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| September 17, 2019

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About-Howard Gorman

Howard Gorman

Howard Gorman

Comedy Chords Editor-in-Chief / Features Editor and Writer. Also writes for Consequence of Sound, MusicOMH, Fresh On The Net, Lyric Lounge Review and Faded Glamour. Comedy and music promoter/writer. Translator.

Posts By Howard Gorman

Interview with Ray Addison: Big In Dubai!

July 30, 2012 |

Four Dubai based comedians will be flying in to perform their show ‘Big in Dubai’ at the Fringe this year. Expect 40% more laughs as none of them pay tax.
Host Mina Liccione (MTV, Broadway) will be joined on stage by fellow stand up comedians Ray Addison, Jamie Johnson and Ali Al Sayed, to bring us the first ever United Arab Emirates produced comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival.
Hot on the heels of their Dubai send off preview show (the biggest turn out for a local comedy gig to date) one quarter of the team, Ray Addison, was happy to answer a few questions for us.

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.

Eager – we’re the first UAE produced comedy show to debut at the Fringe. We’ve got a lot to say.
Vast – it’s the collected experiences of 4 very different people with different backgrounds. Two Brits, a Yank and an Arab. All crammed in to 60 minutes!
Distinct – you won’t see another show like this at the fringe because this is a first!

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The history.
The acts that have appeared there.
The careers that have been made over the years.

What has been your best moment there?

I just love the excitement of the place. Nothing beats an opening night, even that first day of flyering is exciting.

What was your worst experience there?

I first appeared there when I was 12 years old in the chorus line of a terrible play called Frontiers. We had to stop having an intermission to prevent the audiences from leaving. I’m hoping this show will be better.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

We held our preview show in Dubai in front of a packed crowd of 400 people. It was a great night and the biggest comedy show ever staged in Dubai without flying in an international act.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

We get an international audience in Dubai and there is an international audience in Edinburgh. Some references obviously have had to change but comedy is universal.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Check into the hostel. Help set up the venue. Pick up posters and flyers, then I have a gig in the afternoon.

Which acts will you be catching there?

Gotta see Stewart Lee and Rhys Darby. Must avoid Mark Little.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Fly back to Dubai and carry on gigging.

Why should people go and see your show?

Seeing all 4 acts in Big in Dubai would normally cost you 700 pounds because you’d have to fly to Dubai to do it. We bring the show to you, and it’s free!

You can catch ‘Big in Dubia’ at GHQ, from 4-11 August, at 19:35.

All information available on the Fringe site.

Tiffany Stevenson: Uncomfortably Numb

July 29, 2012 |

Many of you will be more than familiar with Tiffany Stevenson as the runner-up in the ITV final of ‘Show Me the Funny’which was swiftly followed by a national tour. Described by The Guardian as “Mouthy, cynical and sexually frank“, she prepares to return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with an all new solo show, ‘Uncomfortably Numb’. Her previous solo Edinburgh shows, Cavewoman, Dictators and Along Came A Spider ammassed more than impressive audience figures with critics having nothing but praise for her. In other words, this is not to be missed.

In ‘Uncomfortably Numb’ Tiffany discovers that the battle against ageing is more than skin deep. Fringe Festival goers will follow her on her trip beneath the grimy epidermis to tackle diverse topics, ranging from class hatred, racism and sexism. She claims that now is the time to start giving a shit…..with jokes.

When did you realise you wanted to be a comedian?

I wanted to be a dancer! I still do! I used to work as a tequila girl in between acting   jobs and that was like heckler training.

When and where was your first ever gig and how well did it go down?

It was in a lesbian bar, a mate of mine dragged up to get in…It’s a bit of a blur really. I remember they were supportive and I got laughs which must have encouraged me to continue!

How do you bounce back after a gig goes awry?

I tell myself how awesome I am and how rubbish they were ! Really you have to take it on the chin, try and work out why it happened and then move on. They happen less when you have been at it a few years but they still happen!  You can be smashing every gig but there is always a stinker waiting to pop up and knock you off your pedestal.

This year’s Edinburgh Festival will be host to your new show “Uncomfortably Numb”. What can we expect from this year’s show?

Jokes! Thoughts! Ideas! Stories! Stuff that I care about! Women, men, plastic surgery, class, ageing, relationships….and how they all change as we get older.

