Interview: Andy Quirk & Anna J


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!!

First World Problems

Laughing Horse @ Espionage

August 2-26 (14:45)


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