EP 22 – Mark Fisher – Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide – Comedian’s Book Club

Ask The Industry Podcast Comments

EP 22 – Mark Fisher – Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide – Comedian’s Book Club



Total run time: 1 hour 51 mins 49 secs.

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About The Comedians Book Club…

Hello and welcome to episode 1 of the Comedian’s Book Club. This is essentially a series of interviews with influential people from the world of comedy, show production, the arts and more! The one thing that unites them is that they’ve written a book on the subject to impart their knowledge and wisdom to people who are just starting out or who want to learn more.

Full disclosure – The links to the books are Amazon Affiliate links. This means if you want to buy the book and do so by clicking the link to go to the page I get around 10p per book. This isn’t much, but every little helps. So please do that if you are buying it. Also, it does not cost you any more. Amazon just give me a cut of their profit (how nice of them!). Now that’s out the way… lets meet our first Author!

About Mark Fisher…

Mark Fisher is the Scottish theatre critic for the Guardian and Variety, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday and many magazines, newspapers and websites. He has been going to the Edinburgh Fringe every year since in 1986 (and see’s it as his Christmas).

He wrote the Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (which is recommended heavily by Fringe Central as well as the head of external affairs at the Edinburgh Fringe Neil Mackinnon) to help people at all levels looking at putting on a show. I’ve read it, and loved it.

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Here are a list of the questions we covered. 

 Edinburgh Fringe


  • Do you think there’s too many “middlemen” in comedy / arts? [1 hour 2 mins 20 secs]
  • Do you think the Free Fringe is important for industry? [1 hour 42 mins 09 secs]
  • Why do you think comedy is such a large part of the programme? [1 hour 44 mins 05 secs]
  • Do you think theatre is being “bullied” by the comedy section? [1 hour 44 mins 05 secs]


 Journalist / reviewer


  • Who do you write a review for? [25 mins 55 secs]
  • Does a review start word of mouth at the Edinburgh Fringe or does it just compliment it? [32 mins 13 secs]
  • Do you read the comments on your articles? [33 mins 31 secs]


    • How have you found the internet has impacted your job as a journalist but also coverage for artists?


  • What do you think of the star rating system? [38 mins 30 secs]
  • Has there ever been a situation where you’ve wanted to give a show a 5 or 1 star review and the paper has turned down the review because other reviews said the opposite? Are you limited by the number of 5 star reviews you can give? [43 mins 10 secs]
  • Do you think audiences make performers feel like stars are worth more than they are? [47 mins 12 secs]
  • An awesome story about how anything can make or break a show during Edinburgh. [52 mins 20 secs]


    • You run theatre Scotland.com why did you start that? Was that so you could review more / showcase your work?
    • What advice would you give budding reviewers who might want to get into the career?


  • What do you think of “student reviewers” at the Fringe? Are there any in theatre? What’s the situation? [49 mins]
  • When you’re reviewing do you take the cost of the show into account? (ie the ticket price) [56 mins 32 secs]
  • When you come to review a show, do you tell people ahead of time who you are reviewing for, or do they just know you’re reviewing it? [1 hour 0 mins 08 secs]
  • A brief history of how stand up become it’s own entity at the Fringe and why it has become so big. [1 hour 6 mins 25 secs]
  • Peter at “Downstairs at the Kings Head” [Coming soon]

Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide


  • Social media tactics and tricks for books [6 mins 55 secs]
  1. Liz Miele’s podcasts
  2. Indie Guide to The Edinburgh Fringe
  • How being a dick on social media can put a reviewer off [14 mins 52 secs]
  1. Bruce Dessau’s podcast
  2. Mark Fisher – Capitalist Realist
  3. Simon Caine Band
  4. Milburn
  • The value of “word of mouth” for a book launch and an Edinburgh Fringe show [30 mins 20 secs]
  • How did the book come about? [1 hour 33 mins 19 secs]
  • How to set goals for what you want out of Edinburgh. [1 hour 9 mins 21 secs]


    • How did the book come about? What was the process of idea to publication?
    • Did you write it then approach a publisher or did you have a contract offered to you?
    • Official Fringe App – ticket sales?
    • Why do you think so many performers last year sold out a lot of dates but still came back in debt?


  • Social media has advanced loads since the book was out, how have you seen that change the relationships between audiences and performers? [1 hour 15 mins 5 secs]
  • Do you use social media to keep in touch and up-to-date with performers you like? [1 hour 21 mins 40 secs]
  • You said you believe everyone should take a show to the Fringe once in their life. I thought that was a hyperbole but then you followed it up by saying that performing in Edinburgh makes you a better person. Why is that? [1 hour 23 mins 50 secs]
  1. Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide Podcast
  • The books website, how did it come about? And why is it so detailed? Do you worry about giving away free content? [1 hour 27 mins 29 secs]
  • Day-by-day budgeting is something I’ve done at the Fringe the last two years, and it was great to read your section on it. Do you think performers under-budget? [1 hour 31 mins 15 secs]



Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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