An Interview with Amy Shoshtak

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Vancouver, watch out, because Gossamer Obsessions are coming to town with sketch comedy unlike any you’ve ever seen before. The Mumble managed a wee blether with the lady member of that most fearless duo…


Hello Amy, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Amy: I was born and raised in Edmonton, and now I am based in Vancouver.

When did you first develop a passion for performing?
Amy: As a kid, I was always putting on “plays” and “magic shows” for my family. I loved being in front of people! But then, the self-consciousness of being a teen crept in, and I became shy, and forgot about that passion. During high school, my very encouraging drama teacher suggested I join the improv team, and the rest is history!

So, Amy, your improv skills are much sought after, you’re like the Don. How did your teaching of improv come about & where are you with it today?
Amy: Well, I don’t know how much I am like a mob boss, but I certainly do love teaching! I started teaching years ago through Rapid Fire Theatre, coaching in their tournament for high school students, and also running classes for adults and children. In Vancouver, I teach with Blind Tiger Comedy.

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Can you tell us about CHiMPROV?
Amy: It is Rapid Fire Theatre’s weekly long form improv show. It’s really excellent. Every Saturday you can catch different troupes doing very interesting improv. The troupes will experiment with editing, genre, and character in a long form setting.

Can you tell us about your trip to Monkeyfest in Bogota?
Amy: I visited Colombia several years ago to see my friends at Picnic Improv. They run a very cool improv school, as well as circus classes. Bogota was beautiful – I’d love to see more of South America one day!

What does Amy Shoshtak like to do when she’s not being funny?
Amy: I love going to metal concerts, and hiking in the mountains. I also love nachos.

Can you tell us about Gossamer Obsessions?
Amy: Paul and I started working together over a decade ago, doing improv at Rapid Fire Theatre. I really admired his approach to comedy. He always plays smart, while still sharing the joy he’s experiencing on stage. We got together to write a list of “Gossamer Obsessions”. Then we turned that into a performance. And then we wrote more, and started performing regularly. And so Gossamer Obsessions was born.
The show is framed by two curious narrators (The Vicar, and his Petulant Ward), who share parables and cautionary tales with the audience (these are the sketches). The tone of the show is purposefully whimsical, jarring, and still hilarious.

You & Paul live in separate cities. Do your creative processes involve a lot of skyping?
Amy: You nailed it! We skype every couple weeks and work on writing in google docs.

What are the secrets to a good sketch?
Amy: I think if it makes you laugh, then you are on the right track. Finding your own voice in creative work is one of the biggest challenges. Try not to worry about doing it right – just do it, and try it out in front of an audience!

Can you describe your working relationship with Paul Blinov in a single word?
Amy: Depraved.

You’ll be bringing The Morality Puns to the Vancouver Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Amy: The Morality Puns is our third full-length Gossamer Obsessions sketch show.

Where have the sketches come from?
Amy: The ether.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…?
Amy: Saturday Night Live meets a fever dream. A critic once called Gossamer Obsessions “19th century stoner humour”.

What will Amy Shoshtak & Gossamer Obsessions be doing after the Vancouver Fringe?
Amy: After Vancouver Fringe, I’ll be working on my Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate at Simon Fraser here in Vancouver, and helping produce The 20th Vancouver International Improv Festival. Also, Halloween!


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The Morality Puns

Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston St.

Friday Sept 7: 8:45pm – 9:45pm
Saturday Sept 8: 10pm – 11pm
Sunday Sept 9: 1:45pm – 2:45pm
Tuesday Sept 11: 9:30pm – 10:30pm
Friday Sept 14: 5pm – 6pm
Saturday Sept 15: 4pm – 5pm

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www.amyshoshtak.ca

An Interview with Rob Gee

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The Vancouver Fringe is rising rapidly on the horizon, & impeccable wordsmith Rob Gee is, well, geeing himself up for his gigs, big time…


Hello Rob, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Rob: Raised in Derby, Living in Leicester, currently in Calgary.

Why comedy, what is it about being funny in front of other people that makes you tick?
Rob: I’ve always liked entertaining folk since I was king Herod in the school nativity. And the sound of a bunch of people laughing is lovely. Also, I sometimes talk about some pretty rough subjects in my shows, so it comes down to that thing George Bernard Shaw said about how if you’re going to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.

