Comment: Fringe comedians should be wary of snobbery accusations

Here's a serious charge from the hundreds of comics pitching up for this year's Edinburgh Festival '“ and no sniggering at the back, please: they're the victim of snobbery within the arts.

Donald Trump is the butt of many Fringe comedians' jokes. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool via Getty Images)

Now it’s fair to claim Fringe comedians don’t exactly command the same venues as the Vienna Philharmonic. But aw, really? Should Fringe comedians consider themselves to be on the same rostrum of appreciation as, say, Daniel Barenboim? Or a freshly worked Shakespearian drama? They’re having a laugh.

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Let’s not downplay how big Fringe comedy has become. Edinburgh without them would be dismal. But the Festival appeals to many audiences, on different levels. And events that appeal to the serious-minded are, by their nature, deserving of more serious attention.

In any event, today’s Fringe comedians should be wary of accusations of snobbery. Much of current affairs comedy ppokes fun at ‘populists’ and is not shy of what many would regard as ‘elitist’ sympathies. Jokes about Brexit or Donald Trump always play well – to the liberal, metropolitan set. Snobbery? Who, us?