I did Edinburgh Fringe with Crohn’s

Tomas Ahlbeck
2 min readSep 14, 2023


So this year I returned to Edinburgh Fringe. This time with my new show Scandinavian Jesus.

It has been a few years since I was there, due to the pandemic and surgery for my Chrohn’s. And the post-op issues that followed. A medication that triggered an auto-immune reaction that damaged my pancreas, some cyst that turned up on my pericardium and la-di-da.

But this last year my health issues has been controllable, and since standup is the most fun thing in my life right now, I thought “well, why not”. And I don’t regret it.

I did eleven gigs, out of which nine was my own solo show Scandinavian Jesus and the other two was as part of the Free Fringe Comedy Selection. The shows I feel was a success. The venue took about fifty people, and four of my shows were sold out. One even so crowded that people had to stand.For the rest of the shows it was at least half filled, and I only had to cancel one show-due to heavy rain and thunder. I was not the only one that cancelled that evening.

The most important thing to me wasn’t just the shows, it was to meet new and old comedy friends, watch their shows and just sit down and chat and exchange experiences. Because that is what Edfringe is to me: a place for us comedians to meet once a year.

Unfortunately I had to leave a few days early, since my Crohn’s kept flaring which made my days switch between stomach cramps and pain, followed by a few days where I couldn’t eat anything but “kind” food. This was probably caused by lack of rest and sleep between gigs.

But I don’t regret going there. And if there is some message in this text, it is-don’t let Crohn’s stop you from doing what you love. Sure, it is more difficult than for people without such diseases. And if you like me also have diabetes, you need to plan more.

But to be honest: if my choises are between staying at home feeling sorry for myself, or do what I love and just realise I need to plan things more carefully. As I see it: if I let my disease rule my life, I have lost and it has won.




Tomas Ahlbeck

Swedish Standup comedian, writer & diabetic. Published a few books, done a few gigs. ‘Sweden’s own dirty uncle, brilliant writing and some very dark humour.”