How well did the preview shows go? Do you find you have to make a lot of changes before the final show or does most of what you include in previews tend to make the final cut?

It’s always evolving but I try and nail the themes for the preview and use them to learn the show.

Also, during the Edinburgh Festival do you find yourself introducing new material that works over the course of the month?

Only if it already fits with my show…like I had a tiny bit on the riots last year. Generally it’s not topical stuff that rules my hour. I’ll do that at club gigs, Old Rope or on TV.

For you, what is it that makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique?

When you pull into Waverly the adrenaline starts going and the anticipation is immense……Edinburgh is the theatre of dreams for comics.  In golfing terms, it’s the Open, so anyone can take a show. You get the best in the world and bouncy castle Hamlet.  When you see a queue for your show the satisfaction is immense, I always think ‘You choose me!’ it’s very flattering. It’s a beautiful city and some of my seminal life moments have happened there.

It’s like a school trip for comics. You get to hang out with all your mates under the watchful eyes of agents, TV producers and reviewers.  I think there has to be at least one adult for every 2 comics. That is how it works isn’t it?

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Festival?

Lady Carol, Rob Beckett, ReAnimator The Musical, Stuart Black, Roisin Conaty, Nick Doody, Felicity Ward, Carl Donnelly, Celia Paquola, Return Of The Lumberjacks, Coalition, Benny Boot, Susan Sarandon.

What is the first thing you’ll be doing as soon as the Fringe draws to an end?

I’m shooting a TV show in Manchester, then off to New York for a holiday. We have friends who live in Queens so I would like to go and be a proper tourist.

I have heard that you made a New Year’s Resolution to learn an instrument to a ‘decent standard’. Why this decision? Are you planning to add a musical extravaganza to your stand-up shows?

God no! I just felt a bit lazy. It was either instrument or language. I can now play a mean ‘London’s Burning’ on the recorder.

When you recall “Show Me The Funny”, do you have fond memories? I would have liked to have seen a few more female comics on the show. The show was criticised even though it got a fairly decent audience. Do you think maybe they featured too much behind the scenes when people really wanted to see actual stand-up comedy?

I loved the show and the challenges it threw up, I was just thinking the other day ‘This time last year we were all frolicking in Blackpool’ and I really missed everyone! I think something like 4 million watched the final live and a couple more on catch up, which are good figures for a stand up show. I think all the comics wished there had been more stand up, or at least that we had been shown at the beginning, storming normal gigs before showing what we were like under pressure.  I think people are interested in the process of stand up, hence why audiences come along to Old Rope. It’s about striking the right balance really.

Do you think it was fair for the judges to constantly pick up on Ellie being too pretty to be a stand-up? In a recent interview with Abi Roberts she agreed, saying “you need to be the kind of woman who doesn’t immediately threaten other women”. Would you agree?

Both Ellie and myself had great gigs in front of the all female audience so that is clearly not true.  People used to say that to me all the time when I first started. I think it’s more about knowing who you are on stage. Once that happens, it’s sort of irrelevant what you look like.  Sometimes I’ll get a wolf whistle or a comment from a guy but I can use that to my advantage and subvert it.

Do you still keep in touch with the other Show Me The Funny contestants at all?

I knew Pat and Stu before we started, so I still see them quite a lot. Also, it was great getting to know Dan and Ellie so we have hung out post show too. In fact, I think all of us are at the Fringe this year so maybe we will have a reunion!

What can we expect from you in the future? You have been seen on the telly a few times, appearing in shows such as The Office. Do you have any plans to appear on the TV any time soon?

It’s not really up to me! I get asked to do things, which is nice and I turn up and do them. Show Me The Funny gave me a great launch pad to do things like ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’.  I have a couple of my own projects in development and some acting in a new series for Channel 5. Stand up wise I have appearances on Comedy Store on Comedy Central, Eurogeddon for ITV and Olympic Moments on BBC3 coming up in the next month.

What are your favourite comedy shows on the television at the moment?

I love South Park, 30 Rock, The Thick Of It, Cougar Town, East Bound & Down.

Obviously, all jobs have their highs and lows. What are the highs and lows of being a stand-up comedian?

The high of an audience laughing is amazing, when they love everything, it’s like a play that you’ve written, performed and directed yourself. Other perks of the job include working with amazingly talented people, getting to travel the world and be your own boss. Non perks are not ALL comics are great people, some bookers are sexist, internet forums exist and you are your own boss.

