Monkey Barrel Comedy Club Edinburgh Thursday 28th August, 2018
The Fringe is coming, God Bless us all, & the Mumble dragon is slowly awakening, ready to spread its wings over the Scottish capital & breathe flames of burning criticism into the myriad venues like a Smaug over a Lake Town. What better, this reviewer thought, than to go out into the heart of Edinburgh & catch a recent Fringe classic – Spontaneous Sherlock – at the infinitely amiable Monkey Barrel Comedy Club. A big hit in 2015 & ’16, this particular improv party is about to make way in the public’s affections for a new kid on the block, Spontaneous Potter.
Gentleman:How much do you love John Watson? Sherlock:Love is a strong word for an Englishman!
I was glad then to catch a modern classic, so to speak, before it was possibly too late. Before the show begins each audience member is asked to write a title down on a slip of paper, which is subsequently drawn from a hat & about which the tale of intrigue & adventure will be loosely wound. Mine was ‘Sherlock Holmes & the Lesbian of Doom,’ in order to amuse my Sappho-inspired lady friend up from Todmorden, but unfortunately another was drawn, entitled the rather apt, ‘Sherlock Holmes & the time England won the World Cup.’ From this catalyst the Victorian capers ensued, full of Austro-Hungarianisms & temper’d by smart interjections whenever the dialogue drifted offtime, such as the arrival of Einstein who was, we were quickly told, in fact a teenager!
Great praise must be given to Jenny Laahs, whose authentic piano plunking perfectly set the mood for the action, playing away as if in a dream blossoming in some Victorian-era oriental opium den. Over her wee reverie of sound came the sketches, played out with perpetual effervescence by the fuzzball of energy that was Will Naameh (the Queen), Paul Connolly (Watson), Mara Joy (all the rest) & special guest Stu Murphy, who pulled off a quite demented Sherlock with the delicate assurity of his extemporizational genius.
Its simply eggnog laced with owl anti-venom
Improvisational comedy, when its done well, is like an eight-year-old girl’s birthday party; where a gaggle of mini-hens strut about laughing, joking, & most importantly, pretending. The quartet before us oscillated between harmonious hilarity to confused nonsense-babbling, but it was all great fun to watch & follow. I must offer a word of warning, however; this show is heavily based on the Sherlock TV programme, & positively bubbles with injokery. But set aside & stood alone, immersing yourself in Spontaneous Sherlock’s silly seriousness is a splendid session rather akin to having a mind jacuzzi with bubbles, relaxing & frantic at the same time!
The Mumble have just managed a wee blether with East London’ premier rapper of first-world problems, Andy Quirk, and his backup dancer, Anna J, who will both be headin’ to Edinburgh this August to spread the wisdom…
Hello Andy and Anna, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking? A&A: Hi Mumble, as we say in our opening track, we’re from East London. Leyton. The cool bit obviously… But our first world pain is universal.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh? Andy: I took my first world problems to Edinburgh as part of a three man show in 2016 and found a lot more people got it than I could have predicted. Anna: What do you mean, make people laugh? This is serious! To be honest I find it strange people laugh when I pull my best moves. I learnt these from back in the day – dance offs at primary school, later in Camden Palace. You get me?
How did you get into comedy performance? Andy: Some people would say my whole life is a comedy performance. It wasn’t a difficult transition to put it on stage. Anna: It weren’t my first choice but I’m waiting for my big break. I’m expecting a lot of top producers to be dropping in on our show this year and once they make an offer…well, y’know I could be saved from all this.
How would you describe your performing style? Andy: Energetic! Though I do expect our crew to join in just as enthusiastically. It’s all about the therapy. Anna: What you chatting about? You only have to look to see I’m the only PROFESSIONAL in the crew and I’m setting the bar. And if any of those so-called new crew members think they can outdo me I’ll let them know exactly who is the lead backup dancer in this outfit!
What is it about performing live you love the most? Andy: The energy, the buzz, everyone just having a good time. Anna: Well I get to get my groove on and perform to my crew so they can see my skills and prowess.
