Press release that has just gone out (sorry too busy to actually write about this right now, but hopefully makes sense):
Largest ever live audience for a Fringe show – more than 300,000
Comedienne Kate Smurthwaite broke an Edinburgh Fringe record in the early
hours of Wednesday morning by performing to a live audience of more than 300,000!
The 100-plus audience at The Midnight Hour show at the Canon's Gait venue were joined by hundreds of thousands of BBC Radio Five Live listeners around the country and the world as Smurthwaite performed a joke from the stage simultaneously on the microphone and on national radio via her mobile phone.
The Tony Livesey Show attracts a regular audience of three to six hundred listeners. The joke was one of many submitted via text (also breaking the record for the most popular text-in to the programme ever) and was not well particularly well received with a brief cheer and then some groaning and booing and one audience member audibly shouting "awful!".
Smurthwaite is a regular guest on Tony Livesey's late night chat show and had been on the programme earlier in the evening discussing declining standards of politeness and modern etiquette when Livesey challenged her to perform one of his listeners jokes live on air at her late night Edinburgh Fringe show. The gag - chosen by Livesey and his team from thousands of submissions was: "A dating agency for chickens has been forced to close. A spokesman said they couldn't make hens meet!"
Later in the programme an audience member - comedy promoter Paul Haslam from Urban Comedy - joined Livesey on air to provide a review of the show saying "Kate is marvellous. She's just so multi-talented. She can ad lib, she can do gags, she can improvise and of course she's fantastic eye candy". Asked about PBH's Free Fringe in general he added "Down here in Edinburgh, at the Fringe, for free I have seen guys who are every bit as good as the comedians who have their own Saturday night BBC shows."
Speaking about the incident Smurthwaite said “It was really exciting to be actually performing to such an enormous audience, knowing we were breaking a record. It’s just a shame they didn’t send me a better joke – I would rather have been performing my own material!”
Additional info: Kate Smurthwaite’s Edinburgh show is called The News At Kate 2010 and is an hour of political satire and humorous tales of political activism. It’s on daily until Friday at speakeasy@voodoorooms at 8.25pm. She also appears in political panel show The Comedy Manifesto (3.45pm to Saturday at The Beehive and late night show The Midnight Hour (midnight to Saturday at Canon's Gait). All shows are part of the award-winning PBH's Free Fringe, the organisation founded by Fringe veteran and Edinburgh Comedy award winner Peter Buckley Hill which has been bringing free shows to the festival for the last 15 years.
Kate Smurthwaite is a regular guest on many BBC talk shows including the Tony Livesey Show, the Jeremy Vine Show, the Stephen Nolan Show, Women's Hour and the Richard Bacon Show. She is also a political activist and blogger. Her main blog is www.cruellablog.blogspot.com and her festival blog is www.thenewsatkate.blogspot.com.
The Tony Livesey Show is available on BBC Listen Again for the next six days.