You’re also a dab hand with a quill. Can you tell us about your poetry?
Rob: Anyway, basically I do stand up poetry, which is a bit like stand up comedy, but it rhymes and there’s no jokes in it. I used to do loads of poetry slams too. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to returning to Vancouver is its fantastic slam scene.

You’ve shared stages with numerous personalities & luminaries; who have been your top 3 & why?
Rob: Sue Townsend, who wrote the Adrian Mole diaries. She was a really interesting speaker and her books are hilarious. Tony Benn, old school Labour MP. He was a delight. Dick Fish, who sings for punk band the Subhumans. I grew up on punk rock, particularly the anarcho stuff, so Dick was a childhood hero. I gigged with his band, Citizen Fish, once or twice in the 90s, and then he started doing spoken word, so I gigged with him a bit more. He’s lovely and he always spoke to me like we were mates. I was all awestruck and dithery, but it didn’t seem to phase him.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Rob: It would have to be the three wise men, surely? They’d be pretty interesting conversation with a few beers in them. Actually, maybe two wise men and a translator. I’m not a very cook, but I live in Leicester and there’s a lovely South Indian place near me. We’d go there.

You’re bringing a show to this year’s Vancouver Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Rob: It’s a murder mystery set on an Alzheimer’s ward. I was a psych nurse for a number of years and I also love murder mysteries. There was also a lot I wanted to say about dementia. So it’s funny, with the occasional moving bit.

What’s the difference between a Canadian audience & a British?
Rob: I can only speak in terms of Fringe festivals, because they’re the only Canadian audiences I tend to do. Generally speaking, Canadian audiences tend to be a lot bigger, because their Fringes are better – the whole model is different. This leads to more questions than answers, I know. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Also, Canadian Fringe audiences are orientated more towards theatre, whereas UK Fringe audiences (particularly in Edinburgh) tend to be more focused towards comedy. In terms of what they laugh at though, it’s actually very similar.

What is the creative process behind writing your comedic material?
Rob: It starts with the idea that makes you giggle, or at least ignites something happy in the old grey matter. Once that happens, I then I like to write many pages of drivel which, several drafts later, I then use to I bore the people around me. Then it’ll do a scratch performance in a pub near where I live, and then it’ll do a tiny Fringe festival somewhere I lick the beast into shape. And then it’s ready!

What are the key ingredients to your style?
Rob: I like lots of light and lots of dark. And it goes in and out of rhyme. And it’s both kinds of funny.

You have twenty seconds to sell the show to someone you are flyering in the streets of Vancouver – what would you say?
Rob: It’s like Clue meets Memento. (That allows a few seconds in case they’ve not heard of Memento, then I can refer them to Google…)


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Forget Me Not

The Alzheimer’s Whodunnit

Revue Stage

Sept 6, 9, 11, 12, 15, 15 (times vary)

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www.robgee.co.uk

An Interview with Sam Russell

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Sam Russell is coming up from London on the sleek, slick wings of the Angel Comedy night. The Mumble caught him for a wee, mid-flight blether …


Hello Sam, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Sam: I am from a place in South London, called Streatham. We are famous for having London’s biggest indoor ice rink, a few nice green spaces and knife crime… All our attractions involve blades of some description. Currently I am on a large bed in a room at Edinburgh Business School on my first day at the Fringe, wondering if I should go back into town or just get as much rest as possible.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Sam: There is an apocryphal tale that at about 4, me and cousin would stand on tables and not tell jokes as such, but say words in the cadence of jokes e.g.
‘Why is the pasta always wet?’
Pause…
‘Because of the tomatoes!!!’
This did get laughs apparently, purely due to the confidence of the delivery rather then the quality of the writing. Something I still somewhat rely on to this day!

Can you tell us about Angel Comedy in London?
Sam: Angel Comedy is just a little bit magic. It started out just as many nights in London do. A free gig, above a pub (The Camden Head, in Angel), once a week. But due to the amazing talent and work ethic of the team its Aslan-like founder, Barry Ferns (see his show, ‘Barry Loves You’ every night of the fringe 9:00pm at The Tron) has assembled. It now owns the top two London comedy clubs on Trip Advisor. The original and their brand spanking new venue, the wonderful titled ‘The Bill Murray’ both running 7 nights a week. Angel runs under a great philosophy, which is basically London can be a massive rip off for everything. But not having much disposable income doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a laugh. It is still free to get in for all of the 8 o’clock shows at both venues, we have a bucket at the end and people pay what they can. What is lovely is you’ll see the student who could only throw in a couple of quid a few years ago, come back after landing their dream job and then throw in a £20. That’ the magic part! If you want to get a taste of that magic at the fringe, check out the Angel Comedy Showcase at 1:15 every day @ Espionage.