What do you like to do when you’re not being funny? Andy: Watch other people being funny, I love the comedy community. It’s the best. Anna: I like to go for long walks, travel and enjoy a cheeky glass of vino with friends. Yeah, I’ve got friends. Lots of friends. Thousands! On Facebook.
Who is Anna J? Anna: I’ve often thought, “Who is Anna J? What is her purpose? When she is gone will her legacy live on?” Andy: Pretty confident.
You are bringing your show, First World problems, to the Fringe. What have been the processes behind the creation of the show, from inception to hatching? Andy: Writing songs, lots of songs about things that annoy us. Working out how to tie them together. Debating with Anna J what we can make the crew do to take them to the next level. Anna: Let’s be clear, I am the show. Words cannot adequately describe the process, not even I can describe it so I don’t expect anyone else to understand. Except in years to come through intense debate and study. A degree course might just about do it. No, a Phd. “I’ve got a Phd in FWP.” Sounds good.
It seems like you’ve been on quite relentless tour with it so far, where have you been performing? Andy: We’ve done a good few fringes and festivals this year so far. Four Saturdays at Brighton Fringe was a good experience, meeting the people of Merthyr Tydfil was a real eye opener, Hastings were a really warm bunch and the Scottish music festival we did was predictably anarchic with people dancing and bringing their own instruments to join in. Anna: It’s good to meet the fans wherever our help is needed.
Has the show evolved during this period? Andy: It’s an ever-changing beast, we’ve added all kinds of twists and turns as they emerged during shows. Really, the show goes where the crew take it. No two are the same. Anna: It’s more advanced, better, stronger. And that’s down to me doing more stuff.
Can you tell us about the show? Andy: It’s a genre busting musical comedy show of songs about first world problems where the audience join our crew for an hour that’s part concert / part therapy session which also follows the everyday trials of a white rapper in his thirties and his sassy backup dancer. Anna: What? Just come! This interview is long man. I’m out of here. See you there.
You have twenty seconds to sell the show to someone you are flyering in the streets of Edinburgh – what would you say? Andy: I love the idea anyone would listen for twenty seconds but if they did then I’d tell them it’s something quite different to anything else they’ll experience at the fringe. Fast paced, interactive, funny and a show with absolutely no desire to ask thought provoking questions. Frivolous fun for fans of music and expressing their frustrations with modern living.
Finally, what will you be doing after the Fringe? Andy: More shows and a second album (the first is on iTunes/Spotify/etc). Well, after a good rest – we’re performing an unbroken run of 24 shows at the fringe this year!!
It is completely true that Scousers are inherently funny, but to be a Scouse comedian, now that takes comedy genius. The Mumble has just had the pleasure of talking to one such legend…
Hello Adam, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking? ADAM: Liverpool and Liverpool. I keep getting told I should move to London, but I’d really rather rub special parts of my anatomy on a cheese grater.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh? ADAM: Well, where I’m from, you have to be funny just to survive school. You’ve got to be able to have to piss taken out of you and then give it back, or you’ll be eaten alive – so definitely at school. Being in my school was essentially training for a gig where you’re being constantly heckled by people who’ve thought about their insults.
How did you get into Stand-Up, & why? ADAM: I’ve always just been obsessed with comedy; my mum was a huge comedy fan and that definitely rubbed off onto me. I initially just did it for a laugh and to see if I could do it, I never intended it to be a career. Now, however, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today? ADAM: My early inspirations were Jason Manford and Kevin Bridges – they were the two acts who made me think I could do this – and I think that was quite apparent early on in my work, but not anymore. I’m a huge fan of American comedy and I feel myself being more & more influenced by that all the time. Bill Burr is an absolute hero of mine, also a friend recently introduced me to a New York comic called Andrew Schulz who’s unbelievably good. Check him out if you haven’t heard of him, he has a lot of stuff on YouTube.
How would you describe your comedy?
