Helen Duff is a comedian who specialises in clowning, and she has a lot of exciting things going on this year, from getting to the final of Amused Moose New Act Awards 2017 to starring in the film Holmes and Watson, due to be released next year. Helen will be performing her new show When The Going Gets Duff at Assembly Roxy throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
So much! I’m a one woman adrenaline sluice when it comes to the Fringe; my body’s on red alert as soon as I smell buttery hops on the air. This year I’m backing myself to take some big risks with free form movement, weaving it through my anecdotes to make my body a more explicit part of the conversation.
2) What was is your Edinburgh show about?
It’s a real tapestry of experiences, all tied together around the tantric shaman that I went to see at the beginning of this year and the ways in which that sparked my synapses. Also, I do a bit of swimming through slippery fish.
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
I really like the variety of my audiences. I get them involved because I think it’s a waste of a live performance to pretend they’re not present, and I’m not interested/confident/contained enough in myself to sustain a show without their occasional input.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
I once walked past a mattress abandoned next to some bins and felt it would be better than the student theatre flat I was living in with 6 to each room and a microwave that must have been a masochist.
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
I feel very lucky to get to do comedy, it’s helped me feel much happier in myself and I’ve met some really inspiring sorts – like the Weirdo’s comedy collective held together by the endlessly inventive Adam Larter, who has a show at Heroes of The Fringe, and Ben Target, also at Heroes, who makes my mind smile (as well as my face).
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
John Kearns is a master and I want to shake my legs to get the laughter out when I see his shows.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I’m through to the Amused Moose New Act of the year competition on the 14th, and I have no idea how I got this far, so it already feels like I’ve made a massive leap. I would be happy to make a fool of myself in the final, just as long as it’s in a way that other people enjoy.
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
My goodness! I would love to plunge my fists into two pots of paint in an entirely white room, with white walls, a white shag carpet and a white Dulux dog, throwing the paint about in artful arcs and wobbles, maybe there’s some music playing – I’m sure by then I’ll know a fiery classical track. Each audience member gets a thin paintbrush and a part of the wall, then they make the beautiful mess into a story with whatever they weave in between. I wonder if we could find a new space to paint for every show?