What are the differences between a bad MC & a good one?
Sam: A good MC put the night before themselves. A bad MC makes the night about themselves.
A good MC is a charming waiter serving a variety of different courses. A bad MC is a waiter who doesn’t really care about the food and just wants to go outside for a fag.
A good MC is a good parent making sure the bath water is the right temp for baby, not to hot or to cold. A bad MC throws the baby in the tub willy-nilly.
A good MC doesn’t let is show how much it infuriates them when audience members say to them ‘hey, you should try stand up’. A bad MC makes a sarcastic comment.

Can you tell us about Shoot From The Hip?
Sam: Shoot From The Hip is how I got into comedy. I went to Uni at Royal Holloway. There was an improv society there, which I had a few friends in. They kept asking me to give it a go and I kept saying NO. I was going to be a serious actor darling. Eventually they twisted my arm, I did my first show… and never looked back. Shoot From The Hip was born from that group of friends, and since November 2011 we have never gone a week without doing a show. This fringe is actually the longest I’m going to go without doing improv and I am already freaking out about it. The show we do is called a ‘Mullet’. Short up front, Long in the back. Basically the first half is fun improv games like ‘Whose Line’, and the second is an improvised 25 min play. We currently do three shows a week as well as one of theatre shows, for full details check out: Shootfromthehipcomedy.co.uk

What are the three main differences between an Improviser & a Stand-Up?
Sam: 1. You’re alone in stand up. With improv you’re in a team.
2. I think you need to be a special breed of monster to do stand-up. But I genuinely think anyone can improvise, its just like learning to play like a kid again.
3. Stand up feel like being a great stage magician, you know all the moves to make it seem as if something miraculous has taken place. Improv on the other hand can sometimes feel like real magic. Something will happen on stage and we’ll all look at each other and think ‘How the hell did we do that?’

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Sam: 1. 1978’s Superman. I would want something that would make me hopful
2. 2005’s The producers. I would want to laugh and that film never fails
3. A semial piece of pornagraphic cinima. Because I am a honest man

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You are bringing your solo debut to the Fringe, LUCKY BASTARD. Can you tell us about it?
Sam: I started writing this show in January, about how lucky my life seemed and how I had a strange sense of guilt about it. I get to do my dream job, I am married to a very lovely woman and I’m all on the things that we in society think of as privileged: straight, white, male, middle class etc. However in March of this year, something happened that flipped this show on its head (I won’t tell you here, you’ll have to come see it). But it made me takes stock of my life and I began analysing more what luck is. Apart from adding this March event, the content of the show remained remarkably similar: Doing a Elmo voice to piss off cold callers, dealing with estate agents named Chad, meeting my hero… What changed was the perspective. The show is now about how when we are lucky we need to admit it and embrace it. Don’t always be looking for the next thing you want; wallow in the majesty of the wonderful everyday. And also when things are going shit, remember that they can always get better and that if you’ve got a tomorrow to make things better, you are a Lucky Bastard.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Sam: “Hey guys, looking for some comedy! Awesome! Well I’m doing my first show up here, I’m incredibly excited. It’s called Lucky Bastard. Its a hour of stand up comedy that I’ve been working of for the last year. I don’t want to spoil by giving too much away, so I’ll just tell you three things that you can look forward to in the show: 1. A pitch perfect Elmo impression. 2. Handy methods for getting cold callers to never call you again. 3. a philosophical look about what really important in life and how lucky we are to all be alive and enjoy this glorious day together.”

What will Sam Russell be doing after the Fringe?
Sam: Straight after the Fringe I am going to a convention in Leeds called Thought Bubble to pitch a comic book about Adam from the Garden of Eden, living thoughtout all of human existance whilst looking for his wife Eve, who has been kidnapped by God… so you know… normal stuff.


LUCKY BASTARD

Just the Tonic @ The Caves

August 2-12, 14-26 (16.55)

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An Interview with the Dirty White Boys


Just exactly who are the Dirty White Boys, & why the hell are they so hilarious? The Mumble track’d them down for a wee blether…


Hello Jack, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Jack: I’m originally from the glorious north west, near Manchester; specifically the quaint little town of Rochdale, which you may recall from various unsettling news stories, but I currently live in that London. I’ve moved in with my comedy husband Chazz and we couldn’t be more like a long-time married couple – we sleep in different bedrooms and don’t talk to each other.