ADAM: On the face of it, it’s probably quite aggressive, opinionated and basically me trying to justify my opinions on things or my actions in certain stories. If you look a little deeper though, it’s more about my insecurities and the issues I have that I’m well aware of. It’s basically me trying to be as funny and honest as possible, without being enough of a dick to alienate the audience. “This is something that is going to make you guys not like me, but please don’t not like me.”.
What does Adam Rowe like to do when he’s not being funny? ADAM: I’m a huge football fan, so I’m usually either watching a Liverpool game or looking at transfer rumours or tweeting about Liverpool FC. I’m quite a simple guy tbh, I just want to have a pint, watch the match and then do a gig, that’s my perfect day.
This is your third year at the Fringe, what’s this year’s show about? ADAM: It’s an hour of stand-up comedy that I’m really proud of. I think it’s definitely the best show I’ve written by quite some distance (then again if you seen my first show, that probably won’t seem like a massive achievement). It’s about how i conduct myself and why that might be, I talk about my working class background, growing up with an alcoholic single mother and the last year of my life. I’m basically trying to work out who I am, through a stand-up show. God that sounds so much more pretentious than I wanted it to, but sod it, it’s done now.
What will you be doing different in your third year to when you were popping your Edinburgh cherry in your first year? ADAM: Working harder. I was lazy in my first year and as a result my numbers were up and down, last year I worked my socks off and sold out every single day in a 60 seater room. This year my room holds 150 people so I’ll have to work three times as hard as last year to fill it and that’s what I plan to do. That means hours of flyering, loads of interviews, loads of extra shows where I can jump on and do ten minutes to promote the show – whatever it takes.
What will you be doing after the Fringe ADAM: I’m going on tour! I’ll taking a week off, then be doing regular club gigs again from the second week of September, then the tour kicks off in late October – I can’t wait.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Richard Todd is back at the Fringe. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the fellow …
Hello Richard, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking? Richard: Seaham, a small coastal mining town in the North East of England, nothing to do, a betting shop next door to the post office – cash your giro, blow your giro. My school is now an old folks care home, so the opportunity to end where I began is available.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh? Richard: A lot of people laughed when I broke my leg in a school PE lesson: the shock brought out an unheralded reckless streak in my conversation. Great times.
How did you get into comedy performance? Richard: Living in Glasgow, struck by a sudden malaise, I went to the doctors to get antidepressants; the only appointment I could get was five days away, I thought ‘I won’t make that’, and had heard the stand-up circuit was a bastion of mentally unstable individuals shrieking inanities, and the rest, as they say, is far too long an answer.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today? Richard: I did not watch stand up-until I started performing, and tend to enjoy narrative driven character comedy like Joseph Morpurgo and Kieran Hodgson. I loved Breaking Gadd by Richard Gadd, the room was so small and the show so scuzzy and intense. Debut shows I will go see are Crizzards, Heidi Regan & Ross Smith.
Your style has been both admired & puzzled at? Just what kinda cocktail is it? Richard: My friend described me as being like bad Christian Sermons; I mistook this for being the name of an American comedian, but now think he means an inept preacher with few converts.
I retreated from clubs and started from scratch, gradually the writing became more sincere and the performance genuine
Looking at your awards & stuff, you won second place at Leicester Square New Comedian 2011, won the Amused Moose Laugh-Off 2012, & were then short listed for The BBC New comedian award in 2012 & 2013 – four years after this you won the Shaftesbury Fringe Best Show 2017 & were selected as one of Chortle’s ‘Ones to Watch 2018.’ So what exactly were you doing in those four unrewarded years? Richard: I won a couple of awards very early on, doing 6 minute sets with all the material I had; had I been required to perform a minute longer I would not have placed (the next piece in my repertoire was wrestling with an audience member). But from these small successes I got given gigs I was not ready for. The set was wordy and surreal and inadequate in larger rooms. I died frequently, lost hope, wrote a litany of straight forward cock jokes, lost myself, continued dying… and then… a breakthrough: wordy, surreal, cock jokes. Then shame. I retreated from clubs and started from scratch, gradually the writing became more sincere and the performance genuine. The Shaftesbury award was nice, but take note, this is a festival where you can buy home grown courgettes at the box office.
