An Interview With Nathan Cassidy

Photo: Andy Hollingworth

That the ineffable Nathan Cassidy survived the lock down & is returning to the Fringe is no surprise to the Mumble

Hello Nathan – your comedy career has survived the lockdown I see, how did you do it?

I think many comedians quickly realised that live comedy was only one of many outlets for us so it was just about switching to those others for a while.  So my podcast Psycomedy went daily and did huge numbers as well as being really therapeutic for me and I know many of the comedians involved, I had some remarkable, funny and revealing conversations with comics all around the world at such a difficult time for everyone, I’m really proud of that.  I also like nearly everyone else in the world wrote a book and recorded an Audiobook called Resurrection: Post Covid Diaries which is a spoof 3-month Boris Johnson diary, available on Amazon!  I did a weekly piano Facebook live thing…

…as well as carrying on learning piano (currently grade 7!) and now I’m doing a daily piano/comedy podcast Daily Notes which is charting all round the world.  And I did live comedy where I could, I was the first live show back after lockdown at the Buxton Fringe and the only live show at the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe – whilst all the other stuff is fun my first love is live stand-up, and the lay off certainly made me and many other comics so much more appreciative of being able to do this for a job.

You’re coming back to the Fringe – what made you decide that & how has the process been?

As I say, I wouldn’t miss the chance to do live stand-up anywhere but the Edinburgh Fringe is so special to me, particularly after what happened at the Fringe in 2020.  Alex Petty at the Free Festival is similarly passionate about mounting as many shows as possible so it’s a no brainer to do a few weekends up there with my new show Bumblebee with the Free Festival at the Free Sisters.  I also wanted to get out and do shows for people who for whatever reason still didn’t feel comfortable coming inside to a Fringe venue this year so I’m doing this thing called the Edinburgh Fringe Fringe where I can bring the show to you if you’re in Edinburgh or anywhere I can get to easily from there – I’ve already had a possible query in to perform the show on the Isle of Arran(!!)  I loved the experience of what I did in Buxton Fringe last year which was doing the show in a park and on the streets of the town, so doing this new show when and where I can if people can’t get to the places they would usually go to will be a pleasure – you can request the show comes to you at

So what’s on the menu for this year?

My new stand-up show Bumblebee is about me coming face to face with a burglar in my house at the end of 2020, and then chasing him down the streets while (because I’ve been jogging, and listening to classical music because of learning piano) ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ played in my ears. My life flashed before my eyes so this is the story of the burglary, the key moments of my life, how the last 18 months has changed us all, and the quite remarkable thing that happened when the burglar got to a high wall and turned to face me.  Before and after Edinburgh I’m doing the show at various places around the UK and it’s being filmed for a special.  On top of my podcasts I’m writing a new book which is top secret at the moment and doing a few exciting things on the side that I never thought I’d do.  After the Pandemic I started saying yes to a few more things and it’s opened up a few random doors, watch this space!

Has having had such a huge amount of time off performing live helped your creative content?

What it’s done is given me more time to create something every day for this new podcast I’m doing ‘Daily Notes’.  In this I tell a different 10 minute or so story every day, often one from my life (many flashed before my eyes when I was chasing the burglar), others from world events or thoughts that come to me based on the song I’m playing on the piano.  It’s really interesting having (although no one is forcing me!) to come up with a different 10 minutes of comedy every day, so that’s going to be more than 70 hours by the end of the year.  I talked with Alice Fraser on Psycomedy and she’s someone that puts out lots of content every day too and she describes it well – when you think the well is dry, you keep on digging, and that’s when you’ll uncover something different, something that will surprise you. Some of the things I’ve talked about on Daily Notes I would never have talked about if I hadn’t been granted this time.

Photo: Andy Hollingworth

OK, cool! Now’s the time for a little blatant self-trumpeting… for someone who has never seen you perform, before, what have they to expect from Nathan Cassidy?

Ah man I can’t do that.  Watch some clips, read the reviews, come see the show.  I’m better than Bill Hicks.  Look, that’s just what one review said, I’m just quoting the review.  ‘Having seen Bill Hicks, I can honestly say he’s better than him.’  That’s the whole quote, I’m just quoting the review, that’s all I’m doing. Anyway I’m joking, I’m not, I’m better than Bill Hicks.  This show ‘Bumblebee’ anyway I love, I think you’re going to love it.  It’s funny obviously (it’s better than Bill Hicks) but being true life crime it’s exciting too.  Fuck I love real life crime, it’s better than Bill Hicks.  Anyway you get the idea, think Bill Hicks.  Actually think Bill Burr with my face and my voice and my material. 

