An Interview with the Dirty White Boys

Just exactly who are these Dirty White Boys, & why the hell are they so hilarious? The Mumble track’d them down for a wee blether…

Hello Jack, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Jack: I’m originally from the glorious north west, near Manchester; specifically the quaint little town of Rochdale, which you may recall from various unsettling news stories, but I currently live in that London. I’ve moved in with my comedy husband Chazz and we couldn’t be more like a long-time married couple – we sleep in different bedrooms and don’t talk to each other.

Hello Chazz, so when did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Chazz: Hello right back! I guess I don’t have the memory specifically, but I’ve been told on several occasions that during my Christening I farted very loudly during the quiet bit and giggled my arse off. Well, at least until they dunked me like an accused witch. Nice to know I had timing back then.

Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
Chazz: Sketch has such an amazing legacy in the UK. What me and Jack do is inspired by the classic music hall (Morecambe & Wise) as much as it is by more contemporary groups (The League of Gentlemen). Also, 8 years ago I saw my favourite sketch show ever at the fringe (The Bunker by The Beta Males) and that’s definitely rubbed off on my writing style.

How did you get into stand up?
Jack: I started doing a bit of stand up whilst in the comfy supportive world of university and stopped dabbling once I left. Like many people who try being “actors” I found I had to make my own work if I wanted to perform on stage… hence sketch.

Upon which life-experiences do you draw your own comedy?
Jack: A lot of my comic ideas come from the absurdity I find in the most mundane of situations. A lot of our material is focused on either an ordinary person in a surreal scenario or a complete nutter in a perfectly relatable setting. It’s nice to be a bit bonkers without having to make a point about anything. I’m also a big fan of the darker side of jokes, creating characters on the very end of their tether is very amusing for me.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
Chazz: Instantaneous feedback and that sense of community; like you’re all sharing a secret. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and on the really good nights it’s practically electric. Can’t beat that feeling.

How did you meet Chazz?
Jack: I met Chazz in my first week at university, nearly nine whole years ago. We were auditioning for the same play and after just a few minutes of conversation I remember thinking “gosh, he’s a bit much, I hope we both don’t end up in this play together…” But we did. The rest is history.

How does living with Jack influence both your comedy & your delivery?
Chazz: Jack is beautiful grounding mechanism. Sometimes when I’m by myself it’s easy to focus on what I think the audience wants rather than what I find funny. After days of obsession with meta-narrative and theming, sometimes it’s good to have someone remind you a comedy show is supposed to have jokes. Plus, he’s the funniest bastard I’ve ever met.

What are the secrets to a good sketch?
Jack: A good sketch just needs a very strong conceit as it’s foundation or there’s not much point. We always build off a central concept and see how many different directions we can go with it; how many ideas we can pull from this one simple notion at the core of the sketch.

Where did the idea for Dirty White Boys originate?
Jack: Dirty White Boys was originally a double act comprising of Chazz and another funny friend of ours. They did some comedy gigs at uni, but when we were all thrust, most begrudgingly, into the real world, the band split. He (who cannot be named for legal reasons) went on to bigger and better things and Chazz suddenly needed a wing man for this gig he had preemptively booked the pair in for. And so, because I had nothing else going for me at the time and because everybody else refused to work with him, Chazz rang me up to fill in and I agreed. We wrote some skits, did them to a crowd of people, they laughed and our combined ego made us think we could be the new gods of sketch comedy. Look at us now.

You’re bringing MANNERS to this year’s Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Chazz: MANNERS is our 3rd full hour, and (while it sounds presumptive and arrogant) we’re going back to basics. Non-stop sketch comedy for an hour. We exhaust one idea of comic potential and move onto the next one. No stone left unturned. And they’re really beautifully bizarre ideas this year. There’s definitely one sketch that makes a hard turn from music hall silliness into Mike Leigh film, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You guys have been doing the Fringe in various guises for a decade now – what advice do you have for a performer arriving fresh faced for their first?
Jack: My advice? Pace yourself! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t rush into watching too many shows as they won’t all be brilliant and you can lose a lot of money that way. But when in Scotland, drink and eat as the Scots do! You might live to regret it but you’ll have a blast doing it for a month.

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Chazz: Incredible highs tempered with a lot of berocca.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…
Chazz: If you want to laugh for an hour, this is the show for you. Non-stop, fast-paced, triple-distilled, hyphen-overusing silliness.


Just the Tonic @ The Caves

August 2-26 (22.10)

An Interview with Samantha Pressdee


The ultimate Love Muffin, Sam Presdee, is back at the Fringe, & this time she’s bringing her pals…

Hello Samantha, & welcome back to the Fringe, how’s your comedy going?
Samantha: Thank you! It’s going good. I’m excited to start work on my new big project about mental health, which includes a new stage show. Since last year I have started my own night ‘Conscious Comedy’ which I’m also bringing to the fringe. I’ve done a few gigs across the country but have had to keep a low profile due to stalking and harassment. I’ve had a lot of grief and trauma the last few years.