Hello Chazz, so when did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Chazz: Hello right back! I guess I don’t have the memory specifically, but I’ve been told on several occasions that during my Christening I farted very loudly during the quiet bit and giggled my arse off. Well, at least until they dunked me like an accused witch. Nice to know I had timing back then.

Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
Chazz: Sketch has such an amazing legacy in the UK. What me and Jack do is inspired by the classic music hall (Morecambe & Wise) as much as it is by more contemporary groups (The League of Gentlemen). Also, 8 years ago I saw my favourite sketch show ever at the fringe (The Bunker by The Beta Males) and that’s definitely rubbed off on my writing style.

How did you get into stand up?
Jack: I started doing a bit of stand up whilst in the comfy supportive world of university and stopped dabbling once I left. Like many people who try being “actors” I found I had to make my own work if I wanted to perform on stage… hence sketch.

Upon which life-experiences do you draw your own comedy?
Jack: A lot of my comic ideas come from the absurdity I find in the most mundane of situations. A lot of our material is focused on either an ordinary person in a surreal scenario or a complete nutter in a perfectly relatable setting. It’s nice to be a bit bonkers without having to make a point about anything. I’m also a big fan of the darker side of jokes, creating characters on the very end of their tether is very amusing for me.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
Chazz: Instantaneous feedback and that sense of community; like you’re all sharing a secret. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and on the really good nights it’s practically electric. Can’t beat that feeling.

How did you meet Chazz?
Jack: I met Chazz in my first week at university, nearly nine whole years ago. We were auditioning for the same play and after just a few minutes of conversation I remember thinking “gosh, he’s a bit much, I hope we both don’t end up in this play together…” But we did. The rest is history.

How does living with Jack influence both your comedy & your delivery?
Chazz: Jack is beautiful grounding mechanism. Sometimes when I’m by myself it’s easy to focus on what I think the audience wants rather than what I find funny. After days of obsession with meta-narrative and theming, sometimes it’s good to have someone remind you a comedy show is supposed to have jokes. Plus, he’s the funniest bastard I’ve ever met.

What are the secrets to a good sketch?
Jack: A good sketch just needs a very strong conceit as it’s foundation or there’s not much point. We always build off a central concept and see how many different directions we can go with it; how many ideas we can pull from this one simple notion at the core of the sketch.

Where did the idea for Dirty White Boys originate?
Jack: Dirty White Boys was originally a double act comprising of Chazz and another funny friend of ours. They did some comedy gigs at uni, but when we were all thrust, most begrudgingly, into the real world, the band split. He (who cannot be named for legal reasons) went on to bigger and better things and Chazz suddenly needed a wing man for this gig he had preemptively booked the pair in for. And so, because I had nothing else going for me at the time and because everybody else refused to work with him, Chazz rang me up to fill in and I agreed. We wrote some skits, did them to a crowd of people, they laughed and our combined ego made us think we could be the new gods of sketch comedy. Look at us now.

You’re bringing MANNERS to this year’s Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Chazz: MANNERS is our 3rd full hour, and (while it sounds presumptive and arrogant) we’re going back to basics. Non-stop sketch comedy for an hour. We exhaust one idea of comic potential and move onto the next one. No stone left unturned. And they’re really beautifully bizarre ideas this year. There’s definitely one sketch that makes a hard turn from music hall silliness into Mike Leigh film, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You guys have been doing the Fringe in various guises for a decade now – what advice do you have for a performer arriving fresh faced for their first?
Jack: My advice? Pace yourself! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t rush into watching too many shows as they won’t all be brilliant and you can lose a lot of money that way. But when in Scotland, drink and eat as the Scots do! You might live to regret it but you’ll have a blast doing it for a month.

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Chazz: Incredible highs tempered with a lot of berocca.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…
Chazz: If you want to laugh for an hour, this is the show for you. Non-stop, fast-paced, triple-distilled, hyphen-overusing silliness.


