Angela Barnes seems to always be on television and radio these days, whether that be Mock the Week, Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled or The News Quiz. Barnes is at the top of her game. She is the voice at the back of your mind that says it how it is, but is also genuine, warm and darkly funny. Angela will be performing at the Pleasance Courtyard throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
So many things, not least, not having to get on a train or in my car for a WHOLE MONTH! I didn’t do the Fringe last year, and spent the whole of August with raging FOMO, so am happy to be there this year, to drive myself mad with equal parts anxiety and joy.
2) What was your first Edinburgh show about?
My first Edinburgh show was called You Can’t Take It With You, and was what is often referred to now as a “Dead Dad” show, as it seems to have become a bit of an Edinburgh trope. It was important to me that my first show was about my Dad, as starting stand-up was very much a reaction to losing him suddenly. I love my job, but I will never not be sad that my Dad never got to see me do it, after all, he gave me my love of comedy. So, I made sure he was there with me in my first show. I hope he’d have liked it
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
Not that I’ve particularly noticed. Since doing more stuff on Radio 4, I guess I’ve started to notice a slightly more “Radio 4” element to the audience (whatever that means). But, being a radio comedy nerd myself, I couldn’t be happier with that. But, I don’t think I have a particular demographic that I aim for – though, being a 40 year old woman, I guess my stuff is more relatable to the slightly more worn-out section of society like myself.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
In 2015, I shared a flat with Lou Conran and Juliet Meyers. We arrived at the estate agents to pick up the keys (I’m dying to name and shame, but rise above Angela, rise above) – and we went to the flat. It was clearly a student flat that should have been cleared out for the summer. But it looked like the students had had a bloody great farewell party and scarpered that morning. It was disgusting. There were dirty clothes everywhere, fag ends on the carpet, dubious stains, and it smelt to high heaven. After much persuading that we weren’t being “fussy”, the agency sent someone over who was horrified. It had apparently been “missed off” the cleaning rota. No shit. They brought in a team of cleaners who worked on it for hours, and in the meantime, they sent us to an Italian restaurant and told us to order what we wanted, and they would foot the bill while the work was being done. We drank a LOT of Prosecco, as it was most expensive item on the menu. When we went back to the flat, it was transformed into, well, a perfectly adequate living space, but it was hard to erase the memory of what we’d seen.
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
Oh crikey – whatever I say here, I just know that I will think of many more as soon as I’ve finished answering. I guess, if I had to pick one, it would be being interviewed by the late great Terry Wogan. Growing up, his chat show on TV was iconic, and as a kid I would imagine him asking me questions about my career, though at that time, I thought it would be because I was a gold medal winning figure skater… It was 2011, I had only been gigging a year and, in fact, still had a day job, when I was asked to take part in his Radio 2’s Weekend Wogan Children in Need special at The Savoy Theatre. Next thing I knew, I was in a green room at the Savoy Theatre with Gary Barlow. I KNOW! I did a short set, no mean feat when I didn’t have much material, and most of what I did have wasn’t wholly suitable for live broadcast on R2 at 11am on a Sunday. I then sat down at a desk and was interviewed, live on the radio, by the great man himself. It was mental. My Mum was with me, we went to lunch afterwards and were sat at a table with Vanessa Feltz. I mean, what an entry to this mad new world.
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
I have bought so many tickets already, so there are many – but if I had to pick just one, it would be Tom Neenan’s show Attenborough. I’m a HUGE Tom Neenan fan, he is one of the best joke writers around, and his shows are so theatrical and different to anything else. I can’t wait for his latest offering.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I’m just looking forward to doing a new show in a nice venue. Edinburgh is a bit of a trade fair, I know, but if I think about it too hard in those terms, I will go mad. The bottom line has to be that I would like the people who come to my show to have an hour that they enjoy. That’s all I can ask really.
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
Oooh, that’s tricky. Maybe I will write a show and record it, only to be shown at the Edinburgh Fringe in the event of my death. It will be called “All the things I didn’t have the balls to say when I was alive”. Actually, that’s not a bad idea… hang on, I’m off to phone my agent. Oh, and I hereby copyright that idea as mine, yeah?