Michael Stranney is an innovative character comic from Northern Ireland who is performing his latest inventively surreal show Welcome to Ballybeg as his character Daniel Duffy. Stranney will be performing at the Pleasance Courtyard throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
The buzz of performing a good show is pretty exhilarating. It’s like a surfer chasing that perfect wave. Out of a full run, you would hope to have at least one of those experiences, and hopefully make all the times the show died on it’s ass worth it. But really what excites me is just the general festival atmosphere. There’s good camaraderie between all the comedians, and everyone is just wanting everyone to have a good time. I’m also looking forward to hanging out with my cousins who rather conveniently live in Edinburgh.
2) What is your first Edinburgh show about?
My show is in the form of an off the wall tourist board presentation for the fictional Northern Irish village of Ballybeg. I play a character called Daniel Duffy who has been entrusted to take the presentation over to Edinburgh. Inevitably the projector showing the promotional tourist footage keeps breaking down, and I fill in the gaps with stories about the silly and surreal characters that make up this backward and sheltered village.
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
I suppose my style of comedy is not conventional stand up and probably would be described as off-beat. It definitely wouldn’t work on a rowdy Friday night in a Jongleurs in Plymouth. And I’ve had my fair share of deaths in the typical club setting, but the good thing is there’s literally no swearing, or anything blue in my stuff so it’s technically for everyone. I don’t have a certain type of audience I don’t think, although I find slightly older people tend to like my stuff more. Some people absolutely love it while others sit there with a clenched jaw until I get off the stage. It really depends.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
I’m Irish and so I have approximately 3.6millions cousins worldwide and I’m incredibly lucky that out of that 3.6million, some of them live in Edinburgh. They kindly put me up each year and I move around between them as much as I can so to avoid becoming like a poo that won’t flush. My worst Edinburgh accommodation nightmare would be that they all suddenly decide to pack their bags and move out of Edinburgh, because then I would have to start selling my body to afford to rent a room for a month, and I want to avoid that for as long as possible
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
Probably winning the New Act of the Year in 2015. There was around 500 people in the audience, so it was the biggest crowd I had ever performed to, and I had a bunch of friends and family who I had invited to see me. I was so nervous beforehand and I can’t really remember the set. I just remembered finishing it and being hit with what felt like a wall of laughter. I never had an experience like that before or since. It was amazing, and when I was announced as the winner, and all my friends jumped to their feet and the confetti canons went off on stage, it was genuinely unforgettable.
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
Definitely going to see John Kearns. I love his stuff so much. If I was a mad billionaire, I’d hire him to just read me the phonebook, and I know I’d absolutely piss myself laughing.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I’m hoping it would lead to a few more opportunities in comedy. Anything really at this stage, I’m not fussy. Just a few things that might help to pull myself back out of the debt I’ve put myself in. Even if it’s not comedy, even if someone said ‘Listen, liked your stuff. I’ve nothing to do with the comedy industry but I do run a successful double glazing company and I pay my salesmen incredibly handsomely, plus commission, and a free company car, what do you say?’
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
Well depending how August goes, it could be about an off the wall tourist board presentation for the fictional Northern Irish village of Ballybeg. But hopefully not…