© Milo Robinson
Who? Pity Laughs
What? A Tale of Two Gays
Where? Just the Tonic at The Caves (venue 88)
Are you prepared for what this year’s Edinburgh Fringe has in store for you?
Mark: It’s always difficult to be fully and totally prepared but I think we’re more prepared than we ever have been before. Content-wise, having been up last year with a show that had similar themes, I think we know more clearly what you can and can’t get away with and where the “line” is for the audience. People will laugh about bereavement and they will laugh about you being depressed and being a closeted gay, they just need to be told that they can and it’s up to you to create that environment.
Will: Logistics-wise – not that I’m at all interested in logistics (I’m gay!)-
Mark: So am I!
Will: Hush, you! (They make out, cat-fight then make love).
Will: (Zipping up his fly) Where was I? Oh yea, we’ve now got two and three years’ worth of Fringes under our belts respectively –
Mark: And all sorts besides!
The cycle repeats itself.
Will: (Cleaning up) Right, serious now, this is getting silly. So after our previous experiences we’re much wiser and savvier. We’ve got 5 previews of our show booked in in the early summer where last year we did none (!), we’ve already got our publicity being drawn up and developed and we’ve thought through marketing strategies for the show, so we’re a bit further on than usual…!
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
Mark: We’re both gay and my parents are dead.
Will: I’ll say!
Mark: The premise is that Will (who functions as an audience and, reading further, a societal surrogate) ‘wants’ my bereavement.
Will: This is all true by the way. I would be genuinely thrilled if my idiot parents died a horrible death.
Mark: As you can see, he is jealous of my ‘get-out card’ and because his life hasn’t been sad enough, he has chosen to make one up. So Will tells the audience his fictional life by means of his parody gay literotica Man to Man-
Will: -while Mark performs stand up about his real life; the travails of being gay and losing your parents at a young age.
Mark: While the topics are dark and elements outrageous, it’s also a very silly show.
Will: We love making each other laugh about being gay, and I’m always making jokes at Mark’s expense about not having parents (e.g. hey Mark, your parents are dead, you stupid prick!!!), and so we just want to make other people laugh.
What was the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
Will: We also perform separately. Mark is on the London stand-up circuit while my gay literotica is available as a blog (https://man2manfiction.blogspot.co.uk) and coming soon as a podcast.
Mark: The hardest part-
Will: Has been my cock!
Mark sighs, then obligingly sucks Will’s proffered penis.
Mark: … has been bringing the two elements together in a way that makes the show more than a sum of its parts. In general we find split bills unenjoyable and we don’t advertise our show as one; it’s a show on its own terms.
Who would most enjoy your show?
Mark: The show certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. Will’s sections do contain some pretty harrowing (yet hilarious) descriptions of gay sex. They’re intended to lampoon what straight people think gay sex is like; in practice the irony is lost on quite a lot of straight people who emerge believing that “all gay men do is anal sex” (a genuine quote).
Will: That’s all I do.
Mark: I do make jokes about being an orphan and about his parents’ deaths, from cancer and suicide. The description is pretty clear on all our publicity and ticket selling sites and we also have content warnings on the door, so we do hope that anyone who might be triggered doesn’t end up at the show!
Will: To cut Mark’s long and boring story short, I couldn’t care less about people being triggered. It’s natural selection if you ask me. If you love smut and/or dark comedy you’ll love the show, and if you don’t come and see it your homo- and orphanphobic.
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
Mark: Glad you asked! Our production company (StraightUp) is bringing up two other shows, Space Doctor, a sci-fi parody running at Gilded Balloon’s Wine Bar at 12.15pm every day, and Dank Verse, a stand-up show from our colleague and performance poet Will Penswick, 2-16 August 4.15pm, Laughing Horse @ the Place. We’d recommend both highly! Other than that, Willis & Vere always serve up an absolute feast of metatheatre, so A Serious Play About World War II will be worth catching, and we think Adam Hess is the funniest human being on the planet, so we wouldn’t miss him.
Will: I’d only recommend our shows. I’m a stick in the mud.
What is your favourite thing about Edinburgh as a city?
Will: The rain. Not being able to buy booze in shops after 10pm, but it’s ok because the pubs are so cheap. The hills and the fact that half the city seems to be on a different plane to the other. Flyering.
Mark: Come on now. The Meadows when it’s sunny are an amazing place to rehearse or chill out. The vibe around the festival is amazing.
Will: Ha! Gayyy!
What are your plans for after the festival?
Mark: We host two monthly comedy nights in Barnes and Clapham, both South London, and are taking on a few more, so we’ll be focusing on those immediately after the festival as well as hoping to get Space Doctor a London transfer somewhere. Then towards the late autumn we’ll start thinking about Fringe 2019… when we’ve caught up on some sleep!
Will: I don’t plan to sleep at all, I just plan to have sex with men.
GET YOUR TICKETS FOR PITY LAUGHS: ‘A TALE OF TWO GAYS’ HERE
THE EDINBURGH INTERVIEWS 2018