Beth Vyse is a stand up and character comedian who returns to the Edinburgh Festival this year with her 2015 solo hour, As Funny As Cancer; a refreshingly personal show in which the comic details her experience with breast cancer, embellishing with her trademark surreal humour. And Vyse’s absurdist roots are never far from the surface, with her character Olive Hands making an appearance in another show: All Hands To The Pump.
To learn more about Beth and her comedy, I asked her these seven questions…
1) What made you decide to perform two separate shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival?
Well after last year’s “As Funny As Cancer” going so well and so many people coming up to me afterwards and talking so openly about their experiences with the disease, most of them for the first time, I somehow felt the show wasn’t over. Since last year the show’s been out to New Zealand, I feel it’s much better now, I feel more confident, that’s why I’m bringing it to a larger venue at Gilded Balloon in hope more people can see it.
Geoff Norcott is a stand up comedian and writer, making a name for himself in recent years for being perhaps the only outspoken right wing comedian at the Edinburgh Festival, disguising thoughtful political comment within entertaining quips about Cameron, Corbyn, and the rest. Norcott has also written for many television shows including 8 out of 10 Cats and Live at the Apollo, and will be performing his latest show Conswervative at the Edinburgh Festival this year.
To learn more about Geoff, I asked him these seven questions…
Recognisable from television shows such as Impractical Jokers and The Midnight Beast, Eric Lampaert is preparing to bring his latest hour, Alien of Extraordinary Ability, to Edinburgh. This new show explores how the comic views his place in society, and the world as a wider notion. Lampaert’s act is a fascinating culmination of cultures, drawing on influences from different corners of the globe and performing in multiple languages.
To learn more about Eric’s comedy, I asked him these seven questions…
Stephen Bailey has been busy lately, especially given his recent support slot on Katherine Ryan’s latest tour. This comedian is cheeky, flamboyant and a prime example of someone who is destined to perform in some medium or other; his recent successes on the live stand up circuit prove this to be the case. Stephen is taking his latest solo hour, Nation’s Sweetheart, to this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
I asked Stephen these seven questions to learn a little more about him…
The Edinburgh Festival is nearly upon us once again. Thousands of punters and performers are heading their way up to Scotland for anything from a couple of days to a whole month of arts, comedy and entertainment. And once again, MoodyComedy is there in spirit, singing the praises of projects that look particularly innovative and interesting.
But this year is a little different; in order to celebrate the diversity of artists and performers attending the Edinburgh Fringe throughout August, MoodyComedy will be bringing you countless interviews with those risking their emotional, financial and social wellbeing in putting together shows for your entertainment. The Seven Questions With feature is going strong, having already given around sixty comics a platform to share their comedy secrets, darkest confessions and silly musings, and soon we are to see this interview feature at its absolute best, as a means of bringing to your attention acts you may have never heard of before, as well as others who you may already be familiar with.Over the next two weeks, MoodyComedy will be speaking to performers who are making their Edinburgh debuts and those who have been bringing shows to the festival since before I was born, with at least one interview every single day for you to enjoy. There are double acts, character comics, musicians, sketch actors, magicians, television panel show regulars, radio royalty and even the occasional past CBBC presenter. You will experience the flamboyant, the odd, the surprising and the controversial. We have political comedians, absurdist comedians, bilingual comedians. From Glasgow to Dublin, Manchester to Birmingham, France to Canada to Kenya. It’s fair to say that a lot of bases have been covered, with each of these comedians being able to shed insight into the lives of working stand ups, as well as provide many laughs along the way.
Stay tuned over the next two weeks to find out which comic practises driving in his mum’s Ford Focus; who has recently taken up cross stitch; who is desperate to be friends with Barack Obama and who has decided he just doesn’t care about anything. Here’s to another fantastic festival of creativity, community and laughter.
Peter Brush walks onto the stage at MAC in Birmingham to perform a preview of his new show Dreams With Advert Breaks with an air of apology about him. Confident in himself but self-critical, constantly editing, analysing and evaluating. This show is just his second solo hour, but Peter progresses through his material efficiently and chronologically, with a quiet confidence in the content of his show, if not quite the timings at this stage.
