Edinburgh Fringe Preview 2013: an interview with Patrick Monahan

17 Jun

Patrick Monahan high res by steve ullathorneWords by Susan Ford

Patrick Monahan is renowned for his superb anecdotes, his unique charm and his unmistakeable brand of humour. He will be returning to the Edinburgh Fringe for his 11th year this year, to perform a brand new hour of comedy ‘The Cake Charmer’ at The Gilded Balloon.

Patrick Monahan was most recently seen on TV as host of ‘Jongleurs Live!’ (Sky) on ‘Fake Reaction’ (ITV2) and ‘12 Again’ (CBBC/BBC2). Patrick’s many other TV appearances include ‘The Comedy Annual’ (ITV1) ‘Daybreak’ (ITV1) ‘Loose Women’ (ITV1) and ‘The Wright Stuff’ (C5). In 2011 , as well as winning the ITV1 series ‘Show Me The Funny’ which led to the release of his debut DVD ‘Patrick Monahan Live’, he won the 2011 Forth Radio Best Stand-Up People’s Choice Award and was in ‘The Wrestling’ which won an Edinburgh 2011 Fringe First.

As Pat gets ready for a festival full of hugs, I caught up with him to discuss the charms of cake, 2013 side-projects, and Pat’s guide to the Edinburgh Festival.

SF: Hello Pat Monahan, how are you?
PM: I’m brilliant thanks, I’m loving the sunshine and loving the fact that I can go out of the house with just 2 layers on instead of 7 which I have been wearing for spring. I’m not sure if it’s me old age stopping me blood circulation or if global warming is going in reverse!

SF: Are you excited to be playing this year’s Edinburgh Fringe?
PM: Yep I always love going up to Edinburgh, it’s become a permanent fixture in me diary in between Xmas, Easter, Ramadan and Eid. All the big celebrations deserve a festival and there’s none bigger than the Edinburgh Fringe and it has the biggest collections of comics with flu type symptoms too.

SF: How many times have you played the Fringe now?
PM: It always feels like my first year going up because I get excited and taken away by the venues and the posters everywhere and the madness of the festival, even though I’ve been performing at the festival since 2002 and done a solo show every year since 2004. If I keep going up for the next 20 years in a row they said they will name a pavement slab after me on Teviot square, so I’m going to keep going up, even if it’s not true about the pavement slab naming promise!

SF:Your solo show is called ‘Cake Charmer’, where does this name come from and what does it mean?
PM: I love cake, I think it’s fair to say so do quite a few people and there’s nothing nicer than looking at a picture of a cake, although its nicer to actually eat a cake than look at it! This year I wanted to do a show about things that make people happy and for me its cake!

SF: Tell me a bit of what the audience can expect from your show this year?
PM: This year’s show will involve a bit of hugging, a demonstration about the joys of a cake, a bit of dancing if there’s time, a story about me making my Bollywood debut and a reflection on how flake adverts changed our life’s in the 80’s and 90’s. Also, some more hugging at the end of the show.

SF: You are also doing a ‘show’ with Bob Slayer, tell me more about setting a world record with Bob?
PM: I love hugging (as much as I love cake). And Bob loves hugging. And Bob loves not sleeping at night, so we’ve decided to beat the world record of a 25 hour hug – but our 25 hour hug will involve us going to as many shows as possible at the fringe and performing in as many as we can while hugging and letting other people join our continuous hug.

SF: Will you be involved in any other shows during the festival?
PM: Yep I’ll also be hosting Late and Live on the weekends at the Gilded Balloon and will be doing a dating show early on in the run for a week or so, which I will be road testing before bringing back up to the fringe for 2014!

SF: It’s not just about the festival though right, what else will you get up to during your month in Edinburgh?
PM: I’ll also be making my yearly visits to the Edinburgh fudge shop on the Royal Mile, the story telling centre, and the mosque kitchen for food, as well as doing my yearly walk and jog around Arthur’s seat. Edinburgh is an amazing place, so much to do, so little time.

SF: You have won quite a few awards (Best Newcomer, Loaded LAFTA’s Stand Up 2012. Best Stand-Up, ThreeWeeks Editors’ Awards 2012. Forth Radio Best Stand-Up People’s Choice Award), what do these mean to you as a comedian?
PM: It’s always lovely to get an award because it means that you’re doing something right and that someone is watching. Being a stand-up though isn’t really about the awards so much as the audiences who come to your shows every year and who come and give you a hug afterwards – that’s probably one of the best awards or achievements any comic can get.

SF: What other acts do you recommend during this year’s festival?
PM: There’s so much going on I’d go and watch as much as you can, go to all the different venues, and check out a range of acts you’ve never heard of as well as ones you have. There’s a double act called ‘Passeum and Headluv’ on at the Gilded Balloon who are absolutely brilliant and a pair of Cornish rappers who have great energy, who I did the Inverness comedy festival with in May and they were brilliant and great guys to hang out and work with.

SF: What are your plans for the lead up to the festival?
PM: Plenty of previews, I have about 2 hours of material because I’ve been touring all spring and putting in new stories and routines so now I need to edit this down to the new 55/60minute tight show for the fringe. Also up at Edinburgh you tend to get a lack of sleep and vegetables so I’m stocking up on as much as I can before August hits us!

SF: Where can we find out more about Patrick Monahan?
PM: You can follow me on twitter or like my Facebook page or even checkout me website or come and see me at the Gilded Balloon Wine Bar every night in August at 8.45pm!

Big Monahan hugs


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