Can you tell us about Love Muffin Productions?
Samantha: It’s my social enterprise, baked in 2016 with the help of the new enterprise allowance. Which essentially means, my topless comedy show Sextremist was partly funded thanks to the Tory Government! Our mission statement is to create experiences which bring people together for the purpose of empowerment and the greater good. As well as Sextremist we’ve produced Back 2 Basics, The Men, Sex & Feminism Podcast and now Conscious Comedy. My number 2 in this operation is the wonderful Clare Morgan. She’s been with me since the beginning. I’m Bipolar. So get an access to work grant to pay Clare. Bipolar is a disability, there are things I can’t do as well as neurotypical people, like admin! But I also consider it a blessing. I have a deep compassion for humanity and am very creative. It’s a label I share with some of my comedy heroes Alfie Brown, Russell Brand, also Jim Carrey I read is Bipolar.. According to an article in The Guardian from 2014 us comedians are the most likely profession to be diagnosed. I had to show a judge that article when I had to go to court to get the Personal Independence Payments I was entitled too early in my recovery because a paramedic sent from the private company Capita had decided if could do stand up comedy, and didn’t take meds – I was fine. Cutting off resources which vulnerable individuals need to survive is a human rights abuse!


Well, Sam, lets take a look at the all important question of 2018, on the lips of every comedian, is this: you’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Samantha: First of all, I wouldn’t cook. I can’t. One of them would have to do the cooking, I will do the washing up. (Or just order a takeaway and pretend I cooked.) I would invite Marilyn Monroe, because she was also Bipolar and we generally don’t eat properly anyway. I like nurturing my fellow nutters. Then I would have Joan of Arc, who was psychic, as am I! Then I’d have the Guru OSHO so I could see for myself if he really is the narcissist he was painted as in Wild Wild Country on Netflix. The starter would be Saganaki, which is greek fried cheese. Then for the main we would have chicken tikka madras with garlic fried rice and keema naan. Dessert we’ll have hot chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream.

Last year you brought Back To Basics to Edinburgh, how did it go & what did you take from the experience?
Samantha: Despite 3 massive knocks, as well as all the harrassment, it went well. I’m proud of myself. I got my first 4 star review and the show went on to tour with 3 professional bookings and acceptance into the Bath and Leicester comedy festivals. Heartbreakingly, I found out days before the Edinburgh run that my dear friend and supporter Sarah Munro had passed away. She was only 36. Also, I experienced professional betrayal. On the journey up, my director who I had paid £2250 told me she wouldn’t be at the fringe to support me running in the show as she had the year before. I should have had her sign a contract, but she knew what I expected and I trusted her. That really shook my confidence, I felt like she’d duped me. Then I got struck with the flu. All that and I still completed the run. I think that proves my mental stability.


This year you are involved in two projects, including your solo show, Pulling it Together. What’s your show about?
Samantha: It’s about my journey back to sanity after a mental breakdown in 2014, following the death of my Dad. I talk about my fight with public institutions to get my basic needs met as a marginalised member of society. The journey starts, and ends – with the police. My sanity has been truly tested by recent events. This is a story of resilience. I’m writing it for the one in four and those who love us.

How do you feel when you are telling such deeply personal stories & how do you hope the audience will respond?
Samantha: I hope to provoke compassion and empathy within the audience, which is mostly what happens. There were so many hugs after Back 2 Basics and people would tell me their stories. There was an emotional connection. When people come to see me, I feel connected, empowered and heard. My loneliness goes away. I read somewhere once that expression is the antidote to depression. Expressing myself feels enlightening. Connecting with people on the vibration of truth is deeply comforting.

You are also hosting Conscious Comedy for a couple of dates, can you tell us about the concept?
Samantha: It’s a sacred space, not a safe space. I see comedy as a platform for the truth. Not just another bland form of entertainment. In a way, comedy saved me. I like comedy with depth. I believe that great comedy can inspire change.

Who have you got on the line-up?
Samantha: I have got Zahra Barri doing both nights. I’ve been a fan of her work since 2015 when she did a showcase I hosted at the Edinburgh Fringe. She has a very interesting perspective, eastern meets western. Very well structured jokes and adorable as a person too. Also Alex Hylton, he’s very funny and has a warm aura on stage. I’ve seen him on my local circuit, he told me in his show he is talking about gender, identity and social politics. Looking forward to that. Also booked are; Janet Bettesworh, I gigged with her recently on a gig that was originally shut down by censors. She had a very interesting story about Greenham Common. Then there’s Dan Collins, Mags Mchugh, Paul Savage, Pope Lonergan & Alice-India Garwood. If there are any cancellations. I’ve got fellow anarchist Becky Fury on standby. She did a great job hosting the Malcolm Hardy awards last year.


You’ve got 20 seconds to sell both shows to a random on an Edinburgh street. What do you say?
Samantha: For Pulling it Together I will just quote this from my badass bipolar sister, Britney Spears; “People can take everything away from you, but they can never take away your truth but the question is, can you handle mine? They say I’m crazy.” For Conscious Comedy, this is more than jokes. It’s a platform for comedians who have something to say. It’s comedy with a conscience.

