Erstellt am: 21. 8. 2012 - 17:40 Uhr
Phyllis Diller was one of the first comediennes to get up on stage and crack jokes in an age when this was soley a male domain. She paved the way for the likes of Joan Rivers & Ellen DeGeneres.
And for the next generation of female standup, the Edinburgh Comedy Fringe is a good place to head to for clues. At this time of year, Edinburgh is a sea of auditorium, tents and dungeon-like basements packed out with all kinds of comedians, young and old, from all around the world, some famous and many unknown. It’s a testing ground for performers to try out new ideas, for them to gauge audience reactions to innovative routines. If you have a comedy idea, Edinburgh in August is the place to try it out.
So what about the modern-day Phyllis Dillers? A few steps down some dark, shadowy stone steps and I sat on a plastic chair in the Caves. The Caves are a series of underground stone clad rooms. It’s where infamous Scottish murderers Burke & Hare reportedly had stored bodies of their victims in the early 1800s. It was cold, grey and damp and in this less than luxurious environment I was there to watch female double act Hanks & Conran. They worked hard in the hour to amuse the crowd which generally involved put-down’s of each other but a more endearing side came with their interaction with and astute teasing of audience members.
There were plenty of German comedians this year at Edinburgh for some reason. But Austria also got a look-in too with “An Austrian and Someone from Slough” – the “Austrian” being Alice Frick doing straightforward standup jokes and the “Someone” being Cecilia, Alice’s landlady in charge of musical parodies on the guitar. There was a clear chemistry between the two and they recreated the relationship of landlady (with hard-fast rules) and tenant (doing her best to abide by those rules) into a small back-corner of an old Edinburgh pub.
Next it was a race across town to catch Jessica Fostekew. Her routine was word-origins and I was in safe nerd territory. But the comedy was Jessica’s ability to clearly bluff her way through explanations that may or may not be true. Her act was polished and even professor-like language experts in the audience applauded her energy and (sometimes suspect) etymological accounts.
After a quick glass of something and a hog roast in a bun (a Scottish delicacy in Edinburgh) I grabbed a ticket for “Rachel Stubbings is Stubbing Out Problems” – an online agony aunt on stage with answers to almost all of life’s hitches. Within minutes you were locked into her chaotic alter-ego world and the good reviews she had had, lived up to expectation.
If the Edinburgh Comedy Fringe is anything to go by, the tradition that Phyllis Diller started is very much alive and kicking. But for the final word, a rather famous comedic quote from the late Phyllis Diller herself goes: “Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home”.