What does Richard Todd like to do when he’s not being funny? Richard: My legs tremble a lot.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe? Richard: A lot of stress for one hour of stupidity.
You are bringing WE NEED THE EGGS to the Fringe this August, can you tell us about it? Richard: The obsessive pursuit of absurd ideals in spite history and experience telling you they will end in failure. The perpetual resurrection of hope.
Finally Richard, what will you be doing after the Fringe? Richard: Faking my death. Or paying off my debts. Whichever costs the least.
Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill are The Delightful Sausage & are coming back to Edinburgh this August. Which is absolutely brilliant news & as they are well funny. The Mumble managed to catch them for a wee blether
What is the secret formula for a funny joke? CHRIS: Get yourself a ticket to the number 54 bus. Write down all the conversations you hear and occasionally slip ‘bum hole’ in.
How did you get into comedy? AMY: During a dark period in my life, I was on the run – a fugitive from justice. The open mic comedy circuit provided the perfect opportunity to guarantee absolute anonymity and stay under the radar.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today? CHRIS: I’m a huge fan of alternative, surreal cabaret and there’s a pioneering Northern double act that we simply have to acknowledge when we’re talking about The Delightful Sausage. Two guys, three syllables – Cannon and –
For anyone who has not seen The Delightful Sausage in action, what shall they expect? AMY: Dizziness, nausea and an intense urge to tell absolute strangers your full PIN number. It’s surreal, colourful bollocks which will blow your mind out yer arsehole.
Can you describe your working relationship with Amy in a single word? CHRIS: Who?
Can you describe your working relationship with Chris in three words? AMY: Strong and stable.
You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be? CHRIS: Probably American Psycho, Falling Down and Herbie Rides Again.
Last year your show went down really well with the reviewers, did that surprise you? CHRIS: Is that a neg? To be honest, we were surprised that anybody came to see it at all. It’s so very, very strange and full of lumps.
Do Southerners laugh at your jokes? AMY: It’s been much better since we’ve brought the interpreter on board.
What have you learnt about yourself as a human being in the last year? AMY: I’ve learnt that I’ve got a propensity for aggressive script editing and the conflict management which that creates.
How has your show developed since last year? CHRIS: We’re already incredibly proud of our new show. It’s an even stranger yet somehow more personal journey which we’ve managed to pack full with unsettling illustrations and tight, rock-hard gags.
You’ve changed venue this year, what’s the back story? AMY: Last year we met John, one of the owners of Monkey Barrel after he came to see our show. We are really excited to be in a venue where we’ve seen a ton of our favourite acts. I’ll also be performing with Just The Tonic as I’m compering this year’s Big Value late show. Which is nerve-wracking but for two hours a day I’ll be allowed to wear my own clothes. Cowabunga.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe? AMY: With its blissful highs and anxiety-filled lows, the Fringe is the best damn laxative on the planet.
What will you guys be doing after the Fringe? CHRIS: Probably getting a black belt. It will help keep my trousers up. Just an example of the kind of fun I’ll be having as I return back to Manchester to entertain my partner who spends the month of August looking after our two-year-old. What a trooper!
The Fringe would not be the same without the mercurial genius of Nathan Cassidy – thank the stars he’ll be back in Edinburgh this August…
Hi Nathan, how has your 2018 been so far? Nathan: It started badly. I had the Australian flu at New Year. Brutal. It’s called the Australian Flu as a kangaroo comes into your house and kicks you in the balls, rips open your throat and then shits on all your food. And it keeps kicking and shitting for seven whole days. About three days in, you start to think, I’ve achieved enough I think, I could die now. Sadly I got better, but it’s been a good year since then. Lots of live and bits of TV stuff, and best of all I haven’t had a single cold or sore throat… can’t wait for Edinburgh.
You’re coming back to perform in Edinburgh this August, & have been doing so every year since 2010? How have you changed as a performer in that time? Nathan: I don’t think I’ve changed too much in style since 2010, I’ve just got more and better things to say. Mumble gave me a review in 2017 which said, very kindly, that my show ‘goes deeper than just having a laugh’. That’s exactly what I’m trying to go for, to create experiences and hit people in unexpected places. I’m really excited about this show from that perspective, it’s absolutely my most personal show to date but at the same time tells a story that affects us all.
