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EDINBURGH 2022: Grant Busé Guest Blog

EDINBURGH 2022: Grant Busé Guest Blog

EDINBURGH 2022: Grant Busé Guest Blog

Guest Blog - Grant Busé brings reflective new comedy show to the Fringe

Grant discusses writing this nostalgic new show from his childhood bedroom.

Musical comic Grant Busé blogs for Broadway World about bringing SentiMENTAL to the Fringe and the joys and pitfalls of nostalgia for both himself, and his audiences.

Comedy can come from the strangest of places. I wrote a comedy show locked in my childhood bedroom.

It was April 2020, I had just fulfilled every single thirty year-old man's dream and moved back in with my parents. I had been living a wonderful life in London working as a full-time comic. Strangely it wasn't the financial insecurity of a career in comedy that forced this move but a little thing we call a global pandemic.

Suddenly, after years abroad, I found myself once again in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Potentially infectious, I was immediately isolated in my childhood bedroom for two weeks. I hadn't seen my parents for over a year and their first words were, "go to your room!" I fondly remember my Mum tossing me a banana from the other end of the hallway like I was a great ape in captivity. Instantly I reverted to my old youthful ways - playing Nintendo, watching Judge Judy and taking extended bubble baths. It seemed like all my favourite movies and shows were being remade or rebooted to comfort me in this time of crisis. The Karate Kid, Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Sex And The City all got the nostalgia porn treatment.

As I emerged from my musky lockdown cocoon my parents quickly put me to work sorting through a bunch of old boxes. The folks had plans to downsize and I made it back just in time to help them sell my childhood home. The boxes were stuffed with old report cards, macaroni crafts projects, baby toys, trinkets and trophies (low key flex). It's amazing how hard it is to let go of something you completely forgot existed.

If I ever thought I was sentimental, my Dad is sentiMENTAL! As I ruffled through these boxes of comedy gold, I found a random piece of slightly rotting wood. My father had kept the excess wood from a grade five project where we built a rocket together. Did he still have the rocket? No. For reasons I will never comprehend, he kept the wood. Did the rotting piece of wood make the cut to come to the next home? You bet it did! The man ended up selling his record collection but couldn't part with a five-dollar, memory infused block of balsa.

The home eventually sold and as I walked around the shell of my childhood for one last time, a wave of nostalgia enveloped me like a tightly wrapped burrito. Anyone can buy a house, but it takes years of memories to make it a home. Nostalgia is derived from Greek; it translates roughly to 'homecoming pain'. In 2020, I said goodbye to two homes - my adult London home and my childhood Aussie home. It makes perfect sense that in my isolation I created a show about nostalgia entitled 'SentiMENTAL!'

Historically, nostalgia was considered a transient illness observed in soldiers posted away at war. Now we see it as an almost trivial comfort, fodder for our own entertainment. Perhaps our collective lust for bygone eras was just a COVID19 symptom the scientists missed? Either way, nostalgia ain't what it used to be! When you look at all the reboots, remakes and remixes coming out recently, it's clear we have become obsessed with the past and those mythical good old days. But were the good old days really that good or has time just tinted our memories a shade of rose? Questions to be answered in a comedy show perhaps?

So, what did I get out of my forced bedroom internment? I got some great material, a VHS copy of 'Men in Black', beloved new memories but also an understanding that I can no longer live in the past. I need to build a new house to one day call home. Luckily, I have some wood to get me started.

Grant Busé: SentiMENTAL!, Gilded Balloon, Teviot (Nightclub), 8.30pm, 3-29 August (not 15)

Photo credit: Joel Devereux

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