MANNERS

Just the Tonic @ The Caves

August 2-26 (22.10)

An Interview with Samantha Pressdee

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Everyone who saw Murder She Didn’t Write last year were chuffed to bits. The Mumble managed a wee blether with one of Bristol Improv Theatre’s finest…


Hello Samantha, & welcome back to the Fringe, how’s your comedy going?
Samantha: Thank you! It’s going good. I’m excited to start work on my new big project about mental health, which includes a new stage show. Since last year I have started my own night ‘Conscious Comedy’ which I’m also bringing to the fringe. I’ve done a few gigs across the country but have had to keep a low profile due to stalking and harassment. I’ve had a lot of grief and trauma the last few years.

Can you tell us about Love Muffin Productions?
Samantha: It’s my social enterprise, baked in 2016 with the help of the new enterprise allowance. Which essentially means, my topless comedy show Sextremist was partly funded thanks to the Tory Government! Our mission statement is to create experiences which bring people together for the purpose of empowerment and the greater good. As well as Sextremist we’ve produced Back 2 Basics, The Men, Sex & Feminism Podcast and now Conscious Comedy. My number 2 in this operation is the wonderful Clare Morgan. She’s been with me since the beginning. I’m Bipolar. So get an access to work grant to pay Clare. Bipolar is a disability, there are things I can’t do as well as neurotypical people, like admin! But I also consider it a blessing. I have a deep compassion for humanity and am very creative. It’s a label I share with some of my comedy heroes Alfie Brown, Russell Brand, also Jim Carrey I read is Bipolar.. According to an article in The Guardian from 2014 us comedians are the most likely profession to be diagnosed. I had to show a judge that article when I had to go to court to get the Personal Independence Payments I was entitled too early in my recovery because a paramedic sent from the private company Capita had decided if could do stand up comedy, and didn’t take meds – I was fine. Cutting off resources which vulnerable individuals need to survive is a human rights abuse!

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Well, Sam, lets take a look at the all important question of 2018, on the lips of every comedian, is this: you’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Samantha: First of all, I wouldn’t cook. I can’t. One of them would have to do the cooking, I will do the washing up. (Or just order a takeaway and pretend I cooked.) I would invite Marilyn Monroe, because she was also Bipolar and we generally don’t eat properly anyway. I like nurturing my fellow nutters. Then I would have Joan of Arc, who was psychic, as am I! Then I’d have the Guru OSHO so I could see for myself if he really is the narcissist he was painted as in Wild Wild Country on Netflix. The starter would be Saganaki, which is greek fried cheese. Then for the main we would have chicken tikka madras with garlic fried rice and keema naan. Dessert we’ll have hot chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream.

Last year you brought Back To Basics to Edinburgh, how did it go & what did you take from the experience?
Samantha: Despite 3 massive knocks, as well as all the harrassment, it went well. I’m proud of myself. I got my first 4 star review and the show went on to tour with 3 professional bookings and acceptance into the Bath and Leicester comedy festivals. Heartbreakingly, I found out days before the Edinburgh run that my dear friend and supporter Sarah Munro had passed away. She was only 36. Also, I experienced professional betrayal. On the journey up, my director who I had paid £2250 told me she wouldn’t be at the fringe to support me running in the show as she had the year before. I should have had her sign a contract, but she knew what I expected and I trusted her. That really shook my confidence, I felt like she’d duped me. Then I got struck with the flu. All that and I still completed the run. I think that proves my mental stability.

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This year you are involved in two projects, including your solo show, Pulling it Together. What’s your show about?
Samantha: It’s about my journey back to sanity after a mental breakdown in 2014, following the death of my Dad. I talk about my fight with public institutions to get my basic needs met as a marginalised member of society. The journey starts, and ends – with the police. My sanity has been truly tested by recent events. This is a story of resilience. I’m writing it for the one in four and those who love us.

How do you feel when you are telling such deeply personal stories & how do you hope the audience will respond?
Samantha: I hope to provoke compassion and empathy within the audience, which is mostly what happens. There were so many hugs after Back 2 Basics and people would tell me their stories. There was an emotional connection. When people come to see me, I feel connected, empowered and heard. My loneliness goes away. I read somewhere once that expression is the antidote to depression. Expressing myself feels enlightening. Connecting with people on the vibration of truth is deeply comforting.

You are also hosting Conscious Comedy for a couple of dates, can you tell us about the concept?
Samantha: It’s a sacred space, not a safe space. I see comedy as a platform for the truth. Not just another bland form of entertainment. In a way, comedy saved me. I like comedy with depth. I believe that great comedy can inspire change.

