TOM Rhodes, currently appearing in Colossus at the Gilded Balloon, is arguably the oldest newcomer on the Fringe this year. Here he explains why...
“Because my monkey peanut brain had not fully formed yet. For most of my life I have been a hard-drinking, pleasure-seeking, street-fighting man. Had I done this festival any time sooner my main concern would have been trying to find drugs and manhandle your women.
“Three years ago I married an amazing woman who is uniquely gifted at snake charming my demons.
Then on January 1, 2014 the single greatest thing of my life happened to me when I was obliterated, drunk in Philadelphia, falling off a bar stool busting my head open getting six stitches in my forehead and five staples on the top of my head. Pure magic.
The next day I saw such ugliness in the mirror that I decided to stop drinking. I never thought it even possible to give up my lord and saviour ,those delicious drops of booze.
I never wanted to do Edinburgh because I knew that I couldn’t handle it.
Without question the Edinburgh festival is the greatest comedy festival in the world.
I take it very seriously. Through the years I have come during the festival just to investigate.
Comedians I love and adore, who I saw in Melbourne and Montreal having the time of their life, looked stressed, unhealthy and on the verge of collapse in Edinburgh.
On top of that I am a hot head lunatic and I don’t think I could have handled the bad reviews.
Every year during the festival I read reviews online. There seems to be almost an art to ripping comedians to shreds here. Some of the best comedians ever to breathe air have been eviscerated.
Reading some of those reviews I thought to myself, if another human being ever said such a thing about me I would spend the rest of my life hunting them down until I could stick a shrimp fork in their throats.
For the past eight years I have had everything in storage and I do not live anywhere.
I have been pepper-sprayed in Paris, almost drowned in Thailand, drank cobra blood and vodka shots in Vietnam and I had my own late night talk show in Amsterdam.
It will be interesting for me to find the balance between the hard hitting jokes that I love and the epic tales of excess and mayhem that I should be telling.
I waited this long to do it because before I got married and stopped drinking I would have been too distracted by the festivities to bring the best that I have to offer.”
Tom Rhodes: Colossus, Gilded Balloon, Teviot, until Monday, 9.15pm, £10-£12, 0131-226 0000