An Interview With Grant Stott

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THE MUMBLE :  When did you realise that you were actually kinda funny & people were digging your stuff?
GRANT :  Tricky one to answer, I was always a show off at school and was constantly getting in bother for it – once getting the belt for doing Eric and Ernie’s “Bring Me Sunshine” dance as the class line made it’s way into school!!! WTF?!? But I never really got up with a prepared set of words which got laughs until my wedding day.  It was a very important moment for me (oh aye and the getting married bit too) but hearing people laugh at my stories was a huge buzz…but it took years of trying out wee bits here and there and courage plucking to garner the necessary gonads to get up and do my own one man show.
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image1.jpegTHE MUMBLE :  You are a Hibee fan of course – well you’d need a good sense of humour to be one – so did you & your family get a photo taken with the cup
GRANT :  You serious? I got my hands on the Cup THAT night! I was lucky enough to get invited back to the Club for the post match party with my Dad and we spent the night getting photos with the Cup, the team and the Cup again.
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THE MUMBLE : Which comedians both past & present have tickled your own funny bone?
GRANT :  Billy Connolly is the obvious one – but I remember watching his “Audience With..” programme when it first went out in the 80s and for the first time heard stories about things that I could ABSOLUTELY relate to…Late Call….The Carry Out and Looking For A Party and of course, the drunk singer in the corner!
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Timage2.JPGHE MUMBLE :  You are just about to take your hit Fringe show Tales From Behind The Mic on tour around Scotland. Can you tell us a little about it.
GRANT :  It’s really a show that has genuinely been 27 years in the making.  I tell (mostly) true stories of my journey from leaving school to DJ at a roller disco to joining the police to getting in trouble for DJ’ing while still in the Police and eventually moving into radio and some of the many funny things that have happened to me on (and off) air.  I’ve kept archive audio from callers that did – and didn’t – make it on air and I use them along with tweets and Facebook posts from listeners who can often be a little less than kind when commenting on you.  I also take a moment to explain how my internet sensation “That’s Fife” came about.
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THE MUMBLE :  How long does it take to create a show like Tales From Behind The Mic?
GRANT :  Apart from being 27 years in the making, the decision was made to do it in March last year and I spent the following few weeks writing the script, collecting the stories, putting them in order and working with Ryan Dewar who took them all and helped bring them to life on the screen by some very clever video creations.  We rehearsed for about a two week period in July with Andy Gary casting his directorial eye over the proceedings.  Did a one off preview at Radio Forth for the staff the week before we opened, which was invaluable and gave us lots to change before we finally opened the following week!!
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THE MUMBLE :  What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Grant Stott?
GRANT :  Well, the tour which will take in about 13 nights over a two month period starts at the end of February, the same week I’m back at the Kings in Edinburgh to appear in Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show.  I’ll finish the tour back at the Kings in Edinburgh myself for one night only in May and then in the summer will team up with Andy Gary for a brand new project for the Edinburgh Fringe.  The year will finish as it started; in Panto at The Kings in Cinderella!

An Interview with Rick Molland

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THE MUMBLE – Hi Rick, so where ya from & how did you end up in Edinburgh

RICK – I’m originally from Liverpool, but been in Edinburgh for 15yrs now. I came to Edinburgh for a work placement that was supposed to be 6 months, after 2 days here I decided I wanted to stay. I love this city.

THE MUMBLE –What made you get into comedy into the first place?

RICK – There’s a few things that lead to it I’d guess…. I developed a genuine love of comedy as a kid, through things like Who’s Line is it Anyway, Have I got News for You, Drop the Dead Donkey and Black Adder. Skip forward a few years, I’d just drifted though life and I found myself post uni in a routine i hated, 40 hours a week, hitting targets, new relationship, Insurance penetration, company cars, company mortgage, one holiday a year, get pissed at the weekend, credit card debt, relationship fails, giving a shit about x-factor results and who said what to who on jungle program, Monday morning hits, another fucking 40 hours. I figured It’s probably not a good sign, when you’re walking to work and hoping to get knocked over by a car. Something had to change.