Who have you got on the line-up?
Samantha: I have got Zahra Barri doing both nights. I’ve been a fan of her work since 2015 when she did a showcase I hosted at the Edinburgh Fringe. She has a very interesting perspective, eastern meets western. Very well structured jokes and adorable as a person too. Also Alex Hylton, he’s very funny and has a warm aura on stage. I’ve seen him on my local circuit, he told me in his show he is talking about gender, identity and social politics. Looking forward to that. Also booked are; Janet Bettesworh, I gigged with her recently on a gig that was originally shut down by censors. She had a very interesting story about Greenham Common. Then there’s Dan Collins, Mags Mchugh, Paul Savage, Pope Lonergan & Alice-India Garwood. If there are any cancellations. I’ve got fellow anarchist Becky Fury on standby. She did a great job hosting the Malcolm Hardy awards last year.

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You’ve got 20 seconds to sell both shows to a random on an Edinburgh street. What do you say?
Samantha: For Pulling it Together I will just quote this from my badass bipolar sister, Britney Spears; “People can take everything away from you, but they can never take away your truth but the question is, can you handle mine? They say I’m crazy.” For Conscious Comedy, this is more than jokes. It’s a platform for comedians who have something to say. It’s comedy with a conscience.

What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Samantha: I will continue doing my spiritual work, I’ve been a psychic reader and presenter on Psychic Today, Sky channel 560 for over a year now. I’m also going to continue working on my new mental health project. I plan to launch a new podcast next year along with the finished stage show. Then I’ll be looking at publishing a book. Also my husband and I are planning on moving back in together after a long separation. He’s been my saving grace though all this drama. I’ve got some lovely people in my life. Tough times reveal true friends. Silver linings.


Conscious Comedy

Dropkick Murphys

August 2nd & 8th (22.30)

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Pulling it Together

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe 

August 2-10 (14.25)

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An Interview with the Delightful Sausage

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Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill are The Delightful Sausage & are coming back to Edinburgh this August. Which is absolutely brilliant news & as they are well funny. The Mumble managed to catch them for a wee blether


What is the secret formula for a funny joke?
CHRIS: Get yourself a ticket to the number 54 bus. Write down all the conversations you hear and occasionally slip ‘bum hole’ in.

How did you get into comedy?
AMY: During a dark period in my life, I was on the run – a fugitive from justice. The open mic comedy circuit provided the perfect opportunity to guarantee absolute anonymity and stay under the radar.

Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
CHRIS: I’m a huge fan of alternative, surreal cabaret and there’s a pioneering Northern double act that we simply have to acknowledge when we’re talking about The Delightful Sausage. Two guys, three syllables – Cannon and –

For anyone who has not seen The Delightful Sausage in action, what shall they expect?
AMY: Dizziness, nausea and an intense urge to tell absolute strangers your full PIN number. It’s surreal, colourful bollocks which will blow your mind out yer arsehole.

Can you describe your working relationship with Amy in a single word?
CHRIS: Who?

Can you describe your working relationship with Chris in three words?
AMY: Strong and stable.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
CHRIS: Probably American Psycho, Falling Down and Herbie Rides Again.

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Last year your show went down really well with the reviewers, did that surprise you?
CHRIS: Is that a neg? To be honest, we were surprised that anybody came to see it at all. It’s so very, very strange and full of lumps.

Do Southerners laugh at your jokes?
AMY: It’s been much better since we’ve brought the interpreter on board.

What have you learnt about yourself as a human being in the last year?
AMY: I’ve learnt that I’ve got a propensity for aggressive script editing and the conflict management which that creates.

How has your show developed since last year?
CHRIS: We’re already incredibly proud of our new show. It’s an even stranger yet somehow more personal journey which we’ve managed to pack full with unsettling illustrations and tight, rock-hard gags.

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You’ve changed venue this year, what’s the back story?
AMY: Last year we met John, one of the owners of Monkey Barrel after he came to see our show. We are really excited to be in a venue where we’ve seen a ton of our favourite acts. I’ll also be performing with Just The Tonic as I’m compering this year’s Big Value late show. Which is nerve-wracking but for two hours a day I’ll be allowed to wear my own clothes. Cowabunga.

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
AMY: With its blissful highs and anxiety-filled lows, the Fringe is the best damn laxative on the planet.

What will you guys be doing after the Fringe?
CHRIS: Probably getting a black belt. It will help keep my trousers up. Just an example of the kind of fun I’ll be having as I return back to Manchester to entertain my partner who spends the month of August looking after our two-year-old. What a trooper!