A few quick fire questions:

Favourite Movie

Sex In The City 4 – Senior Citizens On Patrol.

Worst Movie you have ever seen

A home movie of me trying to break dance at the age of 7.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m re-reading my Sherlock Holmes.

What songs are you listening to at the moment?

Heaven by Emeli Sande,  Hip to be Square by Huey Lewis and Epic by Faith No More.

Which rising comedians would you like to see more of?

Me. Failing that. Joey Page, Rob Beckett, Jessica Fostekew, Dane Baptiste.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who constantly bring up Susan Sarandon

 

You can catch Tiff at the Underbelly, Cowgate at 19:50 from the 2nd until the 26th of August (except the 13th).

Ticket information is available here.

Stuart Goldsmith: Pr!ck

July 29, 2012 |

Stuart Goldsmith will have to employ some of his accrued street juggling experiences for Edinburgh this year. Not only will he be performing his brand new one-man show, Pr!ck, but he’ll also be packing his bi-weekly podcast series in his suitcase to perform ‘The Comedian’s Comedian Live’, grilling the Edinburgh Festival Fringe headliners on how they create their material from scratch.

Pr!ck is described as “Selfishness, narcissism, violence and a winning smile. This show will make you a worse person.” It has been tipped as one of the best of the fest by none other than someone he’ll so dearly remember from ITV’s ‘Show Me the Funny’, Kate Copstick. Stuart himself has also laid down a rather challenging gauntlet for comedy reviewers and critics alike (see video below), so it was only fitting for us to ask him a few questions about his prognosis for the month ahead.

You have been interviewing comedians for your podcast ‘The Comedian’s Comedian’. What would you say were the three main experiences/tips your guests have provided that you have taken on board yourself to improve your act?

– Instead of using the first idea you think of (which everyone thinks of), or the second (which the clever people think of), use the third! [Arthur Smith]

– Do it because you love the work, not because you want to be famous or rich [Adam Bloom]

– Use the steam in a hotel bathroom to take the wrinkles out of your shirt [Sarah Millican]

Which moment you have experienced at the festival best sums up the Fringe?

– I saw Eddie Izzard and 2 old-school street performer friends of his, Vince Henderson and John Feeley, improvise a streetshow from scratch. Sublime.

What was your weirdest experience there?

Juggling 3 kippers onstage during Arthur Smith’s show in 2011. Bloody nailed it, mind. No drops – very proud.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

The plan was to take lots of risks and make lots of mistakes. I’m pleased to report the plan’s worked perfectly!

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

The show is constantly growing and developing – pretty sure I’ve nailed it down now, but this year I’m all about keeping it loose so we’ll see…

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Unpack. Stock up on fresh fruit and veg. Swear a blood-oath to stay sober.

Which other acts will you be catching there?
Eddie Pepitone, Hannibal Buress, Pappy’s, Sara Pascoe (all upcoming guests on the live podcast show at Gilded Balloon!)
Plus newcomers Danny McLaughlin, Nish Kumar and Joe Lycett.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

– Decompress for a week. Probably burst into tears. Then start writing next year’s show.

How confident are you with the gauntlet you have laid down to reviewers and critics? Surely it will be a challenge in itself to draw a line with so many possible double entendres.

– Well quite! I suspect however that Kate Copstick (Scotsman comedy reviewer) is masterminding a joint attempt on the part of the critics to see that no puns slip out and the charity gets the full grand!

Why should people be heading to see you at this year’s Fringe?

– I’m trying to convince my audience to all get off with each other, and it’s BOUND to work at least once. Plus there’s fuck-loads of great jokes.

Prick will be performed at Pleasance Courtyard, 1-26 August, at 19:30. Ticket information here.

The Comedian’s Comedian Live will be performed at the Gilded Balloon Teviot, 1-26 August, at 12:15. Ticket information here.

Patrick Monahan: Shooting From the Lip

July 28, 2012 |

2012 Loaded LAFTA’s Best Newcomer and Forth Radio’s Best Stand-Up People’s Choice, Patrick Monahan, will be making a welcome return to this year’s Fringe. Performing at the festival for the ninth year in a row, the larger than life Teesider/Spooner/Hugger is bringing some all new material with him. Having said that, critics and fellow comedians praise Patrick as being one of the few comics who manages to make each night a totally unique experience, so expect the unexpected.

