Thursday 22 March 2012 6 AM Nunhead

John Fleming showed up at my show at the Source Below last night, with Nunhead comedy performer Martin Soan of Pull the Other One in tow.  John was looking for something to blog about. I wonder how many people in my audience are there for the same reason? Business at my shows is way up at the same time this blogging thing has taken off.


Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I sent in my registration for my Edinburgh fringe show at the Three Sisters on Cowgate. Anyone who doesn’t understand how the Edinburgh festival fringe works has probably not lost money there.

The Counting House pub – the venue which let me put on my show Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous for free in their upstairs Ballroom for the past three years – well, the pub and I have parted company and we won’t be working together for 2012.

The Counting House has been a lovely place to work and it is with sadness that I have decided to move my show elsewhere. My decision was based largely on their insistence I find another venue.  I won’t perform in any venue that doesn’t want me.

The Laughing Horse Free Fringe organizer Alex Petty reported that the pub manager, Angus, had moved on and the bar staff had told the new manager they didn’t want me back for another August.

Was it my calling an Irish barman “English” after the show? It was a joke – I know how the Lesser Britons hate being called English. Isn’t that a bit racist of them? Then again, I shouldn’t be doing my act off stage.

Should I have drank more with the bar staff? Actually, I didn’t drink with them at all. Or did they think I was a creepy older man? I creep myself out.

Let me tell you what I think it was:

I got into a fight with the 22-year-old assistant manager over the “air cooling” unit.

For three years I got hot about the blistering heat of the Counting House rooms. The situation is no worse at the Counting House than in the rest of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh showrooms are in buildings  made of thick stone and brick designed to retain heat. Most rooms aren’t used for shows except during the festival so the windows have to be boarded up to keep out the light. Then jam in sweating, breathing humans at 98.6F [37c] from noon til two and you’re gonna have a Black Hole of Calcutta in the Athens of the North. Too soon to mention the Black Hole of Calcutta? Too late to call Edinburgh the Athens of the North?

I had a simple solution. I proposed it to manager Angus. Angus is a genuinely lovely guy. He listened to it, then rejected it. I wasn’t sure he understood so I proposed it again. And again. And again.

I am no HVAC engineer but Edinburgh is surrounded by millions or billions of square cubic meters of cold Scottish air. Free. Cold. Right outside. Why not put in a portable extractor fan in the window of the kitchen of the Ballroom? That is what we used in New York before cheap air conditioning.

Suck out the hot air. Pull in the cold air. Scotland is rich in air that they call “fresh”. “Fresh” means “cool”. Scotland does cool air.

But they don’t sell portable extractor fans in Scotland. I looked online. I went to the B&Q. They only sell the kind that go in walls or are cut into windows and need to be wired up. Scotland doesn’t do cooling.

Still, how much would it cost to wire an extractor fan temporarily?

Lovely Angus thought he was helping and rented a cooling unit for £300 for the month instead. He plonked it right next to my stage where it messed with my head. The unit ran on ice cubes. Ice cubes. And it roared and groaned and didn’t work. I’d turn it off. The next act, a painfully popular musical act from Australia. my nemesis, would blame me for the heat in the room.

The sweet 22-year-old assistant manager came to me to tell me not to turn off the unit. I hate ignorant youth. Frankly, I hate the ignorant middle aged more than ignorant youth. At least youth has an excuse. I was steaming at how ignorant I thought the whole town was being. Extractor fans!

I don’t think she cried at my outburst but she probably came close. I was hot and tired and exhausted from asking for a simple fan in the window. I apologized to her later but the damage was done. I apologize again in this post. I am sorry I took out my anger on you, lovely assistant manager.

But back to my point: Extractor fans. And see you at the Three Sisters at 8 PM during the Festival.

Please don’t cry.



Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio.
Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Source Below. Free admission. Reserve at

Seem me at the Edinburgh Festival with Laughing Horse.

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