The Fringe benefits of gatecrashing
THE "comedy terrorist" who hijacked Prince William’s 21st birthday party dressed as Osama bin Laden in a peach ball-gown has rewritten his Fringe show to tell the story of his breathtaking stunt.
Aaron Barschak arrives in Edinburgh today, ahead of his Osama Like It Hot show at the Smirnoff Underbelly venue.
The show will be one of the most highly-scrutinised at the Fringe, but there were fears that Barschak didn’t have the material or the ability to survive the comedy bear-pit of the Fringe.
He has suffered a backlash in the comedy fraternity and now feels he has to be "the funniest man in the world".
But Barschak said yesterday that the show must go on - and that he had totally rewritten it to tell the full story of his escapades at Windsor Castle.
Speaking to The Scotsman from London, Barschak said: "I just want to make people laugh. People want to hear it, and it is very funny. What happened is surreal. I just want to make people laugh - and I don’t mind if I am the butt of the joke."
Despite his ridiculous appearance, Barschak managed to clamber over several walls at Windsor Castle and stagger past a number of members of the Royal protection squad by pretending to be a drunken guest. He then planted a kiss on the cheek of Prince William and told him: "We love you", before being spotted as an intruder by the Prince of Wales’s former valet, Michael Fawcett.
As he was led to a waiting police car, Barschak managed to blurt out an invitation to the party guests to come and see his Edinburgh show.
"I have decided to make my experience part of my show because to ignore it would be artificial," he said.
Barschak plans to present the show wearing his now famous peach-coloured ball-gown and regale his audiences with the inside story of the stunt.
"My kind of humour is absurd," he added. "You see a man in a dress and a beard and it makes you laugh."
In a reference to the fact that Prince Edward was the only senior Royal not at the Windsor Castle party, Barschak said: "If I had been a terrorist, we would now be seeing King Edward the Ninth: the only monarch who directed his own coronation."
Yesterday, a newspaper reported that George Bush, the United States president, had cancelled plans to stay with the Queen at Buckingham Palace because of security fears inspired by the comedy terrorist. "Nothing would surprise me now," Barschak said. "I wouldn’t even be surprised if Elvis landed in a spaceship in the middle of Kilburn High Street."
Since the incident, Barschak has been interviewed by Martin Bashir and Jon Ronson, appeared on the James Whale radio show and been approached by news organisations from around the world.
He has also been the victim of a kiss-and-tell story from a former girlfriend.
Having found the Fringe comedian’s Holy Grail of unlimited free publicity, Barschak has also been turned on by the comedy fraternity - and found himself the subject of endless back-biting on comedy websites. "It seems comics are the only ones who can’t take a joke." he said.
A preview gig at London comedy club Bound and Gagged turned into a disaster when the audience sat stony-faced through Barschak’s routine.
He said: "I died. I was too worried about what people thought. I started hijacking comedy clubs because there are a lot of unfunny comics out there - and now I’m one of them."
Barschak admitted the attention of the press has created a huge amount of psychological pressure.
"My rise to fame, or infamy, has been meteoric. I’ve lost loads of weight. I can understand now why celebrities are so thin."
After his baptism by fire at the hands of the world’s press, the comedy terrorist has resolved to "just go out and have a good time and enjoy myself with the audience" at the Fringe.
His sister, Tamara, will be accompanying him to Edinburgh to make a documentary about his experiences.
"I just want people to see the real Aaron Barschak," she said. "There’s a lot more to him than just the comedy terrorist.
"The repercussions to this thing are amazing. He can run, but he can’t hide. He has been under a lot of pressure. He feels like he has to be the funniest man in the world."
Barschak said he hadn’t decided whether he will be risking the fury of the serious comedy crowd by hijacking gigs and award ceremonies in Edinburgh.
"I don’t plan anything. I just do what I feel like," he said. "Stunts are fun. People are welcome to gatecrash my show if they like.
"If anyone turns up in a beard and a dress, they can get in for half price - and naked women can get in for free."
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