Monday, July 30, 2012

Stewart Lee: the slow death of the Edinburgh Fringe | Culture | The Guardian:

It can cost so much to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe now, and the very people being deterred by these costs are just the sort of independent minds we used to value as a society; the same people now, demonstrably, priced out of further education. It's another example of the erosion of access, the reversal of social mobility, the entrenchment of privilege, and the gradual silencing of diverse voices. British comedy is much healthier than TV and radio output suggests. But more interesting talents desert its traditional spawning ground, broke, as promoters and performers replicate familiar marketable models. Last year being a young funnyman in a T-shirt, following the currently proven Russell Howard trope, appeared the best way to minimise massive financial risk. And the cycle of Fringe debt makes loyal slaves of artists, perhaps paying off their loss by working for their management's own subsidiary production and promotion companies. Journalists, media types, and the delusive Edinburgh Comedy festival are complicit in supporting a broken system.