Chris Tavner ComedySportz Edinburgh Fringe

Today was the first day of shows at the Fringe.  Even then, the festival really gets going on Saturday, but a lot of shows begin today for previews.

It’s a strange energy around Edinburgh at this time.  It’s like everything is superficially in place, as if the Fringe has begun, but not really.  Like walking on to a Western set with a few actors thrown in, you feel like if you lean on a wall it will collapse, showing itself to be painted balsa wood all along. Continue reading

Chris Tavner poster

I’ve arrived in Edinburgh late this evening, ahead of the festival beginning tomorrow.  Walking through the City has felt like the calm before the storm.  Because one thing the Fringe is not, is calm.

I finished my last day of work for 27 days, and was given a lift up with my ComedySportz cohorts Bron and Sean.  A brief, necessary stop for the justified expense of Tebay, and we arrived at the Edinburgh flat around 10pm. Continue reading