We caught up with him as he prepared to board the hugging train to Edinburgh:

If you could describe your show as three Olympic sports which would you choose and why?
It would have to be gymnastics, cos I like to fall on mats!
It would have to be wrestling, cos I could just hug people for ages holding on pretending I’m wrestling!
It would have to be the 100m relay race, cos I’d swap the baton for a cream cake so that we could all have a bite while I’m passing it on!
For you, what makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique compared to other comedy festivals?
Edinburgh is like the Mecca of comedy cos comedians and performers from all over the world come to the festival from West Africa to West Wales!
Also, there’s comedy and shows on all day from early in morning to 5am at night, whereas other festivals people like to go to sleep!
What has been your defining moment there?
Every year doing the festival, you learn so much it would be hard to pinpoint one moment but I’d say that hosting “Late an Live” shows at 1am soon teaches you how to pump energy into a room of 400 drunk people on Prozac!
What is your worst memory/experience there?
One time I tried to pretend to be a gymnast, where I tried to lift a person above me head whilst walking off the stage, not realising there was an extra step off the stage and me foot tripped and took a persons body weight above me head, which instantly tried to snap me ankle and kept me in hospital for a night and hobbling about for the next 3 weeks at Edinburgh!
Have your preview shows gone to plan?
Well if the plan is to over run by 10 minutes and still have routines left over to use!
I always get excited at previews and try and preview everything except the stuff that I’ll use in me shows!
Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?
Yep all the time, constantly having to cut, edit, swap, rotate, change words, sprinkle with cake crumbs!
What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?
Take me crumbled clothes out of me suit case that I packed the night before because I never pack on the morning cos I always think I’m going to sleep in and miss me train!
Also go and buy loads of food to snack on and toilet paper, and a TV guide, even though I wouldn’t be able to watch any telly cos I’ll be on stage doing shows till 4am!
Which acts will you definitely be going to see?
Everyone that I can! The great thing about the festival is that you can go and see loads of other acts as long as they are not on the same time as you!
What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?
Sleep, sleep, sleep and a bit more sleep! Eat hot meals without having to eat it in a shovel!
Watch telly using the TV guide that I bought, even though it’s out of date. Most stuff on telly is repeated!
What unique selling point would you say your show has that other shows don’t?
My show comes with this guaranteed at the start and end! With mentions of cake and dances and promises of happiness!
Patrick’s show will be performed every night at 8pm at the Gilded Balloon (Wine Bar)  from the 1st to the 26th of August (except the 14th) (Ticket information here.)

It’s Grimm Up North. Taking Edinburgh Fringe to New Heights

July 27, 2012 |
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, there were only stand-ups and sketch shows. That was, until the knight in shining armour, Hardbody Productions, came along. Inspired by fairytales, fables and films, they found themselves brandishing more than enough material for their particular blend of cartoon humour and parody.

This year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be home to the world premiere of ‘It’s Grimm Up North’, an animated series set in the fictional town of Hardington. The series features a waide array of bizarre characters such as a b’stardly barber and a gaff-prone general practitioner.

Here we included the ‘teaser’ for episode one on our Dot Com(edy) Spot last week, with the teaser for episode two featuring this evening.

As they prepare to screen what will be the Fringe’s first ever animated feature, we spoke to Director of Hardbody Productions, Matthew Linsley.

Which three adjectives best describe your show and why?

“First, only, animated”. It’s the Fringe festival’s first ever, and only, animated comedy!

For you what makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique compared to other comedy festivals?

The sheer size and variety of acts on offer at all hours of the day.

What has been your defining moment there?

So far, just appearing is the defining moment as it’s our first time this year!

What is your worst memory/experience there?

As it’s the first time we have no bad memories but we hope to be able to give the same answer after the festival!

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Yes, they have gone just as expected. We have received very, very good feedback and also very, very bad! Our work has provoked strong reactions either way, which is great!

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

There have been some slight moderations based on feedback to some scenes but nothing major.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Giving out flyers to as many people as possible.

Which acts will you definitely be going to see?

Patrick Monahan and Graham Oakes as they are both superb!

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Most probably sleep, sleep and more sleep.

You can catch ‘Grimm Up North” at theSpace @ Symposium Hall from the 3rd until the 25th of August. Times may vary so be sure to check the ticket sales and calendar here.

Billy Watson: Sex, Drugs and Marriage

July 27, 2012 | 1

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.