What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Samantha: I will continue doing my spiritual work, I’ve been a psychic reader and presenter on Psychic Today, Sky channel 560 for over a year now. I’m also going to continue working on my new mental health project. I plan to launch a new podcast next year along with the finished stage show. Then I’ll be looking at publishing a book. Also my husband and I are planning on moving back in together after a long separation. He’s been my saving grace though all this drama. I’ve got some lovely people in my life. Tough times reveal true friends. Silver linings.

Conscious Comedy

Dropkick Murphys

August 2nd & 8th (22.30)


Pulling it Together

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe 

August 2-10 (14.25)


An Interview with Lizzy Skrzypiec

Lizzy - Murder She Didn't Write_Photographer Jamie Corbin (1)

Everyone who saw Murder She Didn’t Write last year were chuffed to bits. The Mumble managed a wee blether with one of Bristol Improv Theatre’s finest…

Hello Lizzy Skrzypiec, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Lizzy: Hello Mumble! I’m an Essex girl from Basildon, or Bas Vagas as we call it, currently living in ol’ London town. However, the rest of my troupe, Degrees of Error, are Bristol based.

Why Improv?
Lizzy: Because improv is marvellous? Ever given it a go? I used to be a bit thespy and drama orientated in my teens and it was only when I gave it a try at university that I fell in love with it. I’ve been performing ever since. It’s like a team sport, for comedy and theatre. The thrill of the match where anything could happen; our performances are different every night, it’s impossible to get bored of it.

What are the three main differences between an Improviser & a Stand-Up?
Lizzy: 1) Improv is a team sport, stand-up is a solo pursuit. It’s a more sociable lifestyle in comparison and thus improvisers tend to be found in groups.2) Improvisers tend to wear double denim.3) Improvisers are more likely to do their own flyering.

Lizzy: What does Lizzy Skrzypiec like to do when she’s not making slick comedy up on the spot?
Lizzy: I absolutely love a pub quiz! I’m a questions producer by day, writing questions and puzzles for gameshows. And even though it sounds a bit like a busman’s holiday to seek out a pub quiz – there is one near me, in Tooting, that I’ll try to go to if I’m ever free.


Can you tell us about the institution Bristol Improv Theatre?
Lizzy: The Bristol Improv Theatre was set up by Andrew Yeoh, former director of Degrees of Error. He, with the help of Caitlin Campbell and Stephen Clements both members of Degrees has transformed a Polish Ex-servicemen Club into a fully functioning improv theatre. They put on regular shows, have improv jams, teach improv workshops and is the base for Murder, She Didn’t Write.

Who are Degrees of Error & what is your role?
Lizzy: Degrees of Error is the name of our improv troupe. I am the co-director with Stephen Clements and I’m also the Ms Violet character. We look after our show Murder, She Didn’t Write and Caitlin Campbell runs our weekly workshops.

Where, when & why did the idea for Murder She Didn’t Write originate?
Lizzy: We had started to lean towards longer form improv as a group, improvising plays and stories, rather than games and skits. So we looked at areas we might like to make play around and we picked murder mysteries and built an improv format around that. Although it was a close call between that and a Western.

From smash-hit run last year to West End Residency at the Leicester Square Theatre seems quite the tsunami of success. Are you surprised by it all?
Lizzy: Constantly! We are very grateful for the success we’ve achieved so far and the popularity of the show. We’ve been performing Murder, She Didn’t Write for a number of years, each time with slightly more success. It’s amazing venues like the Leicester Square Theatre that have given us opportunities to springboard the show into a different sphere. They are so nice to work with!

What have you got for us this year?
Lizzy: This year Murder, She Didn’t Write is back with a new look and higher production values. The show has grown, and we feel it’s a real challenge to keep it within the sixty minutes after performing it as a two-act interval show. We also have some fun late-night shows on Sundays featuring some special guests and a twist to the format – watch this space!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Lizzy: Wanna come and solve a murder mystery AND laugh your butt off?

What will Lizzy Skrzypiec be doing after the Fringe?
Lizzy: Going on holiday and lying very horizontal somewhere for a while, hopefully.

Murder, She Didn’t Write

Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Beyond

August 1st– 27th (17.00)


An Interview with Sonia Aste

Sonia Aste made in Spain 3.jpg

The Fringe is a truly international fiesta, the Olympics of comedy. The Mumble managed a wee blether with a talented representative from the Iberian peninsular…

Hello Sonia, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Sonia: Like my show’s title: I’m Made in Spain! And to prepare audiences for my show – I ordered a SPANISH SUMMER so everyone can feel like a true local.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Sonia: My mom says that as a new born people laughed because I looked like a grumpy old man. I also made these mumbling complaining noises that reminded her of my uncle Antonio … who was (and still is!) a grumpy old man. So making people laugh started pretty early I guess.

How did you get into Comedy?
Sonia: My grandparents’ house was always full of laughter. Their philosophy was ‘When life laughs at you … you laugh right back! Because when the going gets tough … laughter can keep you going’. A wonderful lesson which I hold dear in my heart.

