Who? Ben Pope
What? Dancing Bear
Where? Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker Two (Venue 33)
What are your feelings as you enter into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe season?
I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m looking forward to a haggis pie.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
It’s a show all about work. Using stories about all the jobs I’ve ever had, I try and shine a light on the current nightmare work atmosphere we’re experiencing – zero hour contracts, unpaid internships, caffeine addiction and the erosion of sleep – and persuade you to work less and live more. Plus there’ll be jokes!
What is the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
The sheer wealth of amazing (and deeply depressing) research and writing there already is on the topic of work. Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber, Not Working by Josh Cohen, Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker… there’s so much exciting literature around at the moment. Trying to convert my sincere opinions and all the fascinating information and stats I’ve learned into solid material has been TOUGH. But very rewarding.
Has your attitude towards the Fringe changed at all in recent years?
When I first came up in 2013 as a fresh-faced and -livered student, the Fringe was complete spiralling Gothic wizardry. This year will be my 7th Fringe in a row, so the varnish has come off – I think I’ve seen too much of the android machinery behind the Wizard of Oz curtain. That said, every year something completely blows my mind or breaks my heart, and if you boil it down, it’s a lot of hope-ful, wonder-ful creative people gathering together and grasping for something live and meaningful in a room and I think that’s really beautiful.
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
I saw some of Ed Night’s new material and he’s going to have a blisteringly sharp show.
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
On holiday in Scandinavia. But if my incessant need for validation is anything to go by, I’ll be back at the Fringe doing another show and filling my body with deep-fried haggis pie.