1) Students always slap on way too much stage make-up, with a particular penchant for huge fake moustaches and beards. If someone wearing a fake beard offers you a free ticket for a “hit comedy revue”, punch them in the face and run away as fast as you can.
2) Students wear their costumes all day. This is because they’re too excited to take them off. If you see someone in a fish and chip shop in Edinburgh dressed as Charles Dickens or Julius Caesar it’s extremely unlikely that they are a professional performer. You should avoid making eye contact with this person and never, ever ask them which show they’re appearing in.
3) Anyone publicising a show in Edinburgh by shouting at the top of their voice and rolling around on the pavement is a student. Do not, on any account, take a leaflet from one of these individuals or go within 3 miles of their show. Also, bear in mind that if they’ve been shouting in the street all day they won’t have any voice left for their performance, so you won’t be able to hear them on stage.
4) Student shows fall into three categories, which makes them fairly easy to spot in the Edinburgh Fringe programme: The categories are “Unfunny, Under-Rehearsed Sketch Shows”, “Revivals of Abigail’s Party” and any production with the naming convention “[Something] the Musical”.
5) Student performers are much more confident than professional actors. This is because they don’t know anything. They haven’t been around for long enough to discover what a crap way acting is to earn a living. Professionals tend to be reassuringly pessimistic and neurotic about their work. So, if you meet anyone in Edinburgh with confidence, they are a student. Do not, under any circumstances, go to see their show.
6) Students never admit they’re students in the publicity material for their shows. They know that if they do they won’t attract any audience at all. Look out for leaflets that promise things like “World Premiere”. This simply means that prior to the Edinburgh Fringe every venue they’ve approached has been wise enough to refuse to put on this production. Be very suspicious of the word “hilarious” on a leaflet. Professional comedians never use the word “hilarious” in their publicity. Also, look out for posters that claim “Complete Sell Out 2016”. This is an out and out lie.