'Completely broke' Tony Slattery launches Fringe show crowdfunder

Comedy star Tony Slattery has launched a fundraiser to get to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, claiming he is "completely broke" - days after revealing he once had a £4000 a week cocaine habit.

Tony Slattery is performing in a solo shot and a revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? at this year's Fringe.
Tony Slattery is performing in a solo shot and a revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? at this year's Fringe.

The star of Whose Line Is It Anyway? has apologised for "begging" to his fans to support him put on his solo show at The Stand in August.

Slattery, who has launched a £5000 crowdfunding appeal, will be returning to the event where he show to fame in 1981, when he won the first Fringe Perrier Award along with the Cambridge Footlights, who also featured Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson.

Slattery broke into TV on the Chris Tarrant show Saturday Stayback before finding fame on the improvisational comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway? along with co-stars Mike McShane, Paul Merton, Ryan Stiles and John Sessions.

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    As well as his solo show at The Stand, Slattery is also due to appear in a live revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? at the Fringe as part of Underbelly’s line-up this August.

    Slattery has given a number of recent interviews discussing his struggles with bipolar disorder and substance addiction. The star, who appeared in the films Peter’s Friends and The Crying Game, had a breakdown in 1996, fuelled by a daily diet of two bottles of vodka and 10g of cocaine.

    Slattery posted a link to his fundraising page on Twitter, along with a news report on how the costs of appearing at the Fringe meant it was now the performer’s equivalent of the student loan, with the average budget for a solo show now almost £10,000.

    He told his Twitter followers: “Sorry in advance for this. I’m doing Edinburgh Fringe and it COSTS.

    "Now, it won't cost £9.2K - "names" get it cheaper, weirdly - but it will still be nearly five grand *up front*. If you can spare a quid please consider donating.

    "I apologise for coming begging to you, but I really am completely broke! If you unfollow me as a result I totally understand. If you have any questions about the expenses, please don’t hesitate to ask and I will explain as best I can. Please, please, please don’t feel guilty if you can’t help or break the bank to donate. A pound would be amazing. I know it’s tough for everyone.”

    Slattery revealed his battles against depression in an extended interview in The Scotsman last year.

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    He said at the time: “There’s a history in my family of depression and I feel very strongly about it, with this mixture of things. Is it upbringing, is it nature, is it nurture, is it idiopathic? Does it come from nowhere?

    “Like anything, there is always the danger it can be used as an excuse for jumping on a populist bandwagon that is in vogue. Mostly people will see through that. I don’t think you can have too much discussion, but there’s always the potential for anything to be hijacked.”

    Speaking earlier this week on ITV, Slattery explained how his downward spiral began, saying: “‘The overwork came first – no holidays, no taking a break.

    “Eventually you snap and replace it with something. In my case it was cocaine.”

    After being inundated with support on his Twitter feed in response to his revelations, Slattery told his followers: “Can I just say: thanks to everyone for your best wishes, I am trying to respond to everyone. “Sorry if I missed you. Also sorry if you thought I died xx.”

    A spokesman for The Stand said: “There have been a number of people over the last few years doing this and it seems a prudent thing for a performer to do based on the cost and risk involved in taking part in the festival.

    “The biggest cost for many acts is the over-inflated accommodation costs that are a necessary requirement. We do understand why any performer participating in the festival would do this.”

    To donate visit: https://www.paypal.me/TonysGoblins