TDS: Regeneration Game

Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

August 2-26 (12:00)

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www.thedelightfulsausage.com

An Interview with Andy Quirk & Anna J

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The Mumble have just managed a wee blether with East London’ premier rapper of first-world problems, Andy Quirk, and his backup dancer, Anna J, who will both be headin’ to Edinburgh this August to spread the wisdom…


Hello Andy and Anna, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
A&A: Hi Mumble, as we say in our opening track, we’re from East London. Leyton. The cool bit obviously… But our first world pain is universal.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Andy: I took my first world problems to Edinburgh as part of a three man show in 2016 and found a lot more people got it than I could have predicted.
Anna: What do you mean, make people laugh? This is serious! To be honest I find it strange people laugh when I pull my best moves. I learnt these from back in the day – dance offs at primary school, later in Camden Palace. You get me?

How did you get into comedy performance?
Andy: Some people would say my whole life is a comedy performance. It wasn’t a difficult transition to put it on stage.
Anna: It weren’t my first choice but I’m waiting for my big break. I’m expecting a lot of top producers to be dropping in on our show this year and once they make an offer…well, y’know I could be saved from all this.

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How would you describe your performing style?
Andy: Energetic! Though I do expect our crew to join in just as enthusiastically. It’s all about the therapy.
Anna: What you chatting about? You only have to look to see I’m the only PROFESSIONAL in the crew and I’m setting the bar. And if any of those so-called new crew members think they can outdo me I’ll let them know exactly who is the lead backup dancer in this outfit!

What is it about performing live you love the most?
Andy: The energy, the buzz, everyone just having a good time.
Anna: Well I get to get my groove on and perform to my crew so they can see my skills and prowess.

What do you like to do when you’re not being funny?
Andy: Watch other people being funny, I love the comedy community. It’s the best.
Anna: I like to go for long walks, travel and enjoy a cheeky glass of vino with friends. Yeah, I’ve got friends. Lots of friends. Thousands! On Facebook.

Who is Anna J?
Anna: I’ve often thought, “Who is Anna J? What is her purpose? When she is gone will her legacy live on?”
Andy: Pretty confident.

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You are bringing your show, First World problems, to the Fringe. What have been the processes behind the creation of the show, from inception to hatching?
Andy: Writing songs, lots of songs about things that annoy us. Working out how to tie them together. Debating with Anna J what we can make the crew do to take them to the next level.
Anna: Let’s be clear, I am the show. Words cannot adequately describe the process, not even I can describe it so I don’t expect anyone else to understand. Except in years to come through intense debate and study. A degree course might just about do it. No, a Phd. “I’ve got a Phd in FWP.” Sounds good.

It seems like you’ve been on quite relentless tour with it so far, where have you been performing?
Andy: We’ve done a good few fringes and festivals this year so far. Four Saturdays at Brighton Fringe was a good experience, meeting the people of Merthyr Tydfil was a real eye opener, Hastings were a really warm bunch and the Scottish music festival we did was predictably anarchic with people dancing and bringing their own instruments to join in.
Anna: It’s good to meet the fans wherever our help is needed.

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Has the show evolved during this period?
Andy: It’s an ever-changing beast, we’ve added all kinds of twists and turns as they emerged during shows. Really, the show goes where the crew take it. No two are the same.
Anna: It’s more advanced, better, stronger. And that’s down to me doing more stuff.

Can you tell us about the show?
Andy: It’s a genre busting musical comedy show of songs about first world problems where the audience join our crew for an hour that’s part concert / part therapy session which also follows the everyday trials of a white rapper in his thirties and his sassy backup dancer.
Anna: What? Just come! This interview is long man. I’m out of here. See you there.

You have twenty seconds to sell the show to someone you are flyering in the streets of Edinburgh – what would you say?
Andy: I love the idea anyone would listen for twenty seconds but if they did then I’d tell them it’s something quite different to anything else they’ll experience at the fringe. Fast paced, interactive, funny and a show with absolutely no desire to ask thought provoking questions. Frivolous fun for fans of music and expressing their frustrations with modern living.

Finally, what will you be doing after the Fringe?
Andy: More shows and a second album (the first is on iTunes/Spotify/etc). Well, after a good rest – we’re performing an unbroken run of 24 shows at the fringe this year!!


First World Problems

Laughing Horse @ Espionage

August 2-26 (14:45)

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www.andyquirk.co.uk