Edinburgh Festival 2013 Preview: Max and Ivan

1 Aug

Words by Hannah Clapham-Clark

We often hope that double acts find love at first sight! How did you two first meet, what were your first impressions of each other and how did the idea of a having comedy act develop?

How does one come to the conclusion that the only possible way forward in life is to form a comedy double act? It’s probably the mutual loathing of “having a real job”, though I’d like to think a shared comedic sensibility was also a decisive factor.

Narrative sketch shows are still quite unusual, have you always gone for this style of comedy? What drew you to this approach?

We’ve dabbled in all sorts. Sketch, narrative, improv, fleeting and rare bits of solo stand-up and compering, not to mention Ivan’s three years touring a one-man minstrel show (highly disturbing, and completely unacceptable). But our current mode of performing – blending sketches and theatricality, with a beautifully interwoven narrative, and a vast array of dick jokes – has naturally evolved over the years.

The Fringe is fairly dominated by stand-ups, how is it working in a double act, is there a secret to it working successfully? Are there any main dis/advantages?

We presumed that as there are two of us, we’d get paid double. This really is not the case…

What is the process of writing a show which has a clear storyline? Where do the ideas for your characters and their distinct personas come from?

Our current show, The Reunion, is based on a 10 year school reunion. Now, we’re not saying that we’ve based a lot of the characters on old school friends, but if you happen to have gone to either Birkenhead Boys School or Priory School, then you might recognise some (all) the names.

How important is the Fringe and have there been any particular high/lowlights over the past few years?

M: The fringe is an all-consuming megalithic behemoth that drains you of every ounce of joy, energy and strength you have ever possessed. However, we love it dearly.

I: We once found a human shit outside our venue. That was pretty distressing.

This year you’re bringing wrestling back to the Fringe! What were your experiences of this from 2011 and what can we expect this time around? Did you predict such a positive response? And is there a secret skill Ivan has which could lead to its own show?

M: Other than shattering my ankle into a thousand tiny fragments (great work, my ankle) my experiences from 2011 were utterly magnificent. This time around, without giving too much away, you can expect an all-new roster of wrestling comedians, a comedian going one-on-one with a wrestler for the first time, and –

I: We’ve said too much. Come to the show. And, in the mean time, check out the steady torrent of videos we’ll be releasing in the run-up to the show. As Malcolm X once said, “shit’s going to get cray”.

It seems like the last few months have been pretty exciting with visits to Australia and SXSW, could you talk a bit about your time at these festivals? Has it differed to playing in the UK?

It’s been AMAZING! SXSW was a wonderful 72 hours of jet-lagged comedy, tacos, and awesome american comedians. And the Melbourne International Comedy Festival was better than we could have dreamed of – Australian’s were actually happy to be flyered, imagine that!

This year’s show is The Reunion, can you tell us a little bit about the story and what it’s been like to work with Tom Parry (from Pappy’s)? How have previews been going?

The Reunion is basically a love story, but it’s still funny… we’ve basically established a new genre that mixes romance and comedy, or ‘romedy’ if you wish. We’re hoping it catches on.

Speaking of love, Tom has been a brilliant director – we were a bit worried to step away from the wonderful Jessica Ransom (who directed our past two shows), but as she was busy filming until July we had to get someone new.

M:The first thing that happened under the Parry regime was to triple the amount of previews we had booked, which was dreadful and invigorating in equal measures.

Finally, if you could pick a dream third member, who would it be and why?

Tom (Parry) has often jumped into scenes during rehearsals, which has been fun – but we really don’t feel there’s much future in three-man sketch comedy. We heavily doubt it’d work.

Make sure to see Max and Ivan’s new show, The Reunion, at the Queen Dome, 8:20 through the Fringe.

One Response to “Edinburgh Festival 2013 Preview: Max and Ivan”


  1. Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominees Announced | Punchline - 31 Thu+01:002013-08-22T00:30:32+01:00+01:0008b+01:00Thu, 22 Aug 2013 00:30:32 +0100, 2017

    […] as some of our favourite comedians from this year’s Fringe: Carl Donnelly, James Acaster, Max and Ivan, Mike Wozniak and Bridget Christie have all been announced as contenders […]

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