Our Edinburgh Fringe expert and comedian Kelli speaks with Beth Watson


his is part of a three-week nearly everyday series wherein polyamorous ex-nun nurse nonbinary queer comedian Kelli Dunham explores all the queermost edges of The Edinburgh Fringe, performs her own hilarious and hopefully hopeful show, annoys and confuses people with her gender, and drags you along for the ride. 

Day Three: Late Night Lost And Found

Yesterday, My Amazing Girlfriend (MAG) flew to Edinburgh on a red-eye from Memphis, Tennesee. She joined me as I guested on four shows after mine, including one where the host who had heard my “I lost two girlfriends in a row to cancer” material joked to MAG, “Oh, you’re living on borrowed time.” And then rapid-fired three similarly themed one-liners.

Because her wiring doesn’t allow for offence from others’ social behaviour, MAG was merely confused. 

“Why did she do that? Make those jokes as if I’m an audience.” 

“Oh, she’s probably been writing material since she and I met,” I explained.

“Curious,” said MAG and commented no more about it. 

This is precisely why comedians lose girlfriends. Except if you’re me. If you’re me, it’s cancer. 

See? We can’t resist.

But then we had to dash over cobblestone streets to the midnight Queer Diary venue, which was (you’ll not be shocked to hear) an accessible yurt. A yurt that – again unsurprisingly – was almost impossible to locate, despite the host’s three emails, annotated Google map, and finally, an instructional video. 

But when we stepped inside The Remote Yurt, it was all nipple rings, warmth, and a beaming queer with a bedazzled clipboard. We were home. 

I talked with Beth Watson about the phenomenon that is Queer Diary. 

What are you doing at the Fringe, Beth? 

Hosting three pop-up Queer Diary shows! Queer Diary is the show where brave LGBTQIA folks read their REAL teenage diaries on stage (plus angsty teenage poetry, cringey fanfiction, terrible Tumblr posts, etc. – whatever they wrote in their youth!).  

Queer Diaries happened because, in 2018, I read a bit of my teenage diary on stage for the first time at Edinburgh Fringe, at a night called Dear Diary! I was terrified at first – I’d never done anything like it! But it was a great night: Loads of fun and strangely addictive… So I returned to read a few times throughout The Fringe. Each time, I tried to rally more queer pals to join the audience to cheer me on! Returning to Edinburgh feels like a ‘full-circle’ moment because it’s where I first had the idea.  

Tell me about a spectacular flyering for the show moment. 

I accosted a small group of people with undercuts, dungarees, and nose-rings in Lidl – while they were innocently trying to buy pasta – to ask if they wanted to hear queer people read their real teenage diaries on stage? Thankfully they were lovely and said, “YES, PLEASE!” I’m looking forward to seeing them again outside of the dried-food aisle.

Where can we find Queer Diary next? 

We’re doing two Fridays (18th and 25th) at 14:10 at Pleasance Courtyard. We have a different line-up of guest performers at each show. So if you’re super keen, you could come to EVERY show to hear queer teenage tales from different generations, identities, and (particularly at Edinburgh Fringe) from people who grew up in different places all across the world.

Find us: #QueerDiary all the places.

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