Karen Koren: Fringe boss Kath’s a star turn

Kath Mainland: Pic: Toby Williams
Kath Mainland: Pic: Toby Williams
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I AM going to the Bergen Comedy Festival in Norway on Thursday with my very good friend Kath Mainland, CEO of the Fringe.

Kath travels all over the world making speeches about the Capital and the Fringe, persuading people to come and see what it is all about.

She is superb at public speaking and is a great asset to the city. She is diplomatic, direct, sympathetic and has a great understanding of the arts and how they work.

Can you tell I am in awe of her? I only say all of this because Kath and I are giving a talk in Bergen to an audience of Norwegian arts and media people on Friday morning. Water off a ducks back for Kath, but for me not so much.

I am nervous about it. I know it will be fine, I speak their language and I only have to tell them what I do, which I have been doing for 30 years now, but never-theless, it is still a daunting prospect.

I have compiled a short film to give them a general idea of what the Gilded Balloon is all about. I have Bill Bailey opening with his view of the Fringe and of the times he has performed there, then Andrew Maxwell makes a little less classy statement, before Ed Byrne tells of some of his experiences.

Jo Brand also tells a funny story about performing at the Gilded Balloon and it all ends in a song.

So job done, there then – but it’s to be a 30-minute talk, that’s quite a long time.

I have no idea how stand-up comedians can talk on stage for an hour or two, let alone 30 minutes. It is incredibly scary, yet they do it night after night and I watch them. So surely I can talk for 30 minutes without sounding foolish.

The little film is four and a half minutes long, only 25 and a half minutes to fill then, but will I be able to make anyone laugh?

The challenge is on.