One day I snapped. I quit my job, sold my flat, cleared my debt, inadvertently ended a shitty relationship, went back to uni to to study film production and started doing stand-up comedy.

THE MUMBLE – Whats your favorite corny joke by somebody else

RICK – Gary Delaney’s Joke – They’ve got a special on at Tesco’s; He’s doing the trolleys!

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THE MUMBLE – MonkeyBarrel is expanding this year, can you tell us the shpiel.

RICK – Monkey Barrel is no longer the little gig above a pup on the Grassmarket, thanks to hard work of Ben Verth, John Millar, David Bleese and Chris Griffin, Monkey Barrel Comedy now has its own purpose built venue open 6 days a week on Blair Street. We opened at the beginning of December and since then the shows have just been going from strength to strength. It’s comedy by night whilst the cafe serves great food during the day. The beer is pretty cheap as well!

THE MUMBLE – Who are we to look out for in 2017 at Monkey Barrel nights.

RICK – New Acts – Will Naameh is definitely one to watch this year. Personally I want to see more of Ben, Chris and John back on stage! Looking further ahead a the line ups, Matt Price, Jamali Maddix and Patrick Monahan are ones that I’m really looking forward to seeing.

THE MUMBLE – Whats the best joke you’ve ever written yourself.

RICK – Tough one. I don’t really do short gags, and I compere so much that I’ve not written a new Joke down in years, I sort of just wing it. Glasgow Comedy Festival is fast approaching so most of my writing these days goes to the “Freedom of Speech” double act I do with Sully Sullivan. It’s difficult to lift jokes directly from it due to it’s format, but It’s the best show we’ve ever written. We get to talk about Issues of Freedom of Speech along with Fake News, Trump, Putin, Boris, Britain First and Sponge Bob Square Pants. We’re at Yesbar, on Sunday 12 March 4.45pm.

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Rick & Sully

THE MUMBLE – What does 2017 have in store for Rick Molland

RICK –This year is looking pretty busy. There’s always a lot of Monkey Barrel stuff on the go and the Freedom of Speech Show in development for the Fringe 2017. This year, as well as show commitments, I’ve taken over the running of the Scottish Comedy Festival at the Beehive which is going to make for an interesting August! Sitting iu the background of all this is a longer term documentary feature film project that I’m directing. So creatively, things are looking pretty rich! Monetarily not so much!!

Rich Hall is Heading North

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This March, Rich Hall is bringing his Hoedown to Scotland for three nights only, as part of his spring tour.  Join Rich Hall and his virtuoso musical mates for a mash-up of music, comedy and gratuitous coloration as they return this spring with a UK tour of Rich’s infamous ‘Hoedown’. Rich’s Hoedown will be touring the UK from March until July this year, with a stop off in Lochgelly, Fife and Glasgow in March. The floor will reek of liquor and spent dreams. Tickets are on sale now!

Rich Hall is rightly regarded as one of the funniest comedians to come out of the US in recent times. And, as he is based here most of the time, we in this country have over the past three decades been lucky enough to benefit from his wonderfully grouchy sense of humour. The comedian, who has won both a Perrier (Edinburgh Comedy Festival) and a Barry (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) Award, is the most dazzlingly funny curmudgeon in The West.

Rich’s straight-talking and acerbic comedy leaves his targets reeling and his audiences in stitches. He sends up whichever country he is in, but perhaps reserves his most trenchant scorn for his native USA. He is a superb live performer but don’t just take my word for it. Critics have long praised Rich’s highly original deadpan style (which was the inspiration for the marvelously cantankerous barman, Moe Szyslak, in The Simpsons).

In the run-up to the tour, Rich takes some time out to chat with The Mumble. You will no doubt be very pleased to learn that this particular comedian is just as funny in an interview as he is on stage. Rich, who has presented such critically acclaimed BBC 4 documentaries as ‘Rich Hall’s Californian Stars’, ‘Rich Hall’s You Can Go To Hell, I’m Going To Texas’, ‘Rich Hall’s Inventing the Indian’ and his most recent, ‘Rich Hall’s Presidential Grudge Match’, begins by underlining how excited he is to be performing live once again. “I love being on stage”. “I love the fact that when a live show is over, it’s gone. It’s happened, and it will never happen like that again. It can’t be replicated. That’s a great magical moment.”