 

Milo McCabe: Kenny Moon – This Is Your Life

July 27, 2012 |

If you’re familiar with UK based character comedian Milo McCabe you will no doubt have seen him perform as Portuguese character, ‘Philberto’. Despite the popularity of his alter ego, Milo will be putting down his bottle of vintage Madeira to perform a brand new solo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, ‘Kenny Moon – This Is Your Life’, whilst fitting in time to take part in the play ‘George Ryegold’s God-In-A-Bag’.

His solo performance is described as a ‘fascinating, funny, moving show, based around the life of his father, old school comic and New Faces finalist, Mike’. Milo will play a whole range of characters from his Dad’s past, in an attempt to express just how much British comedy has evolved since the seventies. Mike McCabe will play Kenny Moon, whilst Chris Henry hosts.

We posed a few questions to Milo as he prepares for the very long month ahead.

 

If you could describe your show as three kitchen utensils which would you choose and why?

A blender, because there are lots of different things going on in the show, a coffee machine, because it’ll get you thinking and an Aga oven, because my Dad’s in the show and his comedy’s very old fashioned. I honestly thought that was going to be a tough one to answer.

For you what makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique compared to other comedy festivals?

The level of intellect and comedic savvy of the punters. Performance wise, there really is nothing like playing to a typical Edinburgh crowd.

What has been your defining moment there?

My defining moment was probably getting to the finals of The Amused Moose Laughter awards last year.

What is your worst memory/experience there?

Watching Tony Law start his set in the abovementioned finals and realizing that despite making a good account of my show, there was nothing that was going to beat him that day. That wasn’t so much a bad memory as a grim realization.

In terms of bad experience, it has to be getting smacked in the face by a hefty Glaswegian girl last year when I stepped in to stop her battering her much smaller friend just outside the Caves venues (in full view of about fifty people). I was left with a black eye for my last show and they were seen ten minutes after the incident cuddling each other and crying.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Yes and no. Preview number two sucked hard, as number two preview shows tend to do, probably because there isn’t the mad adrenaline that powers the first one. However, in terms of previews, that was the most successful, because it showed up a lot of weak spots. The last three previews have gone to plan but I’m sure a few things will change over the run.

What’s interesting in the preview process is how certain sections begin to get very tedious for you as a performer, and these are the bits that need to be cut. From the first preview I’d say at least 60% of the show has changed.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Could I have three? Thanks. Try and load in early at The Gilded Balloon. Go to the supermarket and stock up the flat, and then walk around the streets at night while they’re still relatively empty.

Which acts will you definitely be going to see?

Chris Henry on the free fringe (and not just because he’s in my show either), Dr Brown, Paul Foot and Nick Mohammed. Oh and Chris Stokes if we didn’t clash and I hadn’t already seen his show, which is a real gem. I also want to check out Matt Roper’s Wilfredo, because we have some ridiculous comic parallels. We both had old school comics as fathers (mine being in the show this year!) and we both perform foreign character acts on the circuit. And I’ve heard it’s awesome.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

I’m going canoeing on the river Wye with three of my scouse mates. The only people we’ll see are other canoers or suspicious looking farmers. I doubt I’ll have a refuge from comedy though, mostly at my expense. You know what scousers are like…

What unique selling point would you say your show has that other shows don’t?

I can honestly say that I don’t think there’s a show at the festival like my one. My Dad’s onstage the whole hour and I play a number of different characters from his past, with the narrative being a true one, relating to my Dad stealing some material and performing it on TV in the nineties.

You can buy tickets for his solo show here and tickets for the play he is in here.

Phil Buckley: Simple Things / Stupid World Tour

July 26, 2012 |

Phil Buckley performed his first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe back in 2007 with ‘Stroke the Panda’. He proved extremely succesful with a number of subsequent tours. The show ‘Jokes Not Included’ was nominated for best solo comedy show at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2010 and Phil has also found himself a finalist in the ‘City Life Comedian of the Year’ and the Frog and Bucket’s ‘Beat the Frog World Series’.

More recently he has been supporting ‘The Boy With Tape On His Face’ on his spring tour, and has gone down so well that he’s been asked for a repeat performance on the autumn leg of the tour. Before that, Phil will performing not one but two different shows as part of this year’s Edinburgh Free Festival.