Sonia Aste's Made in Spain.jpg

What are the differences between the Spanish & the British senses of humour?
Sonia: Humour is a little different, but luckily there’s no difference between a ‘British laugh and Spanish laugh’, because laughter is our one universal language.

What does Sonia Aste do when she’s not being funny?
Sonia: Worry about not being funny.

Sonia Aste 3.jpg

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Sonia: Like a Spanish FIESTA and SIESTA! FIESTA when the jokes work, SIESTA when they don’t.

You are bringing MADE IN SPAIN to the Edinburgh Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Sonia: With Spain being one of the top destination for British tourists, my show shines a light into our cultural differences and what it means to be ‘Made in Spain’. It’s a fast paced show based on a ‘Tapas Menu’, and the audience chooses what they want to order. I wanted to cater to all comedy tastes and like a good Spanish meal, provide a space to share in the fun and laughter.

You say your show will be based around a tapas menu … what would you recommend?
Sonia: The menu will change daily, making every show different – but I’d definitely recommend ‘Spanish Song Salad’ and ‘Mum’s Mash’. We will have daily specials too!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…
Sonia: ‘My venue has full blast air conditioning’.

Made In Spain

Sweet Novotel

Aug 3-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26 (17.40)

Sonia  Aste Made in Spain 4.jpg

An Interview with Bex Lindsay


One of Britain’s favorite radio shows, Fun Kids, is coming to the Fringe. The Mumble managed a wee a blether with the brilliant Bex Lindsay…

Hello Bex, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Bex: Oh hi there! I’m originally from a tiny northern village called Wall (it’s real, I promise) but now I’m down in London.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Bex: I would ‘make’ TV gameshows for my family in our living room, and force them to take part or watch. In retrospect, I suspect their laughter was more out of nervousness than genuine joy.

How did you get into Comedy?
Bex: I’ve always had a geeky love of comedy- everything from the 50s to now- but the first time I went to the Edinburgh Festival was when it really clicked with me how great live comedy could be. Then some Uni friends put a sketch group together- The Beta Males- and I would help them out backstage because I loved the atmosphere of comedy gigs.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
Bex: We’ve hosted at loads of family festivals with Fun Kids and my favourite thing is the audience- the kids themselves. They’re funny, always ready to join in, and brutally honest. If they don’t like something, you absolutely know about it. One kid in a preview refused to give me a hi-five because he didn’t like a joke I’d just told.

What do you like to do when you’re not around comedy?
Bex: I want to say something noble and impressive, like charity skydives or epic marathons, but it’s mostly going to music gigs, watching The Crown, and eating chocolate.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Bex: Edward VII, because from what I’ve read about him he was a bit of a rogue but would be very fun at a dinner party. Barbara Castle, because she was a fearless MP who I reckon would have razor-sharp party chat. And Kermit the Frog- is he allowed? I think he’d be one of those friends you could plonk with anyone and they’d get on immediately. I’d cook what I do for anyone who comes around- three courses of pie. Mini pork pie to start, fish pie for main, banoffee pie for dessert. It’s what my friends affectionately call ‘The Bex Special’.

How, when & where was ‘Fun Kids’ created?
Bex: Fun Kids was created in 2005, and originally only available on DAB in London. But the station has grown loads since then; now we’re available nationally! Which is nice, because it means my family can tune in (and often message me to let me know what they think of my show..!)

What is your role?
Bex: I’m the Drivetime presenter (although for our audience, it’s more ‘homeworktime’) between 4-7pm in the week. I also host our Book Club Podcast, and get to chat to loads of celebrity guests.


You are bringing Fun Kids to the Fringe as a show. How has the transition to the stage been going?
Bex: It’s been great! And scary! At the same time! This is a totally new venture for us; we’ve never done a full hour show before. We decided to really use the fact we’re a children’s radio station, and have some fun with it. The idea is we need the kids to help us stay on air and keep our jobs, so we get the audience to join in making the news, playing games, and even doing some interviews for us.

Can you describe your working relationship with Dan Simpson in a single word?
Bex: Honest.

You are something of an Edinburgh veteran – what advice could you give to somebody performing at the Fringe for the first time?
Bex: Well, although I’ve teached and helped out at loads of shows over the last few years, this is my first time performing too! From my experience, the best way of getting through is pacing yourself- the Fringe is a marathon. It’s hard to have a night in when you’re living in the middle of the world’s best arts festival, but sometimes you need to take some time out.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Bex: To kids: Want a show where you get to mess around on stage, win prizes, and potentially take the mickey out of your parents? Then come to our radio roadshow! To parents: Want a show to keep your kids entertained for an hour while you sit in a dark room and try to recover from the night before? Then come to our radio roadshow!

What will Bex Lindsay & Fun Kids be doing after the Fringe?
Bex: I will be immediately escaping to see my Dad in Wall, a village which has the same population as just one block of flats on Nicolson Street. Fun Kids will carry on being the best (and only!) radio station for kids in the UK, and perhaps plan a London run of the Edinburgh show…

Fun Kids Epic Roadshow Adventure

Underbelly Bristo Square – Dairy Room

August 1st– 27th (not 13th) (13.15)


An Interview with Great British Mysteries?