What are the processes behind the creation of one of your shows, from inception to hatching? Nathan: I like to have an idea around this time of year for the following year, so I can start creating the material over the next six months in new material nights, I do a regular one in London on Mondays where you hear it all first. I’ve got my idea for next year, and the only danger of that is you put too much focus on the following year too early. It’s a very very very good idea though!! I’m going to take it on a bit of a World Tour, New Zealand and America.
Last year you did two shows, a comedy called The Man In The Arena, & a touching piece of drama called Watch This. Love Me. Its Deep. How did you find doubling up? Nathan: It was great, I like being busy, until I slipped off a stage just before the final week and ended up in A and E. The stage was pretty high, at least four inches. As you know I’m only mid to late twenties but I must be getting old. I had a full on spasm in front of the audience and went straight to hospital. I was given Diazepam – absolutely the best experience in Edinburgh I’ve ever had.
What have you got for us this year? Nathan: So yes, as I say, my most personal show to date tells the story of my time in Banking. I worked in Banking in 2008 and I’m lifting the lid on the scandal that lead up to the Financial Crash that continues to cost us all money today. I’ll be telling stories of criminal negligence, fabrication of entire projects, and the notorious ‘sex room’ in one of the flagship offices in one of the world’s biggest Banks. And how one decision I took set the terrible chain of events in motion. But the show is called ‘if I caused the financial crash of 2008’. Maybe it’s all made up. Come and decide for yourself! Oh and ps I’m also presenting an amazing show on the 23rd August which has on the bill almost all of the past Edinburgh Comedy Award Winners! Look it up, it’s the Perry Air Awards.
Doing a bit of detective work, it seems like you became a comedian not long after the Financial Crash – are the two connected? Nathan: Let’s just say I had time on my hands after the Financial Crash of 2008, so yes I started back in comedy in 2009 after a brief dip into the circuit around the turn of the Millennium. I need something to fill a void inside of me, before stand-up it was gambling, gambling with my own and other people’s money. I think this is a slightly healthier thing to do, gambling every night with my professional future. Stand-up is like a Vegas Casino – you know there’s an exit somewhere, you just can’t see it.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say? Nathan: This is hard-hitting stand-up comedy in an explosive, whistle-blowing and absolutely true story of the scandal that is the British Financial system and how I caused the crash of 2008… and I’ve won awards, and Mumble gave me 4 stars last year.
Aha! An extremely wise fellow I see. So, what advice could you give to somebody performing at the Fringe for the first time? Nathan: There are thousands of shows in your section of the brochure, but yours CAN be the one that everyone wants to see. It just has to be very, very good, and different. Be ambitious, aim for the top and listen and take on board the advice from people that have done it for years. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t pretend to be dead lying legs apart the Royal Mile. Because people won’t think you’re dead, they will just want you to be.
What will you be doing after the Fringe? Nathan: I’m going to go on holiday. Last year I went to… Scotland. Forgive me, but I’m heading somewhere warmer this year, with the flu.
Rebecca Shorrocks (Short) & Paul F Taylor (Curly) are coming to Edinburgh this August. The Mumble managed to catch them for a wee blether
Hello guys, so where ya both from and where ya at, geographically speaking? Rebecca: I am from Nottingham originally, I trained in Guildford which brought me daaaan South. We now live in the lovely Crystal Palace which is the most at home I’ve ever felt.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh? Rebecca: At Junior school, I was playing Prince Charles in the school’s production of ‘Wombles of Wimbledon’ (classic text) I got my first ever note from my headmaster Mr Bowler. He told me to wait for the audience to finish laughing before I carry on speaking. I enjoyed playing the clown with my friends too, it was that very same year I made my friend wee herself from laughter and she had to wear lost property pants. (A reference we have in the show this year)
How did you get into comedy? Paul: Not your classic route. I’m not a trained performer, I studied I.T. at university, then I got a job doing something I hated until the fear that this might be what my life is kicked in. So, I saved future Paul by jumping in the deep end and performing stand-up comedy.
