With a show entitled Return of Dan Antopolski, it might not surprise punters to hear that Dan Antopolski hasn’t been seen at the Edinburgh Festival for a while. In fact, it’s been seven years since Dan’s last show. And seeing as he was once nominated for Best Newcomer and Best Show in the same year, Antopolski’s return to Edinburgh is certainly going to turn a few heads. He is performing at Assembly George Square Studios throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
The race to create a good new show by the start of August is a pressurised thrill. Preview season is hard gigging, the sun is out in July so often you do your unsteady show to the three people and a dog who don’t have the sense to be drinking a beer outside – you know, crazy people – then in August the crowds turn up and there’s a huge injection of energy. What’s good is, the difficult preview gigs create a high water mark – if your Mount Ararats are getting laughs they’re probably strong. Making people laugh is a visceral pleasure but as a writer it’s making new bits work that offers the thrill of the hunt – make me feel like a mayan (man).
2) What was your first Edinburgh show about?
My first solo show was way back in 2000 AD – I recorded dialogue on a C90 and did a kind of double act with my (former) self. My present-self had both the benefit and liability of hearing the audience reactions while my past self was deaf to them. By acknowledging his deafness, he was sort of able to make an honest relationship with the audience and I then left the stage and he did stand-up to them. Sometimes it worked just like a live comedian and sometimes not and on two occasions an audience member pressed stop on the tape recorder – a respectable heckle. Also there were knob gags because I know my duty.
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
I love language so maybe I attract people who can enjoy language. There can be an elegance to writing choices even when you are talking about farts. I would dearly like to repel a certain type of audience, those who come for the beer and stay for the consensus. My needs are simple; all I want is an audience that’s literate, urbane, liberal but not pious, open to ambivalence – and if possible 0.0001% slower than me so I can get the drop on them with my really great jokes about farts. It’s not much to ask. Also if they could like taramasalata. I eat it all the time and am quite unkissable some mornings but it’s strictly a morning thing so you’re fine to sit at the front hahaha I shouldn’t have mentioned it.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
A few years ago I rented a flat from Southside of Nicolson Street – whom I am delighted to name and shame – and gave them a couple of grand. On the day I moved in, the flat stank and the bathroom ceiling had collapsed – great stalactites of plasterboard were hanging down. When they grudgingly sent a cleaner to clean the kitchen I asked her to clean the whole stinky flat and then the agent Natasha Bonello shouted at me on the telephone for “exploiting” the situation. I just checked the Southside website and Natasha is still there – why not pop in and rent something from her while you’re in town?
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
Tim and Polly Mulviel. They come to my shows and sit at the front, I banter with them anew each time. Now that I have committed their faces to memory I treasure that memory.
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
Sarah Kendall’s show One-Seventeen at the Assembly George Square Studios at 7pm – her gag-rich but narratively suspenseful storytelling shows are just about my new favourite thing – sorry taramasalata.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I want my job back. I started stand-up twenty years ago and loved it so much. Then I couldn’t balance it with family and hated it. Now I love it again. My arrogance got squished out of me and I respect the audience’s time – I get why they need coherence in a show.
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
If I have medical notice that my death is nigh it would be churlish not to attempt a Bowie-style farewell. Maybe I would actually die on stage – the epitaph writes itself!