The British love history; Rose Robinson & Will Close love history: the British clearly love Rose Robinson & Will Close doing history. The Mumble caught up with them during a quick costume change…

Hello Rose, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Rose: I’m from a village called Stapleford in the wilds of Cambridgeshire, where I spent most of my childhood presenting imaginary cooking programmes. Nowadays, I live on fried chicken alley in Walthamstow.


Hello Will, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Will: Hello, I’m from a little village in the Cotswolds called Broadway which has five antiques dealers, four pubs and not much else. Lots of cows. And I’m writing this in Camberwell, South London. Less cows. More pubs.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Will: I think I probably first twigged when I used to do school plays right back in Primary School and drama clubs. Silly voices and faces was always my go-to method. On reflection, not much has changed.
How did you get into Comedy?
Rose: I played a nasty piece of work called Brenda in a school play called The Big Book for Girls. Doing that show made me realise that making people snigger was my no.1 fave thing to do.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV
combo & three films, what would they be?
Rose: Mrs Doubtfire, Casino Royale and No Country for Old Men. Obvs.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
Will: The ‘dialogue’ between the stage and the audience; it’s totally unique every time. The room might be bouncing or quiet or somewhere in between and even though you obviously prefer it when they’re very vocally having a good time, there is something exciting about the fact you’re rolling that dice every time you perform.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Will: John Peel, Julius Caesar and Kurt Cobain. Crispy potato skins to start with a tomato sauce dip, Caesar salad for main (obviously) with anchovies and a pistachio kulfi for dessert. I’m salivating at the mere suggestion.

How, when & where was ‘Great British Mysteries’ created?
Rose: Will and I were on tour for a couple of years with a show called Golem, during which we spent a lot of time bouncing silly ideas around. One day, in a Chinese doughnut cafe, the characters of Olive and Teddy were born.

Great British Mysteries had a sold-out Edinburgh debut last year, what is it about your show, do you think, that connected with the public so well?
Will: The tone of GBM tries to marry wordy, quite intricate, humour with the utterly stupid and occasionally base. People seemed to invest in that combination which was very fortunate for us. And I think mysteries like Nessie, aliens, Jack the Ripper et al, do capture the imagination of lots of people. I’ve always been obsessed with that sort of stuff so it’s a relief to realise others share my bizarre reading habits.

What have you got for us this year?
Rose: This year, mystery-addicts Olive and Teddy find themselves in Tudor London, on the hunt for a witch. They encounter stinking bishops, haunted houses and albino greyhounds. The Woman in Black meets Keystage Two Tudor history.


Can you describe your working relationship with Rose in a single word?
Will: Fired

Can you describe your working relationship with Will in a single word?
Rose: Sweaty

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Will: A very silly comedy show set in Tudor times about witch hunts and weird happenings. Full frontal nudity. (There’s not any nudity but you’ve got to lure them in somehow).

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Will: A rollercoaster of inevitable highs, lows and battered sausages.

What will Great British Mysteries be doing after the Fringe?
Rose: Weening ourselves off Irn Bru, and plotting Olive and Teddy’s next exploits. New York in the roaring 20s? Milton Keynes in the naughty 90s? Who can say…

Great British Mysteries: 1599?

Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Below
August 1st– 27th (not 13th) (16.45)


An Interview with Lewis Doherty

Lewis Doherty.JPG

A member of the hilarious Laughing Stock is doing something on their own this Fringe; it was imperative that the Mumble found out what was going on…

Hello Lewis, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Lewis: I was born in Nottingham and I’ve been living in London since about 2013 – I’ve lived in an old peoples’ home, a halfway house and a warehouse with no windows…the struggle is real. I now live in Crystal Palace with 6 house plants and a Muji Diffuser *other diffusers are available.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Lewis: My Dad has a glass eye and when I was a kid I would go into my parents’ room, grab his spare eye (he didn’t wear this one), lick it and stick it to my forehead. I’d then try and scare my mum with it – she just ended up laughing at me every time. I kinda wish I still had it (the eye). I peaked early.


What is it about performing live you love the most?
Lewis: I think I enjoy people’s reactions the most; I like pushing the medium and what people think is possible on stage. It’s like creating a physical language throughout the show, teaching that language to the audience, and by the end they’re fluent in it. That’s how a 30+ multi-man brawl is possible with just one human and a couple lights… I hope.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Lewis: Alright here we go:
– Tupac Shakur
– Ma Anand Sheela
– Prince (Prince was apparently either Vegan or Vegetarian according to the internet… let’s pretend he’s not)


Arrosticini (simple, easy, absolutely pengers)
Served with freshly baked sourdough bread with truffle oil and kalamata olives

Bucatini all’Atrescatori – Bucatini is one of the best pasta sauces I’ve ever tasted, real spicy flavours combined with salty pork jowl and pecorino, combine that with the Trescatori pasta from Abruzzo (like spaghetti but a tube) and you’re onto a serious winner

Home-made Lemon Sorbet & Limoncello

Can you tell us about Laughing Stock?
Lewis: Laughing Stock was born out of leaving drama school and expecting to at least get some work here and there… that didn’t happen, so myself and three other down and out individuals got together to make something (anything) and comedy seemed to come pretty naturally to us. We just had a lot of fun messing around, so we went down that road. We had an amazing and stressful three years at Edinburgh and it took us to some brilliant places and we met some fantastic people. I would say it was the catalyst for me to explore what my own work would be like.

