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Fringe Benefits: a half-bowl of chips and saying no to free booze

We have made it. The Edinburgh Festival draws to a close this weekend.

Most comedians will have done at least 50 shows this month. That includes all the extra shows before or after our own ones. It can be something of a slog but I do believe it makes us all better comics. The discipline of performing the same show every day makes room for funnier things to happen towards the end.

I always think the last weekend is a good time to go and see your favourite people - they will be tired, relaxed and some moments of pure genius will pop out.

This week the nominations for the Foster's Comedy award were announced. My friend Sara Pascoe is nominated. She is an amazing comic and probably one of the brightest people I know so I'm keeping everything crossed for her. Her show is brilliant so if you can get a ticket you should definitely try and see that. This week I also saw Carl Donnelly, Susan Calman and Rosie Holt's show "Fall Girl". There really is so much to see at the Fringe.

This year feels a little different at the Fringe. There has been a rise of Free Fringe venues which is a great thing for performers. It can be really expensive as a performer to come to Edinburgh which I never understand. I am always amazed we get audiences at all when people are less likely to take a punt on someone they don't know when ticket prices can be so expensive. I'm very grateful people choose to come and see me when there are some big telly names performing up here who they actually know.

This week is also the week of the parties. There is a party for So You Think You're Funny, The Foster's Comedy Awards and the TV channel Dave. They have free booze at these parties so tickets are highly prized and difficult to come by. It harks back to Edinburgh Festivals of yesteryear when there were loads of free booze parties and all the comedy TV companies and channels had loads of cash to throw about. It doesn't happen as frequently as it used to. Also - I am less likely to go to them. I used to want to get as much free alcohol as possible. The best alcohol was always the free alcohol. I do try not to drink too much these days. It's quite hard to refuse drink when you are a comic who is as easily led as me. When friends come to see you, they always want to buy you a drink. Maybe if I was teetotal it would be easier. When I say: "I'll have a water" I get: "Oh. Don't be like that".

Only in Scotland is refusing an alcoholic beverage an insult. For this reason I try to keep an eye on my intake. I could drink every single day at the Edinburgh Festival but then I suspect I would spend most of September wondering why I was so sad. Yes I enjoy being a little sozzled but it doesn't make for the most productive of days. It's for the same reason that I like people helping me with my chips when I buy a plate. I could quite happily eat the entire bowl but in the absence of any restraint in me, I appreciate the help of others to not eat the whole bowl. The extra time at the gym required for the extra chip intake makes the whole pleasure of chip eating pointless.

So this year, I'm going to exercise restraint at the free booze parties and not go to all of them. There is no chance of me dropping in for just the one. I always stay longer than I planned to. I'm going to more shows instead. I am astonished I've made it through without any bouts of illness. I've been swimming every day, been to the book festival and up Arthurs Seat. Tonight I'm going to see Kim Noble's show at The Traverse. I've heard extraordinary things about it. I'm a little scared.

In the meantime, Edinburgh - I salute you. Thanks for a month of highs and lows, of rain and shine and of half bowls of chips.

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