Rose Johnson: The (Other) Reason I’m Not Doing Edinburgh Fringe

Rose Johnson isn’t doing Edinburgh Fringe this year. She told the Guardian it’s because of the expense, the pressure, the elitism — but actually, you heard it here first, Rose is the final bombshell on this season of Love Island*

I have a confession to make. For the past few weeks, I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen about my decision not to go to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. I’ve spoken in the press about the expense, the mental pressure, and the increasingly elite nature of the festival as an entry route into the comedy industry. I’ve talked about the fact that there are other pathways available, and I’ve booked in some Work-in-Progress shows at the Soho Theatre in August to try and prove it.

All this is true, but there’s another reason I’ve chosen not to go to the Fringe. A secret desire lurking deep in my subconscious; something I know rationally is impossible, but still can’t shake the belief that maybe, just maybe, it could happen. Confessing it publicly here feels riskier and more exposing than speaking out about the Edinburgh status quo. My confession is this: despite never having submitted an application, I still harbour a hope of being the final bombshell that gets sent into the Love Island villa. I truly think I would be the best thing to ever walk down that fake-flower-adorned walkway, and here’s why…

AGE: At 36, I’ve got a good ten years on most of the regular Islanders. This would give me the authority to stroll around the poolside doling out devastating home truths on everything from the resurgence of low-rise jeans (in short: bad) to the boys’ general attitude towards the women in the villa (surprise: also bad).

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: As a size 14 with a physique that conveys very clearly ‘this person is no stranger to a pork pie’, my curves and wobbles would provide a refreshing counterpoint to the identikit parade of tanned, toned bodies that are usually draped over the sun-loungers. I’d take this year’s effort to wear recycled fashion to a whole new level by taking in my underwear collection that’s older than most of the contestants, and I’d also provide an important public service by demonstrating the reality of those thong bikini bottoms for normal-sized women (say it with me: bad).

CHAT: Love Island is living proof of my theory that beautiful people make terrible conversationalists. For eight seasons I’ve watched grown adult humans have earnest chats about what an earlobe is, whether Essex is a continent, and if Brexit means we won’t have any more trees (God bless you Hayley Hughes). As someone that’s never got anything on the basis of their looks (except, once, a TV role genuinely named ‘Bloated Woman on the Tube’), I’ve had to develop excellent chat, and I’d spice up the convo round the fire pit with my current favourite questions: ‘what’s your Tesco meal deal order?’, and ‘are we are living in the singularity?’.

So, if any ITV2 producers are reading this: I can be on a plane to Majorca literally any time (except the 8th and 27th August when I’m doing those Work-in-Progress shows at Soho Theatre – I’ve got a routine about Love Island which, if you liked this piece, I think you’ll enjoy). But any other time: say the word and I’ll be there, bikini at the ready. Just don’t tell my husband.

Rose Johnson’s work-in-progress shows will run at Soho Theatre on Aug 8th and 27th. Tickets here


Picture: Matt Stronge


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