The first show ,’Simple Things’ sees Phil looking at the simple things in life that make you “laugh, smile and just plain make you happy”. His second show, ‘Stupid World Tour’ poses the question, is stupidity really a bad idea and can acts of uadulterated foolery truly lead to large amount of happiness?

He was happy to answer a few questions in the build up to this year’s Fringe.

Describe your Edinburgh shows with three adjectives and explain why.

Crazy, stupid & funny. My material is aimed to just make you laugh, it’s not big and it’s not clever, but it is funny.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The whole environment during the festival is crazy and you just get swept up in it. I wasn’t going to do it this year, but I got asked to work on another show and it didn’t take much to convince me.

What has been your best moment there?

The last time I went up was in 2010 and the last day of my show was the day after all the big four had stopped doing shows and I expected nobody to be there. I headed to my venue to discover not only did I have an audience, but the room was full and people were being turned away. A great end to what had been a great festival

What was your worst experience there?

The first time I went up to do a show, called ‘Stroke The Panda’. The show was about being single and trying all the different types of dating. The shows were going great until the day I had a reviewer in. I knew she was there and was trying to ignore her when I did a joke about it being really hard to meet a girl in Salford because if you want to talk to her you first have to step through her earrings. The line got a huge reaction so I turned to look at the reviewer only to realize she had the biggest hoop earrings I’d ever seen.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

They went really well. As always, you come away with bits you need to tighten, but the show has been really well received.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

Not a huge amount, it just needed tightening up and making a lot quicker

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

First thing is always to head to City Restaurant for a breakfast. It’s not Edinburgh without a Maxi Breakfast.

Which acts will you be catching there?

The Boy With Tape On His Face is a genius and can’t wait to see it take over Edinburgh.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Sleep. It’s a really long month and I’ll need lots of sleep and fruit.

Why should people go and see your show?

It’s funny. I like to look at the world in a fun friendly way and my shows invite the audience in to my world.

‘Simple Things’

Date: 2-26th August

Venue: Venue 170 – The Lounge @ The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DD

Show time: 1415 (60mins)

Ticket price: Free Show

‘Stupid World Tour’

Date: 2-26th August

Venue: Venue 272 – The Yurt Locker @ The Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS

Show time: 1915 (60mins)

Ticket price: Free Show

CHRIS HENRY: WE NEED TO TALK

July 25, 2012 |

Chris Henry has been a regular on the comedy circuit for years now having performed in all corners of the UK, with the occasional BBC and ITV appearance. Now, at the age of 34, still living life as if he were in his tender 20s, he claims he’s lost friends, jobs, relationships, family, religion and dignity and is ready to bare all in his first full-run solo Fringe show, We Need To Talk.

In spite of appearing to have lost virtually everything, he was only too happy to lose a bit of time answering our questions:

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.

Vain . It’s all about me dealing with hearing the phrase “we need to talk” too many times.

Profitless. I’m performing at the free festival at the Free Sisters, so I can’t stop your readers coming in without paying.

Funny. It might be all about me and I might be broke, but it’s still a comedy show and a damn funny one at that darling.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The Fringe is like being in Gotham just after the Scarecrow has broken out the lunatics from the asylum, but they’ve replaced their hunger for chaos with a need for recognition. It doesn’t get more special than that.

What has been your best moment there?

Climbing to the top of Arthur’s seat at 5 am. Never go drinking with a fitness fanatic that’s been on Red Bull all night.

What was your worst experience there?

Being rather intoxicated at a late night party and trying to convince a very well known comic that I loved a piece of material he performed, whilst he repeatedly told me that he never had. Apparently I was there for some time.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Of course not. That’s why we do the previews. I have gone from the first one being a stuttering, stammering mess, holding notes and rushing through routines, to a calmer, charismatic, performing, stammering mess.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

The format has so far changed three times: bits have been dropped, routines added. I started with a wild obtuse oak and I’m now aiming for a refined bonsai.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Go straight to a supermarket and buy food before I run out of money. And since it’s Edinburgh, my shopping trip shall be similar to Renton’s for “The Sick Boy Method” in Trainspotting, although I wont be looking for the suppositories.

Which acts will you be catching there?

Milo McCabe (because I’m also in his show), Mark Nelson, Billy Kirkwood, Christian Reilly, Jimeoin, Davey Conner, Sean Hughes and many others.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Sleep, eat vegetables and tell my mother that I’m still alive.