How are you finding the transition from actress to comedian? Rebecca: I don’t see it as a transition, the lines are very blurred. I have always had a natural affinity with the comedic roles and I believe you have to play the truth in any comedy situation for it to be funny. I have been doing sketch comedy since 2005 now so I actually feel further away from the world of acting but without a doubt it has made me a stronger actress as it has freed me up on stage no end.
How did you & Rebecca meet? Paul: We met at a comedy gig, I was doing stand-up and Becky was doing a clowning sketch where she danced around in spandex. She had a big smile and a silly sense of humour. I instantly loved her.
How, why & when were Short & Curly created? Rebecca: I started running an era themed comedy night called Cabarera in 2010 with the fabulous Susan Harrison. It was a challenge to come up with material specifically for the era and me and Paul fancied a challenge and became the resident sketch group by default.
Can you describe your working relationship with Rebecca in a single word? Paul: No… because it’s probably unlike any other sketch team because we are a couple. Everything we’ve ever written will have caused a really extreme argument between us at some point, usually with one of us storming out of the room saying that we don’t want to do this anymore. It’s not because we don’t get on, I think Becky is outstanding at what she does, it’s just that we come to what we do from very different directions and we’re both passionate about doing a good job.Initially I was obsessed with finding the laugh in the words whereas Becky was all about finding the laugh through characterisation. But over time we’ve both had a huge influence on one another and not only do we have a better understanding of what the other person brings, but also, I see how good Becky is at doing the things that I thought were my job and (hopefully) vice versa. Sometimes it’s a very difficult process, but it’s worth it when we get that feeling that we’re really onto something with an idea that is really making both of us laugh.
Can you describe your working relationship with Paul in a single word? Rebecca: Intense
Can you describe your romantic relationship with Paul in a single word? Rebecca: Joyful
Can you describe your romantic relationship with Rebecca in a single word? Paul: BestFriendSexyTimeOhFace
Good answer… so, what do you guys like to do when you’re not being funny? Paul: We are so busy separately, so when we have downtime together, we like to be together. We’re both food and film lovers. If we can combine those two things in an evening we’re both pretty happy.
You’re bringing a show, Young at Start, to the Fringe can you tell us about it? Rebecca: Paul (aka Curly) is turning 40 this August so naturally we are more conscious of our age among all the whippersnappers at the fringe, he’s panicking about that so we nostalgically take a look back at his memories. They end up a bit warped because Short is interfering with them trying to prove to him that age has no importance as long as you’re still having fun.
Like a tug of war these two pull you back and forward from sketch to sketch leaving a trail of laughter firmly behind them Read the full review here
What is it about performing live you love the most? Paul: Being in the moment with a live audience is one of the most wonderful feelings. Especially with comedy performing because you have this real time audible feedback of laughter, so you can hear it when you’ve really caught the audience’s imagination. It’s an addictive feeling for sure!
What are the creative process behind writing your sketches? Rebecca: It used to be that we had the parameter of an era so we would google that era see what interested us and spoof a genre, find a play on words or merge two ideas together that we found funny. Now we just don’t have the parameter.
Can you give us a hint of the topics and themes covered by the show? Paul: It’s about Curly (me) trying to have a midlife crisis and Short (Becky) not letting it happen – because it’s pointless. But essentially, it’s a fast-paced, multi-sketch, multi-character show that we’ve crammed as many ideas into it as we could, it aims to be as much fun for the audience as possible. We loosely touch on the subjects of ageism, poor body image, and parkland safety.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe? Paul: A joyous month-long gorging on creativity
What will you guys be doing after the Fringe? Rebecca: Hopefully we will be moving house, if the sale goes through before we go (nothing like an extra layer of stress to add to Edinburgh prep). So unpacking and then relaxing and then maybe getting a dog or having a baby. And filming more stuff.
