In the handful of venues that matter, The Fringe has become a bit like Pop Idol for stand-up comics - except the lighting is dodgy and the audience is drunk and more than a little lairy.
The pick of the bunch (of the performers, that is, not the audience) gets a TV contract for 2005 and, as night follows day, a clutch of advertising cameos in 2006.
Those commissioning editors you may spot running up serious tabs at the bar think they're hard on the heels of the zeitgeist. Actually, the horrible truth is they are the zeitgeist.
What is it: An outlet for leftfield, innovative talent. Past festival
discoveries include Steve Coogan and The League of Gentlemen
When: 8-30 August
Where: Hundreds of offbeat venues around Edinburgh