Why should people go and see your show?

There are loads of reasons to come see my show. It’s funny, its some of the best material I’ve ever written, hearing the wonderful sound of an audience laughing every day will stop me from crying myself to sleep, its funny, it’s on in the early afternoon (3.30) so it’s perfect for starting your day at the festival, it’s FREE, it’s funny (for more reasons why you should come see it, come see it).

You can catch Chris’ show at The Yurt Locker, at The Free Sisters, Venue 272.

Shows run from the 3rd until the 26th of August at 3:30 pm (no show on the 24th).

Be sure to keep up with Chris over on his website.

SAMEENA ZEHRA: TEA WITH TERRORISTS

July 25, 2012 |

If you prefer being tickled with funny stories than Tim Vine gagathons then Sameena Zehra’s Fringe show Tea With Terrorists may be right up your street. She’ll be sharing experiences she’s gained from a life straddling two very diverse cultures; covering even more diverse topics ranging from having tea with terrorists in Kashmir to planning the perfect murder. As you can imagine her tales are just as shocking as they are funny.

She was happy to answer a few questions as we discovered terrorists can in fact be a real hoot.

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.

Unique, because it explores a world that not many people have experienced; a world of piss poor terrorists, sheep that stalk you, the perfect murder, and magnificently vicious old ladies.

Funny in an absurdist sort of way. Some of the situations are bizarre and inexplicable, but you have to laugh because if you didn’t, life would be depressing and pointless!

Terrific‘, (not sure that adjective has made it to the OED!) according to Rip it up, Adelaide- I guess because some of it is terrifying to think of, but hilarious at the same time.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The Fringe is part trade show, part smorgasbord of every sort of artistic performance, all in one place, in a human scale city where everything is within walking distance. Where else can you watch shows every hour of the day, without shelling out hundreds of pounds; where you can mix the sublime with the ridiculous, the professional with the amateur, the experimental with the truly bizarre? It’s wonderful to perform, surrounded by the buzzing artistic creativity and the anticipation and excitement of a population of locals and tourists who have traveled from all over the world to come and join in. It’s fabulous. There’s really nothing else like it in the world.

What has been your best moment there?

It’s difficult to pin point a single moment. I’m relatively new to the Fringe- last year was my first time there, so everything was new and exciting. I guess the best moment for me was seeing Josie Long, Mark Thomas and Daniel Kitson on the same bill during a charity gig for Palestine. Three of my favourite performers in one place; just great. bumping into Rich Hall and chatting for 5 minutes, leaving and realising i had been calling him ‘Reg’ the whole time. He didn’t correct me, but it sort of explains why he looked in a hurry to get away, although he was nothing less than polite and charming.

What was your worst experience there?

Losing an hour of my life watching a show, which will remain nameless, when i could have been watching something good. However, it was free, and that’s part of the democracy of the free festival. I suppose I could have left after the first 10 excruciating minutes, but I was one of only 6 people there and I couldn’t bring myself to make the performer cry.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Pretty much. I did them as double bills with other comics and met some fab people, who I would definitely go see again. Trevor Lock, Damien Kingsley, Daphna Baram, Ali Shahrukhi. I recommend catching their shows if you are up there.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

Not really. It seems to have gone down really well. I am a comedy storyteller, so I’m not delivering punchlines every thirty seconds. It’s a more gentle sort of comedy that creeps up on you while the story is being told. It’s pretty much set the way it is. I’m comfortable with it, I’m enjoying it and the audience seems to be loving it; thank goodness for that!

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Boringly, I will be doing banal things like checking into my flat, buying groceries and settling in. Then I will go for a walk and take in the city. It’s such a beautiful place and I really love the architecture.

Which acts will you be catching there?

I’ve got tickets already to see Daniel Kitson, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that, I will suck it and see. Part of the fun is wandering along and discovering things spontaneously, sometimes from recommendations received from people I meet in cafes or in the street. It’s the kind of thing that happens in Edinburgh!

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Drive home and then sleep for 3 days, probably!

Why should people go and see your show?

It’s funny, unique, and full of surprises and crazy characters. If you like a good story, you’ll love it. If you like shock comedy full of cock jokes, best stay away!

Tea With Terrorists will run from 2-18 of August at Captain Taylor’s Coffee House, 18 South Bridge at 6.45 pm.

You can follow Sameena on her website www.sameenazehra.com