Written by Susan Ford
Kai Humphries is so happy, he’s written a show about it for this year’s festival. And it’s not just a gimmick, Kai is genuinely one of the happiest and most likeable people you will ever meet. Not only is Kai a very funny comedian, but also spreads his joy over his jokes and through the audience. As Kai prepares for the Edinburgh Fringe, I caught up with him to discuss his new show ‘How to Be Happy’.
Hello Kai, how are you?
Right now, I’m in my Pyjamas on a Thursday afternoon, I have to say, things can’t possibly be better.
Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
Extremely, not in an extremely excited bouncing off the walls like a crazy person, night before Christmas way, but in a chilled out “this is going to be freakin’ awesome” kinda way.
What have you been doing since last year’s Festival?
I’ve toured Europe, been to Dubai twice and been on 3 jaunts snowboarding, slinging jokes everywhere. But really, I go for my meal ticket.
Tell us about Punch Drunk Comedy…
You mean the best comedy gig in the world? It’s my baby, my venture with my brother to reignite the community spirit in my otherwise deprived home town of Blyth, once a month we turn out in force (300 strong on a Monday night) as we bring 3 of the world’s best comedians to an old social club concert hall. It’s more of a carnival than a gig.
How many years have you performed in Edinburgh, and what does the Festival mean to you?
6 years, the first year was to compete in some national competition finals, I hadn’t heard of the Fringe until I was up here in 2009 for the “So You Think You’re Funny?” competition and was instantly immersed in it with no warning. I came up for one night and ended up staying for the rest of the month. I haven’t missed a day of the Fringe since.
Tell us about your new show for 2015?
I’m going to use the hour to get to the route of my happiness; it’s a part of my personality that seems come up in every review of my comedy, it’s the one topic I really feel like I’m qualified to talk about. I’ll delve into the way I handle life, my outlooks and my relationships, analysing what it is that keeps me smiling and laughing my way through life and all of the things it throws at you.
What mood should the audience come to your show with?
Which ever mood they’re in when they arrive, whether that be drained from a hard week’s work, frustrated by city centre traffic, or simply getting out of the rain with no expectations and taking a punt on someone they’ve never heard of, it’s my aim to give everyone’s mindset a massage for an hour so they all leave with a big fat spring in their step.
What is the best thing about the Edinburgh Fringe for you?
I live in Edinburgh and all of my friends in this industry, who live scattered all over the world, some as far as Australia, come over to visit. It’s like having a big house party that lasts a month and inviting all of my favourite people but instead of my house it’s the whole entire city.
What do your preparations for the Festival involve?
Annoying my flatmates and my girlfriend with “do you think this is funny?” every time something crosses my mind that could go in the show. My house gets really tidy and I become super organised because when I have a show to write for some reason every other area of procrastination has to be put out of the way first.
Will you be involved in any other shows this year other than your solo show?
Yes, I have the very prestigious honour of co-producing Set List, the Fringe’s number one concept show where acts get up and can’t rely on any of their crafted material, they have to riff with the Set List topics that appear on the screen behind them. It really is like self-harm for comedians, it’s exhilarating and terrifying but this risk taking ‘comedy without a net’ makes priceless viewing for the audience and an addictive adrenaline shot direct to the heart for the performers.
What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
Milo McCabe, Ronny Chieng, Carl Donnelly, Tom Stade, Daniel Sloss, Mark Nelson… if you go see all of those guys you’re going to have one hell of a good time this Fringe.
Follow Kai on Twitter/instagram: @kaihumphries or online www.kaihumphries.com.
Kai Humphries: How To Be Happy | 8pm | Gilded Balloon: Sportsman | 5th-30th August
Set List: Stand-Up Without a Net | 11pm (Midnight Fri-Sat) | The Stand | 7th-30th (not Mondays)