You’re bringing a solo show, Wolf, to the Fringe; why did you go down this road & how are you finding being funny on your own?
Lewis: It was last year at the Fringe with Laughing Stock and I’d always spoken about doing a one man show, so Rhys Bevan (my Laughing Stock Brother from another Mother) applied for himself and I to share an hour slot at Vault Festival – we got the slot and I had to come up with 30 minutes of material on my own, at the time it was the scariest thing I have ever done, and that’s how WOLF was born.

Can you tell us more about Wolf?
Lewis: It’s about an ex cop called WOLF, who returns to Shadow City to investigate his ex partners death. There’s bar fights, car chases, helicopters, guns, a monologue about pasta – its got it all! There’s also a helluva lot of influence from Film, TV, and Comics – pretty much whatever I’m into I’ll put in the show. There’s 30+ characters, no props or costume, and I make 90% of the sound effects myself – it’s a slog.

WOLF image.jpg

What have been the processes behind the creation of Wolf, from inception to hatching?
Lewis: Before I did anything I had a really hard think about how I wanted the show to feel, I worked around a lot of themes and had a really clear image of what all the locations in the show looked like in real time – then I listened to A LOT of music, I feel like that was the most useful anchor to me in the creation of the show. A really clear ‘mood’ helped a lot. I really wanted to show audiences something that they never thought would be possible on stage. It’s an extremely ambitious show and it’s just me and a chair when you really look at the bare bones of it. I’m trying to draw a clear picture of what I want the audience to see and then they get to colour it in themselves.

How did your previews at VAULT Festival and The North Wall go, & have you tweaked the show since?
Lewis: Surprisingly well – it’s always easier to perform to friends and family because they’ll be supportive no matter what – but I never expected such a positive reaction from it. I’m so proud of the show and how much people seem to genuinely enjoy watching it. If I get half that kind of feedback or admiration from people of Edinburgh I’ll be over the moon.

How is director John Hoggarth handling your brain-baby?
Lewis: John is an amazing human – I honestly don’t think I would be in this position without his help and support. We’ve worked together now for about 5 years and I trust him completely. He is genuinely interested in nurturing a project and watching it blossom, he’s pretty funny too and that always helps.


What advice could you give to somebody performing at the Fringe for the first time?
Lewis: Be as prepared as you can be but never, ever, take it too seriously – it’s really hard to get bogged down and stressed about it all but concentrate on the things you’re in control of – everything else isn’t worth the brain power. Whatever happens, just do the best you can do and try to enjoy yourself along the way – if good reviews and audiences come from that, you’ve done a great job.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Lewis: “Hiya, just wondering if you wanna see me turn into a cyborg ninja assassin on a motorbike and chase a guy off a bridge into a river? Yes!? Come with me.”


Underbelly Cowgate
Aug 2-12/14-19/21-26 (20.00)


An Interview with Kevin Matviw


Kevin Matviw is a Canadian comedian par excellence, & this year he doubling up with two fine, fine shows. The Mumble managed a wee blether with this very brave, & very funny, man 

Hello Kevin, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Kevin: I’m from Victoria B.C., Canada’s weed capital. I now live in Toronto, Canada’s wannabe capital.

When did you first realize you could make people laugh?
Kevin: I was in Grade One. We were doing a taste test while wearing blindfolds. Our teacher told us to put some apple into our mouths and I said “but what if we forget where our mouths are?”, which actually sounds like something I’d say now.

How did you get into Comedy?
Kevin: I wanted to be a very serious dramatic actor, but thrived in the improv portion of my acting classes. Next year, I’m combining drama and comedy in a my new play “Glenngarry, Glenn Ross from Friends”.

Can you tell us about your teaching work at The Second City Training Centre?
Kevin: I teach the improv “Yes And” philosophy as well as more advanced tactics, but it’s mostly teaching adults how to play make-believe.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Kevin: I would have dinner with three Abraham Lincolns. What would I cook? Ha! Who’s got time to cook when you’ve got THREE Abraham Lincolns??

Why are you bringing two shows to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, do you think you can handle the doubling?
Kevin: Why not? I don’t want to live forever! Death Ray Cabaret is only running until the 14th, so it’s really only the first two weeks that will be insane. After that, everything is a cool breeze until my last show on August 26th. Right?

As for Death Ray, you are being directed by Shari Hollett, who is she?
Kevin: Shari is a well-known, highly respected director in Toronto’s theatre/comedy scene and her previous work with The Second City (home to alums such as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and Gilda Radner to name a few) is what drew us to her. She’s as delightful as three Abraham Lincolns!

