Who? Philip Simon
What? Who’s The Daddy Pig?
Where? PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth – Chamber Room (Venue 156)
What are your feelings as you enter into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe season?
I’m going to be in Edinburgh for the whole month, so I’m aware that this means being away from the family for longer than I’d like. I’ll miss them terribly, but they’ll come and visit, which will give me something to look forward to.
As for the show, Who’s the Daddy Pig? marks my debut solo hour, and I couldn’t prouder of it. I’ve worked really hard to create a show that is a good balance of solid comedy and thought-provoking narrative, which I’m confident the audience will enjoy and find interesting. I also think it’s the kind of show that the industry will enjoy, if I can just convince them to come and visit the Free Fringe. I’m not saying those who have said it’s going to win the Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer Award are definitely right, but I think it would nice to know it was at least in with a shot by the right people coming to see it.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
Before I started stand up comedy I was an actor and one of my bigger roles was playing Daddy Pig in the stage production of Peppa Pig. Fast forward a few years and I’m a dad for real, with no clue as to what to do. Thankfully I was able to look back at my time before being a Daddy, and who better to learn from than the expert himself? My show, Who’s the Daddy Pig? is a grown up comedy about raising boys with awareness of their unearned privilege in a world that needs more equality, gender awareness & feminism … oh & Peppa Pig!
What is the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
I think the thing I found hardest was making my hour show different from my regular club set. It’s all very well doing joke-heavy sets at amazing clubs like The Comedy Store, The Stand, Top Secret and the like, but I think your Edinburgh show should have something deeper to say about you and your life. I knew the show I wanted to write, and the things I wanted to say about fatherhood, gender issues when raising boys in a post #MeToo world and male mental health as someone who didn’t take to parenting so naturally. The challenge was finding ways to make these topics as funny as the rest of the material. I’ll let you judge for yourselves, but I’m pretty happy with where the show’s at.
Has your attitude towards the Fringe changed at all in recent years?
I love the Fringe. I’ve been coming for the past eight years, but last year was my first time there for the whole month. As I said, it’s hard being away from the family, but that just makes me want to work even harder whilst I’m here. My show last year was a work in progress of the show I’m doing this year (FringeReview called it a ‘hidden gem of the Fringe’) and between that and the Jewish compilation show I co-run with my good friend, Aaron Levene, I had the best time.
The main change I’ve noticed is how expensive its is to go to Edinburgh. Travel and accommodation costs are preventing many people from attending the Fringe, either to perform or even to come for a short visit, meaning audiences are being priced out of the world’s biggest arts festival. Something’s got to change or there won’t be any Fringe Festival for people to come to. A huge number of artists will leave Edinburgh out of pocket, and in some cases, in debt to their producers and agents. When you take into account all the costs incurred, in some venues it’s literally impossible for the acts to walk away in profit; even if they sell out their entire run. Someone’s making money in Edinburgh, but it’s rarely the acts.
I guess what I’m saying is, come see my show! It’s free to come in, and then you can pay what you think it’s worth on the way out.
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
Yes, loads…and I’ll tell you on the way out of my show, or my compilation show, Jew-O-Rama (5:15pm at Whistle Binkies on Niddry street – Free Entry)!
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
I’m quite slow with DIY, so I imagine it will have taken me about a year to build the trophy cabinet for the Edinburgh Fringe Best Newcomer Award I’m going to be taking home shortly. Whether I’ll have used that procrastination time wisely to write another show remains to be seen, but other than that I’d like to have toured my show, and also still be doing what I’m doing; gigging around the world on the live comedy circuit, continuing to write for television and other comedians and perhaps have increased my profile just enough that people don’t still call me Simon.