So you’ve made it to this year’s Fringe, but how are the rest of the English comedy world handling this year, especially those London based?

Well I don’t think London has reacted any different to anywhere else really, apart from we’ve realised how much money we can save by not doing anything.  If you drive in London now you’re charged for opening your car door.  During lockdown in most of London those sneaky fuckers closed virtually all roads to cars so there’s now one route you can travel to places, in gridlock, and if you turn down the wrong street you’re fined £65.  In my first gig back I kid you not I was earning £130 and I got two of these fines for travelling to the gig.  Basically what I’m saying is we’re skint here in London, comic are skint.  On a serious note huge huge thanks to NextUp and the LCA and many others for supporting a lot of us during the Pandemic, and please get out there and support us live when you can.  Or let us come to your house and perform, as I’ve clearly got so desperate I’m now doing that.

What three things are you looking forward to most when you finally get to Edinburgh?

I love Edinburgh, and having come for over 10 years on the trot now every street has a different memory, good, bad and wonderful, every nook and cranny sets off a different feeling inside me, it’s a magical place.  And this year I think will be even more wonderful as I think there will be no or very little flyering.  Imagine that, heaven. And finally I hope that the spirit of last year lives on.  When I managed to do a live show in Edinburgh last year, in the people that came there was a real spirit of togetherness, a different feeling than before, that we won’t ever take for granted again that we can come together for live shows.  What I’m saying is I think there will be fucking in the streets. Let’s play!

The Travesty of Richard III

Brighton Fringe

28th May – 27th June, 2021

I’m sure if Shakespeare were here he would congratulate this play/movie made for the Brighton Fringe 2021. It worked as well as any adaptation since the time of the bard and I was glad when the credits included the playwrights name. The dynamic duo of Ian Renshaw and Helen Manners created every facet of the show from multiple characters to a great many costume designs.

It all came together as ‘The Travesty of Richard 111’ unravelled its unscrupulous plot to kill for a place on the English throne. In a performance to envy the war of the roses in the 15th Century was oddly represented in this play as an age of war made hilarious from strikingly well conducted acting.

The comedy aspect as it was written so long ago had the laughter was coaxed out of us, merging us with the modern world and the life of the 15th century. And so with only a cast of two; the scripts unfolding majesty which was about to unveil an insane plot for the throne through the devious developments of the Duke of Gloucester’s plan for King Edward’s demise. Any other obstacle to Richard claiming the throne of England was to be crushed with inane pleasure from Richard III.

He (Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who was one of a long list of characters, played by Ian Renshaw) had a compatriot in Elizabeth 1st (played by Helen) who strongly desired for the Duke to become King, not least because he tricked her into it. It was his most flattering charm and words that had her in the throes of his arms.

The exclamation brought about by the side of this play was in its element as an event made for the screen which gave the actors anther language to play with.

It was in good conscience a story of the screen with scenes of unearthly colours and make up, where Richard always looked a little grey but certainly no less charming. It created modes to revel in the characters in a modern and attention grabbing effects delivering the jokes of the century.

In its entirety the theatrical nuances seemed ahead of its time, dreaming of a perfect play made possible by technology. But no less an enthusiastic appraisement of Shakespeare’s work, a lyrical master stroke to stir our senses.

Without the atmosphere of live theatre, an audience, they clasped the chance to free up the medium and focus on a much wider aspect to come from. The Duke’s full face seemed to fall from grace. As happened when Richmond who had returned from campaigning to take the crown slayed Richard in battle

I say this in all seriousness but my funny bone was hyper active and I felt a natural high with my guilty laughs for what was a catastrophic passage of time. Richard’s aura and his black bob haircut, was thrown in with certain confusion for us, did we support his aims because he made us laugh? Whose side were we really on? Entwining us to all the characters was a revelry and interesting interaction performed by Ian and Helen both shown to bring with every blow, a transformational theatrical spirit. It was a tragedy of epic proportions that had the tempo to line the historic events.

Daniel Donnelly