Rich, who is also an accomplished author and has released three books, ‘Magnificent Bastards’, ‘I Blame Society’ and ‘Things Snowball’, all published by Abacus Books, thrives on the spontaneity of live comedy. He observes that, “In every single show, there are always two or three moments where I’m thinking, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ You’re constantly thinking on your feet.”

One of the many unique features of Rich’s act is that he goes out of his way to find out about the town he is playing in and then improvises a song on stage about it. He goes the extra mile to tailor-make his material for that particular venue. “I try to tap into what is happening locally and address that musically by writing an improvised song based on the town I’m in.” Audiences really appreciate this bespoke comedy. “Once they realise you’re not just trotting out your regular act, people think, ‘He’s made a real effort. He’s on our side, so we’re on his side.” Then you can take them anywhere.

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“I like to do something custom-made every night, otherwise you would just be like a robot. That can really wear you down. Nobody gets more sick of hearing their own voice than a comedian.” Rich, who was also enjoyed huge success as his country and western musician alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw, carries on that, “When you’re improvising a song, you think, ‘I may never do this on again, but it’s a special moment for everyone here’.

“You want to reach the point where audiences say, ‘I’d like to see that guy again’. You want to deliver the goods and be Old Reliable.” The stand-up is one of only a handful of performers who can genuinely combine comedy and music in one act. He says that, “I will have such a great collection of musicians on stage for the Hoedown. Having a band there makes it a much richer experience – if you’ll pardon the phrase!”

Before he has to go, Rich reflects once more on what he loves so much about touring. “I’m not a big showbiz hound,” he muses, “but for me being on stage is the most satisfying thing imaginable.” A sentiment with which Rich’s legions of fans would no doubt wholeheartedly agree.

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Rich Hall’s Hoedown will be at the Lochgelly Centre in Lochgelly, Fife on Thursday 16th March and The Garage in Glasgow, as part of Glasgow Live International Comedy Festival on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th March. Tickets for Rich Hall’s Hoedown tour can be found at www.offthekerb.co.uk / @offthekerb / www.facebook.com/TheRichHall

Knightmare Live

Pleasance, King Dome

Run Complete

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Material :five-stars  Delivery : four-stars   Laughs : five-stars

Welcome watchers of illusion!!! The successful Knightmare Live returns to the fringe with an updated and revitalised show. This adaptation of the 80s kid cult TV classic is wonderfully nostalgic; we have fond memories of watching the show as little kids. This stage version of the program is hilarious with its combination of panto acting and ad libbing from the cast as they improvise their way through the show. What keeps the show fresh is that you never know what will happen as the contestants, props, realms and off the cuff dialogue changes every night. An audience member is chosen from a sea of risen hands to wear the iconic helmet of justice, they are given instructions from 2 fringe comedians to help navigate them through the dungeon as they come up against various dangerous tasks and puzzles to solve.

What we loved about the show was that it stayed true to the original format with its ramshackle set, brilliantly rubbish masks and homemade props. The cast really bounce of each other with their observational humour with an added adult element. Audience members shouting out the famous catchphrase “YOU’RE IN A ROOM” reminded us that the room was full of diehard Knightmare fans, some taking the whole thing quite seriously. This is a hysterical walk down memory lane with its quick witted cast and brilliantly replicated set; this is one not to be missed. We look forward to reaching the next level of the game if they return in 2017.

Reviewers : Laura & Ema Murray

five-stars

Omid Djalili : Smuck for a Night

Pleasance Courtyard

Edinburgh

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                              Material :three-stars  Delivery : five-stars   Laughs : four-stars                                                

This man needs no introduction; stand-up comedian , actor, television producer and writer, he has graced our stages and screens for many years now.  Having been in Gladiator and The Infidel,  Omid is a diverse entertainer that can turn his hand to many a challenge .  On the road with his new stand up show, Omid Djalili : Smuck for a Night, he has landed at the Edinburgh Festival for 5 nights only. Being played out in the huge arena that is The Grand at the Pleasance Courtya,rd the 300-strong crowd gathered for an afternoon of smutty jokes and laugh-a-minute comedy. With the show nearing its start, the loud speakers bellowed out some smooth reggae sounds, loosening us up for what was to come.