Aware of the impression an audience may have of him based on his appearance, as a young-looking, moderately long-haired, spectacle-wearing man, Brush openly shuns the label of ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’, stating that he actually has little interest in things that one might associate with such a trope. The comic explains the premise of his new show, which one could describe as a nostalgic look at childhood, including his past dreams (those that occur whilst asleep and those upon waking).
Brush’s guilty pleasure, it seems, is incorporating the kind of jokes into his sets that induce groans or tuts from an audience. What is refreshing is that he doesn’t care, because he enjoys these quips, and often so do we, or rather we enjoy the satisfaction of a small, rounded-off joke, as a change from longer-form narratives. Peter is aware that silly throwaway remarks are not sufficient to build an entire show and he knows that this is, in turn, not what an audience wants to hear, and in this way the comic shows a proficiency for reading his audience.
The narrative of the hour itself shows promise of being satisfyingly complex, with pleasing callbacks towards the end of the hour that bridge the gaps, from early childhood memories to the present day, although there were gaps within this performance as Peter expressed a wish to perform the latter part of the show, and therefore missed out sections from the middle. A shame for us, perhaps, but surely audiences in Edinburgh will have the loose ends sufficiently tied up.
The most impressive aspect of Brush’s writing is arguably a remarkable ability to conjure up surreal imagery within everyday mundanity. These whimsical reconstructions of childhood memories and dreams earn him many satisfied nods of heads, as opposed to laughs, and epitomise his comedic style; quiet, subtle, understated.
Peter Brush will be performing his show Dreams With Advert Breaks at the Edinburgh Festival.
Known by many as Rhod Gilbert’s trusty sidekick, both on the 2010 television panel show Ask Rhod Gilbert (as well as other projects including Gilbert’s pilot sitcom Back To Llanbobl, which is expected to air this Autumn), and in recent years as tour support, Lloyd Langford is a comic of extensive television and stand up experience, and this shines through consistently in a preview of his latest show Rascal, performed at MAC in Birmingham.
Langford takes to the stage with his trademark droll delivery and slouched posture. His new show primarily considers the perils of relationships in the 21st century society, with the comic self-proclaiming it to potentially be his rudest hour of stand up thus far. Lloyd takes delight in saying what everyone else is thinking; not afraid to push an idea slightly too far or make his listeners feel slightly uncomfortable, particularly regarding latecomers. Here we have a comedian who clearly appreciates what an audience want from a live comedy experience. Lloyd’s off-the-cuff remarks are pleasingly quick and he segways between audience interaction and material smoothly, despite the fact he is performing an unpolished show.
Developing ideas based on life experiences over the past year, with topical references scattered throughout, it is somewhat difficult to tell whether this comic is being truly open with his audience or not. Langford’s material makes him appear quite solitary at times; yes, there are mentions of past girlfriends here and there, and talk of a cruise with his parents and brother, but the majority of the show centres around Lloyd’s own private musings, triggered by his experiences while travelling with work (perhaps fitting with the view that stand up comedy is one of the loneliest careers).
Lloyd Langford epitomises a no-messing-about, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin kind of comedy. He conveys an attitude that is both underwhelmed and apathetic, yet also irritated by the many obstacles that modern life presents, from hotels, to the weather, to terrorism (those “proper ne’er-do-wells, scamps, bad eggs”). But beneath the silliness, an anger certainly bubbles under the surface of Langford’s comedy, reminiscent of fellow Welshman Rhod Gilbert. This new show, however, does not see any of that frustration overflow; Langford remains in control. Instead, he is gleefully childish, sometimes bordering on pedantic, happy to play devil’s advocate through his cynicism and judgements, bringing out the naughty child that hides within each of us.
Lloyd Langford will be performing his show Rascal at the Edinburgh Festival.
It’s common knowledge that being a stand up comedian is hard work. The travelling is arduous and lonely; there is often a loss to be made once all the costs are detracted from any money gained from ticket sales. The Edinburgh Festival is probably the most strenuous time of year for a working comic. Performers from across the globe travel up to Scotland for a month of entertaining, spectating and living out of suitcases.
Having worked on their new shows for the past however many months and performing them nearly every single day of the festival, there are plenty of comedians who live with a constant anxiety that nobody will even turn up to see them. Comedy is a volatile art form, and while this is what makes it so exciting, it is also what makes it a risky thing to dedicate your life, love and money to, as a performer. Comedy is a labour of love and those who pour the most into their art are sure to be the ones who can bask in the most future success or personal triumph. But, as you can see, it must take its toll, and a helping hand from a friend is sometimes the perfect way to lift the spirits, or, in this case, the ticket sales. This is where Michael Legge and his army of comedy folk come in.