Towards the end of the 2017 Fringe, The Mumble caught Cam Spence, & thought she was brilliant. We are also happy to hear she is coming back to Edinburgh this August…
Hello Cam, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Hello! I’m from Wallingford in Oxfordshire and I’m now at a little place called London!
When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
My friend Abi and I laughed our entire way through primary school. She was much more comedically sophisticated than me though, my material mainly consisted of mooning her.
How did you get into comedy performance?
My stunning and talented friends Ellie White and Charlie Perkins gave me the confidence to do a gig. I did one, couldn’t sleep all night from the adrenaline, and the addiction began!
Which comedians inspire you?
Kristen Wiig inspires me to just give up all my ambitions and become a full time stalker. And my fellow performers on the scene inspire me all the time: Beard, Katy Wix, Lolly Adefope, Emma Sidi, Tash and Ellie, Sheeps, and Olga Koch are some of my faves.
So, I put the telly on the other day and you were on it – what’s all that about?
Yaaas! I was in a fun all-female satirical comedy show on Channel 4 called Riot Girls which involved pretending to be kooky characters in public to amusing results.
Sounds like you’ve had quite a year since the last Fringe – I could see your potential, and it seems at least Channel 4 has caught up – are you excited about developments?
That’s very sweet of you to say. Yes I’ve had a good year. But to balance things out I’ve had a terrible break up! So guys, I know my life LOOKS PERFECT but TRY to fathom that it’s not.
You also won a Funny Woman award this year; can you tell us about both the piece and the process of winning?
I made a film called Polly which was about a girl who can only speak in spoken word poetry. Like all my work, it was a work of genius and the judges recognised this!
You also won a Funny Woman award this year; can you tell us about both the piece and the process of winning? I made a film called Polly which was about a girl who can only speak in spoken word poetry. Like all my work, it was a work of genius and the judges recognised this!
What does Cam Spence like to do when she’s not being funny?
I’m big into self care so if I’m not reading self help books then I’m writing in my journal forgiving all the people who have wronged me.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
It’s very humbling to spend time with my fans.
Are you coming back the Fringe this August, & if so what are you bringing?
I am! I am doing a half hour of character comedy in a shared hour with brilliant stand up Jodie Mitchell. It’s free and it’s at 10 past midday at Banshee Labyrinth. The show is called The New Babes because we want everyone to know that although we are very funny we are also very young and very hot.
What will you be doing after the Fringe?
I’ll be working on some film projects and continuing to manage my toxic relationship with my phone.
After a four year absence, Nathaniel Metcalfe is back at the Fringe!! The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether…
Hello Nathaniel, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking? Nathaniel: My family are from Cumbria, but I’ve been in London since I was three, so London I guess, but some London people still won’t let me claim London.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh? Nathaniel: I was never the class clown in school but the kid that was would often make jokes after I’d already thought of them. See I was even cowardly back then. When he’d get laughs I remember thinking I could have done that.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today? Nathaniel: I’m inspired by anyone who’s ever made me laugh. I’m certainly endlessly inspired by comics like Harry Hill, James Acaster, Josie Long, Nick Helm and many, many more. Anyone who’s managing to produce work on their own terms that seems authentic to them but also accessible enough to find an audience that appreciates it too. That’s the dream.
How did you get into stand up? Nathaniel: I did a comedy course because I had to be taught how to be funny.
You’ve had some dabblings with the radio, can you tell us about this? Nathaniel: I was on James Acaster’s Radio 4 series playing a version of myself. It was a really great series which I don’t mind saying because James wrote it all. After I did my first solo show in Edinburgh I was invited on Fresh From the Fringe on Radio 4 Extra. It was nice to do some of my own stand up on the radio. I had a regular segment about old TV on Josh Widdicombe’s XFM Show. Whenever we get together we always end up talking about nineties television so I suppose I was a natural fit. I’m currently presenting a regular show about pop culture called Fan Club on FUBAR Radio with Nick Helm which is so much fun to do.