Entering the stage to massive applause, Omid milks every moment of it,  pressing his fans for more as the show begins with a bang !!!!  This is a stand-up show that takes you through the mind of a comic marvel. Adapting to fit around the current affairs of today and the world we live in his array of material is mind-bending. With attacks on politics, twitter, whats up, Brexit he takes on the world with his witty sense of humour.  Loud and consistent, taking no prisoners, he bombards us from left to right with fire-friendly jokes sending the audience into stitches of laughter.

Ploughing throw his set like a tank on a battlefield, we are soon thrown head-long into his hilarious world of ISIS.  Being of Iranian decent this gives him a free passport into this world of delicate matters. Powerful and fast paced this show strikes at the heart of comedy, moving along with ease as Omid pokes fun at hairy bears, culture, celebrities, religion, age and the world as a whole, his decision is finally made.  Life is about fun and Omid appears to have conquered that with his Smuck for a Night show. They say laughter is good for the soul then Omid hits the spot!!!!

Reviewed by Raymond Speedie

4

 

 

Andrea Hubert

The Counting House

26/08/2016

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Material :two-stars.png  Delivery : three-stars   Laughs : two-stars.png

“Perhaps 3.45 in the afternoon isn’t the best time to be making jokes about vaginas,” offers Andrea Hubert in response to a tepid audience response to the first half an hour of the show; perhaps she’s right, we’re in a tight space, it’s sunny outside, hot inside (We’re in a room accurately described as The Sitting Room) and to the comic’s annoyance, she’s in competition with a heavy metal band playing in the courtyard outside. Given the subject matter and that there are only three days of the fringe left, there is cause for concern here.

The theme of the show is living with depression (for 25 years) and we’re promised that that we’ll find “mental illness hilarious”.  Andrea begins by telling us that she had a breakdown in Waitrose and then we take many misanthropic digressions before returning to the breakdown in Waitrose and the resulting visit to the doctor. It’s clear that the humour isn’t to everyone’s taste: it’s perverse, absurdist, scatological, Rabelaisian, and full of grotesque bodily images; Andrea tells us she would like to be an observational comic like Michael Mcintyre, pointing out the absurd social mores that everyone recognizes and finds funny; but how do you do that when your observations are based on the dark web of the mind? Well, perspective and extreme reactions to the everyday behaviours, actions and attitudes of others. Amongst other things, Andrea tells us anecdotes of her reactions to pregnant mothers who stroke their belly, and women who wear white dresses; whatever a white dress may symbolise, to Andrea it means a smug, “I will not spill or dribble food on my dress at any point during the day”; her riff on the stroking of the pregnancy belly comes closer to Macintyre’s observation of social mores: “I made this, (stroke) me and God (stroke), oh and of course with a little help from the father” (stroke). A successful part of the show was called Good Deeds, the audience were asked to write down a good deed they had performed, Andrea then pulled them out of a hat in order to “shit on them.” Metaphorically, of course. The audience played a part here, writing down a succession of surreal good deeds, including giving a baby to a homeless man, eventually we discover it was meant to read a brolly.

So, was it hilarious? At times, there were a few big laughs, some mild amusement and the occasional dead end; No doubting Andrea’s stage presence though, she demanded the audiences’ attention, approached the material with energy and was anything but weak in character or delivery— as in the punning title.

The show was far from perfect for all sorts of reasons but I enjoyed it. However, apart from the difficulties of heavy metal, heat and the  time of day, there were two or three people playing on their mobile phones during the performance—one challenged by Andrea, “I can see the bloody blue light”. I’m of the generation that uses a mobile just for phone calls; I’ve no idea whether this a new way of giving a Roman thumbs down or just bad manners, but if you don’t like the show or are not interested, wouldn’t it be better to just leave? Well, as Andrea said during the show, “I like the illusion of progress”.

Reviewer : Paul Rivers

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