Who? Tom Mayhew
What? I, Tom Mayhew
Where? Just the Tonic at The Mash House – Just the Bottle Room (Venue 288)
What are your feelings as you enter into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe season?
I feel very excited. I am really proud of my show, and it feels like the most important thing I have ever done. This does mean that I have put a lot of pressure on myself, so I am also very nervous about ticket sales, reviewers coming, whether I make enough money to pay off the venue, and all of these things – but that’s part of the Edinburgh experience.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
My show is about leaving school in 2010, and finding myself unemployed for three years. It’s about signing-on, living off benefits, and the unnecessary stigma attached to those who need a little extra help to survive. It is also about growing up working-class, and how that has affected my outlook on life. This all makes it sound quite heavy, but don’t worry, there are hundreds of jokes in there! If you live for years with nothing, you have to see the funny side in things, or there isn’t much left.
What is the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
I guess, appropriately, money. It’s flipping expensive bringing a show up to Edinburgh, and my parents cannot afford to help me out financially, so I have had to ask my girlfriend to help me out a fair few times when payment deadlines were closing in. Hopefully the month goes really well, so I can organise something nice for her after the Fringe as a thank you.
Has your attitude towards the Fringe changed at all in recent years?
Not really; it’s still the most expensive thing I do every year, the biggest financial risk, and it’s the most stressful and difficult experience at times. But it is also the most fun, the most rewarding, and my favourite month of the year. It’s absurd, really.
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
Sian Davies is doing three shows, because she’s a bloody legend. In particular, I have to recommend Best In Class, a working-class comedy showcase that I did last year. James Meehan is also a must-see for me, he’s a very talented comedian who is highly under-rated in my opinion. Finally, if you’re looking to see some debut shows, then Yuriko Kotani, Kai Samra and Aaron Simmonds will all be excellent. I will be annoyed if at least one of them isn’t nominated for best newcomer, if not all three.
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
Preparing for another Edinburgh show with a bigger profile, to be honest. It sounds simple, but stand-up is all I have wanted to do since I was twelve, and so all I want to do it keep moving forward. Fingers crossed, eh?