What does Nathaniel Metcalfe like to do when he’s not being funny as fuck? Nathaniel: He’s probably watching a movie, although sometimes when he’s not being funny as fuck he’s still on stage but being slightly less funny as fuck, attempting to create a sense of light and shade.
On the last day of your last run at the Fringe in 2014 you broke up with your girlfriend. Is this the reason why you’ve been AWOL for four years? Nathaniel: You’d have to watch the show.
Can you tell us about the show? Nathaniel: Well, I start off right where I left off, talking about my 2014 show, but then it questions what it means to be an “artist”, taking inspiration from such famous figures as David Bowie and Jeremy Irons. It’s also way more silly and funny than it sounds.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe? Nathaniel: I can do it in a word: Relentless!
Can you describe your relationship with director, James Acaster? Nathaniel: We started doing stand up about the same time, we always liked each others stuff, and we’ve been pals ever since. We did a three-hander at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 with Jake Moore. It was a tough month. The venue was far from central, we could rarely attract an audience and when we did it was tiny. His role as a director is like a super-smart audience member who understands jokes, knows exactly what I do well, and more importantly what I’m attempting to do.
How have you changed as a comedian in the past four years? Nathaniel: I like to think I’ve gotten better but it’s difficult to say. I’d certainly say that this is my most personal show to date, which is a different string to my bow.
Are you excited to be back, has you & your comedy gone through some kind of cathartic cleansing? Nathaniel: I certainly feel like I’m drawn back to the Fringe. I find it a very full-on month when I’m doing a show, but not a year’s gone by between 2015 and 2017 which I haven’t visited to see what everyone else is doing, so I must love in some ways.
What will you be doing after the Fringe? Nathaniel: It looks like the FUBAR Radio show with Nick Helm will continue but the Fringe is my big focus right now and I haven’t thought much further ahead than that.
There is a moment every May when we here at the Mumble put down our glass of pimms on the freshly mown lawn, with the gay flutter of butterflies wafting against one’s skin, pick up our phone to check on messages & shit, open an inbox & see an email from the first Fringe publicist to have finalised their line-up. A week or two later then pops up an invite to the List launch party, where the Soviet-Bloc of Assembly, Gilded Balloon, the Pleasance & the Underbelly all converge on a single place for free booze, fifteen minute highlights & this year’s ‘Bibles’ of those mini-Fringe guides which tell you whats on in chronological order, rather than having to wander the labyrinthine horrors of the main fringe guide.
This year’s event was at Omeara in the Borough, London, on a lovely balmy evening on the last day of May. For everyone there, on waking up the next morning they’d have a terrific hangover, & the lovely welcoming into the bosom of June – just two months to go peeps! Omeara was glitzy, but informal, with a lovely roof terrace & a curvy cellar main area, the latter rather like the Caves in Edinburgh, but with the ability to breathe.
‘Everybody comes! Nobody remembers!’ Anthony Alderson
After Pleasance head honcho Anthony Alderson bounded through his obligatory in-joke laden speech, the six acts hit the stage in quick procession. We had the manic-medleys of Jess Robinson, who at one point took on the persona of Julie Andrews singing ‘All About the Bass.’ Next was Koko Brown’s cunningly sharp spoken word act, then Luisa Omielan’s unbelievably relentless sentences, whose breathless & brilliant delivery is as funny as her material.
I missed the News Revue as I was on the roof terrace drinking the free gin, but I came back downstairs to check the eternally sound idea that is Showstoppers, whose improvised musical japery is a sure-fire winner, as long as you’ve got the right people involved. The cast changes every year, but watching this group’s portrayal of a tumultuous Brexit-driven love story set in Liverpool proved to me they’ve got what it takes to pull off this year’s campaign.
Then SHE came on the stage. I’ve never seen Gingzilla before; a suprisingly sexy, extremely tall drag act, who is just beyond brilliant really. She’s deffo on my review list for August, whether at her ‘Late Night Lip Service’ at the weekends (Gilded Rose: midnight) or at her eponymous Gingzilla all month at the Assembly George Square (8PM). Roll on the Fringe, I’m getting excited now, if a little worried about my curious attraction to a 7 foot drag act…