Sell This Gig Out is Michael Legge’s initiative, which he has been utilising in recent years to allow groups of comics and comedy fans to promote shows through various social networking platforms. The idea is simple enough: Legge has summoned together a network of people who are willing to help each other, and, of course, who would be grateful for any help they may too receive. The group have been focussing on one comedian’s show per day so far but are also constantly recommending other shows to attend as well as attending them themselves, beginning as they mean to go on, by completely selling out Angela Barnes’ first show of the run.
— Nigel Metheringham (@nmeth) August 5, 2015
Here we have a prime example of the wonderful camaraderie shown by so many of our most loved stand up comedians, and I, for one, find it incredibly uplifting.
That time of year is upon us once more; thousands of performers, reviewers and audience members are preparing to visit the holy grail of comedy that is the Edinburgh Festival. Here is a quick run through of everything MoodyComedy would be attending if only I could get there this year. Do get in touch if you attend any of these shows, or see something else that you think should be featured. You can also catch up with the past week’s exclusive MoodyComedy interviews.
Stuff That’s Gold
Katherine Ryan is performing her latest show, Kathbum, currently riding high on her phenomenal rise to fame in recent years and showing no signs of stopping any time soon. With every new show, Katherine only increases in her wisdom, experience and cutting sass, similar to that of Irish charmer Aisling Bea who brings her second show, Plan Bea, to the festival. Another name to watch out for is that of Luisa Omielan, who will perform a very limited run of her second show Am I Right Ladies?!. Omielan is a performer that cares about her audience to an extent I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed before: her show is empowering, lively and not to be missed.
James Acaster presents another whacky hour of surreal yet surprisingly dramatic story-telling stand up in his show Represent and Joe Lycett returns, with possibly the best show title of the year: That’s The Way, A-Ha A-Ha, Joe Lycett. And it would frankly be a mistake to miss out on seeing Bridget Christie‘s latest show, A Book For Her, which sees the launch of her debut novel, and showcases her trademark blend of feminism and spectacular comedy.
Stuff That’s Odd
Tony Law, the king of surreal comedy, is performing his new show Frillemorphesis where he explores ideas such as shouting, moving and talking, absolutely standard. A live show from the Tone Zone is an opportunity not to be missed, or forgotten in a hurry, and his being in this category is by no means a suggestion that this show will not also be Gold.
Shouty extraordinaire Bobby Mair brings another dark and bitterly funny show off the back of his recent television successes, entitled Filthy Immigrant; Tom Allen performs Both Worlds with his signature sinister calm and endearing flamboyance and Harriet Kemsley, who spent the first part of this year supporting Katherine Ryan on tour, also performs her debut hour, Puppy Fat, which has got the critics excited. If you like a bit of audience interaction, Jonny Awsum’s show Everything Is Awsum will be another unforgettable experience, as will Patrick Monahan’s seventies-inspired show The Disco Years.
Stuff That’s Free
Now any Edinburgh Festival-goer will be able to tell you that ticket price does not necessarily dictate quality; free shows are on the rise as they are a great way of ensuring the trip is more affordable for comedians and fans alike. There are some real gems performing shows this year that rely on kind donations alone.
Rob Auton has prepared another delightfully off-kilter, poetical concept show entitled The Water Show where he considers everything surrounding the theme of water, much like his previous shows which have centred around themes such as Yellow, Sky and Face. Elf Lyons‘ Being Barbarella is a high-octane adventure, discussing science fiction, liberation and sharks. This lady is a true one-off, who’s surreal form of comedy is often likened to The Mighty Boosh. And Lou Sanders, being the wonderful shambles of a performer that she is, brings her insane show about her efforts to get accepted into Eton College For Boys, of course entitled: Excuse Me, You’re Sitting On My Penis Again.
Stuart Goldsmith will also be recording episodes of The Comedian’s Comedian Podcast where he interviews everyone that is anyone in the world of comedy, delving deep into the psyche of the performer and having many laughs in the process. The line up for this year is stellar and although the recordings are free to attend and non-ticketed, the venue will undoubtedly fill up quickly on the night so plan ahead.