Death Ray Poster

Can you describe your working relationship with Jordan Armstrong in a single word?
Kevin: I can’t! Jordan Armstrong is a genius. She’s been nominated for a Dora (the Canadian equivalent to a Tony Award), won a Canadian Comedy Award and can play the flute, sax, piano, clarinet and is okay on the guitar.

What are the differences between North American comedy audiences & the British version?
Kevin: Canadians spend most of their time looking out the window at snow or listening to the howl of wild dogs chasing a deer under a stark, moonlit night. As a result, the mind wanders and Canadian humour can be pretty dark and absurd. My limited experience in the UK suggests that British audiences aren’t afraid of that stuff, but they appreciate the cleverness of a good one liner too. I mean, so do we, but if it’s not about death then we’re not listening.

For your solo show, how have you chosen you sketches & jokes?
Kevin: As of today (July 20th), I have. Things will likely change as the deadline approaches and I start to freak out more.

Cowards Poster.jpg

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell each show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Kevin: Both shows are written and performed by alums of the legendary Second City, so you can’t go wrong! Death Ray Cabaret has fast paced, hilarious songs, beautiful harmonies and a song about Sting. Kevin Matviw: Self Defence for Cowards is a solo sketch show with everything from an Ernest Hemingway impression to sketches where the audience is the hero. On top of that, we’ve got-wait. Was that 20 seconds? Where are you going? I have so much more to sa-

What will Kevin Matviw be doing after the Fringe?
Kevin: I will likely watch from heaven as my casket is slowly lowered into the ground and chuckle to myself as the priest mispronounces my last name.

Self Defence For Cowards

Laughing Horse @ The Place Hotel
Aug 2-26th  (18.45)


Death Ray Cabaret

Laughing Horse @ The Place Hotel
Aug 2-14th  (22.30)


An Interview with Amy Shoshtak


Vancouver, watch out, because Gossamer Obsessions are coming to town with sketch comedy unlike any you’ve ever seen before. The Mumble managed a wee blether with the lady member of that most fearless duo…

Hello Amy, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Amy: I was born and raised in Edmonton, and now I am based in Vancouver.

When did you first develop a passion for performing?
Amy: As a kid, I was always putting on “plays” and “magic shows” for my family. I loved being in front of people! But then, the self-consciousness of being a teen crept in, and I became shy, and forgot about that passion. During high school, my very encouraging drama teacher suggested I join the improv team, and the rest is history!

So, Amy, your improv skills are much sought after, you’re like the Don. How did your teaching of improv come about & where are you with it today?
Amy: Well, I don’t know how much I am like a mob boss, but I certainly do love teaching! I started teaching years ago through Rapid Fire Theatre, coaching in their tournament for high school students, and also running classes for adults and children. In Vancouver, I teach with Blind Tiger Comedy.


Can you tell us about CHiMPROV?
Amy: It is Rapid Fire Theatre’s weekly long form improv show. It’s really excellent. Every Saturday you can catch different troupes doing very interesting improv. The troupes will experiment with editing, genre, and character in a long form setting.

Can you tell us about your trip to Monkeyfest in Bogota?
Amy: I visited Colombia several years ago to see my friends at Picnic Improv. They run a very cool improv school, as well as circus classes. Bogota was beautiful – I’d love to see more of South America one day!

What does Amy Shoshtak like to do when she’s not being funny?
Amy: I love going to metal concerts, and hiking in the mountains. I also love nachos.

Can you tell us about Gossamer Obsessions?
Amy: Paul and I started working together over a decade ago, doing improv at Rapid Fire Theatre. I really admired his approach to comedy. He always plays smart, while still sharing the joy he’s experiencing on stage. We got together to write a list of “Gossamer Obsessions”. Then we turned that into a performance. And then we wrote more, and started performing regularly. And so Gossamer Obsessions was born.
The show is framed by two curious narrators (The Vicar, and his Petulant Ward), who share parables and cautionary tales with the audience (these are the sketches). The tone of the show is purposefully whimsical, jarring, and still hilarious.

You & Paul live in separate cities. Do your creative processes involve a lot of skyping?
Amy: You nailed it! We skype every couple weeks and work on writing in google docs.

What are the secrets to a good sketch?
Amy: I think if it makes you laugh, then you are on the right track. Finding your own voice in creative work is one of the biggest challenges. Try not to worry about doing it right – just do it, and try it out in front of an audience!

Can you describe your working relationship with Paul Blinov in a single word?
Amy: Depraved.

You’ll be bringing The Morality Puns to the Vancouver Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Amy: The Morality Puns is our third full-length Gossamer Obsessions sketch show.

Where have the sketches come from?
Amy: The ether.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…?
Amy: Saturday Night Live meets a fever dream. A critic once called Gossamer Obsessions “19th century stoner humour”.

What will Amy Shoshtak & Gossamer Obsessions be doing after the Vancouver Fringe?
Amy: After Vancouver Fringe, I’ll be working on my Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate at Simon Fraser here in Vancouver, and helping produce The 20th Vancouver International Improv Festival. Also, Halloween!


The Morality Puns

Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston St.

