Billy Watson: Sex, Drugs and Marriage
Followers of the Dot Com(edy) Spot will be well aware who Billy Watson is, as he has garnered more than a few fans here at PPSF. For the unaware, Billy first had designs of becoming a rock star but, in his own words, his “severe lack of musical talent” held him back. It was the late, great Bill Hicks that brought Billy’s passion for stand-up to fruition, with him realising it was a great way to vent off his anger at the injustices of the world and make people see the truth as read in David Icke books he’d picked up along his travels.
Billy’s first solo Edinburgh Fringe show was back in 2002. He recalls having had a tough enough time just trying to get 10 minute unpaid spots back then, nevermind performing one hour shows every day for a month. Even so, it got a three star review though, so it clearly wasn’t half as bad as he believed.
This year Billy will be be performing ‘Sex, Drugs and Marriage’ at the Laughing Horse. He sums the show up as portraying his “journey from drugged out loser in search of pussy through marriage to a psychotic Turkish woman and beyond”. What more could one ask for?
Billy kindly answered a few questions in the countdown to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
If you could describe your show as three Olympic sports which would you choose and why?
Diving – As I have not performed comedy since last year’s Edinburgh Festival, my show will feel like taking a big leap of faith off the top board into the deep end.
Tennis – It is a solo sport for which a great degree of flexibility and stamina is required. Hopefully the audience will return my jokes with laughter but I still aim to hit more than a few winners.
Archery – I will be taking aim at a few targets and trying to hit the bullseye to make as many points as possible, while still being entertaining of course.
For you what makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique compared to other comedy festivals?
I have not been to any other comedy festivals so I can’t really compare. However, this is the one that most comedians work all year round for and is seen as the place where you showcase the best of your year’s work. For that reason it is held in the highest regard. Plus, no other festival I’m sure gets as much rain. Lol.
What has been your defining moment there?
This will be the fourth time I have put on a one man show at Edinburgh. I can’t say I have had any particularly defining moment. I did get to the final of a cabaret competition in 2007 as Nob Stewart, so I guess that would be my biggest achievement there.
What is your worst memory/experience there?
It is pretty torturous flyering for a few hours and then have nobody turn up to your show. That has happened a few times. My toughest gig was when I had one elderly gentleman and one reviewer in the audience. I ended up just talking politics to them and although the gentleman was interested at what I had to say, at the end of the gig he said ‘Well, I’m thoroughly depressed now.’ I got a two star review.
Have your preview shows gone to plan?
Because I live in Turkey where there are no comedy clubs I have not had the chance to do any preview shows. As I said before, in at the deep end.
I spent two months writing out ‘Sex, Drugs and Marriage’ to tell the story of my life but because I couldn’t preview any of the material I have decided it is too big a risk to go through with that idea, so I will mix in some stories from my life with some of my older material.
I prefer to be spontaneous anyway and the thought of doing the same show every day was weighing heavy on my mind. This way, I will be free to improvise as required and therefore I will enjoy it more and thus I think the audience will too.
What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?
I will be attending the Alternative Fringe launch night at The Hive, where Bob Slayer will be the host. I became friends with Bob at last year’s festival when I got involved in Kunt and the Gang’s Cockgate Scandal. You can read the story and watch the videos on my website, www.billywatson.tv.
Which acts will you definitely be going to see?
I will go and see some of my friends shows for sure. Phil Kay, John Scott, Patrick Monahan, Raymond Mearns, Kunt and the Gang, Lewis Schaffer and Ro Campbell. I also know Gavin Webster but this year I am particularly interested in his show ‘Bill Hicks Wasn’t Funny’ because I started performing comedy due to being inspired by Bill Hicks and I am interested to see what he has to say about him. Other than that I usually just go with the flow.
What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?
I intend to try and stay sober for this year’s festival because in the past the stress of it all has made me hit the booze and it affects your energy levels. I want to try and stay as clear headed as possible and focus on doing the best show I can. However, I do intend to have more than a few after my last show.
After the festival itself I have two weeks in Scotland to take my American girlfriend to various parts of the country as she has never been here before, and to be honest after living in Turkey for 6 years I miss the country myself.
What unique selling point would you say your show has that other shows don’t?
My USP I think is just me being me. I have led quite an interesting life and have some viewpoints that are not the standard way of seeing things. The mix of my personal stories coupled with my beliefs should make for an interesting hour.
I will also be performing some poems from my poetry book and may even get the guitar out even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Nob Stewart may even make an appearance to sing one of his comedy songs. All in all, although I am a bit nervous, I am looking forward to it and intend to enjoy myself as much as possible.