Friday Sept 7: 8:45pm – 9:45pm
Saturday Sept 8: 10pm – 11pm
Sunday Sept 9: 1:45pm – 2:45pm
Tuesday Sept 11: 9:30pm – 10:30pm
Friday Sept 14: 5pm – 6pm
Saturday Sept 15: 4pm – 5pm


An Interview with Barry Ferns

Barry (15 of 39).jpg

Barry, Barry, Barry, Barry, Barry, Barry Ferns! The Mumble track’d him down to his Canal-Boat for a wee blether & an M&S sandwich… 

Hello Barry, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Barry: I’m from Dorset. I’m at Anarco-Syndaclist-Communes

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Barry: When I was 7 years old and I kept writing “3 p sweet” instead of Three Piece Suite. Much to the consternation of my teacher and the amusement of my classmates.

How did you get into Comedy?
Barry: I did my first gig when I was 15 years old in a pub called the Bricklayers arms in Poole. I’d been studying it for years, watching my favourite comedians, writing out their routines, like a real comedy egg head and trying to write my own jokes (mostly puns)

Can you tell us about Angel Comedy?
Barry: I can – it’s a club run by comedians for comedians. It’s free entry and it started (and was so successful) because the professional comedy industry weren’t giving comics the chance to perform 5 or 10 minute set in front of a busy crowd (a totally different experience to horrible open-mics). I put it’s success down to the fact that there are LOADS of brilliant comedians out there – but very few gigs willing to give them a chance to perform. Angel Comedy is one of the few clubs in the country that have brand new acts as well as the biggest acts in the UK on their roster.

What do you like to do when you’re not around comedy?
Barry: I pootle up and down the canals of London in My canal boat. I live on a Calal boat. Like a water gypsy. It’s very cheap. And very cold in winter.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Barry: I would choose Robin Williams because he seemed to be (both by friends reporting it and by reputation) a very kind and gentle man. I would invite Albert Einstein and hope that he speaks English, and I would invite Elizabeth Barrett Browning – a brilliant poet from the 19th Century, just to see if she’s as interesting as she seems. I wouldn’t cook as I wouldn’t want to offend them. Maybe an omelette, I can make omelettes. And some huel. And a M&S desert. Something nice and flashy.

You are bringing BARRY LOVES YOU to the Edinburgh Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Barry: Barry Loves You is a show I’ve been working on for almost 3 years. The Bill Murray has taken up a lot of my time. But it touches the silliest parts of my life and also the deepest parts of my life. I genuinely feel that there won’t be a more connected show on the Fringe this year.


What is it about The Bill Murray that resonates the most with you?
Barry: Part of the reason I struggled and got into debt with comedy is that I didn’t have a place to work, or struggled finding a community to work with. And I ended up having to put on expensive shows just to try my material out. The Bill Murray solves those issues – people can work there for free during the week. It’s a place where comedians can meet and hang out and it’s also a thriving and massive community that is used by brand new comedians and national treasures like Frank Skinner and Simon Amstell.

You were once bankrupted by the Edinburgh Fringe; so why do you keep coming back? What is it about performing at the Scottish capital you love the most?
Barry: The Edinburgh fringe is phenomenal, just to see the craziness, of what all all these people are doing with their lives. It’s always so inspiring. It felt like running away to the circus for a week. A human circus. Where the animals treat themselves badly. It is truly brilliant. When you get off the train at Edinburgh Waverly the fun and crazyness is all around you. You see a contortionist dressed as Braveheart, then you get accosted by a load of students singing cocacobana, then you see an opera singer walking a tightrope. And every corner you turn there’s the mythic, timelessly Scottish sound of the bagpipes. Bagpipe players are everywhere. Every doorway you pass is a performance space. Sit down in a café and the person next you could be a trapeze artist, a ventriloquist, a Russian Poet, or a thief. Just check your bags. And all this takes place with the backdrop of perpetual rain to the sporadic beat of hearts being clogged by trans-fats. How can you not love it – it’s like no-where on earth!


Can you tell us about your show on Arthurs Seat?
Barry: The show I’ve been doing on Arthurs Seat every year since 2007 and is the spot of my best gig. Being at the top of a Volcano plug, and not being sure that an audience will show up, or be able to hear the show because of a wind, or whether it will get rained off. It’s almost the exact worst circumstances for a gig, but the first time it happened in 2007 it worked so so well and was such a lovely feeling. Everyone was happy and on cloud nine. The audience, the performers, no-one could quite believe that it happened and that it was such a good gig because of it. I think everyone left almost pinching themselves that it was possible. The experience of doing the gig itself was the closest I’ve come to skydiving. It’s just a case of jumping into it and hoping that the wind takes you. And it did.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show(s) to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Barry: If you want to know what love is – come to this show. If you want to know what love isn’t come to this show. If you just want an enjoyable hour of your life – come to this show.

What will Barry Ferns be doing after the Fringe?
Barry: Barry Ferns will be going to New York to gig – and also, quite possibly, to have a breakdown there. New York is so mental, if you have a breakdown people actually think you’re native.

Barry Loves You

Just the Tonic @ The Tron

Aug 3-12, 14-26 (21.00)