Jenny Bede: A 2015 EdFringe Interview

6 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Jenny Bede is an actor, writer and comedian, whose comedy-musical parodies have received over 2 million views on YouTube.  Jenny’s 2015 show will definitely be something a bit different, combining music and comedy for more of a cabaret than just a gig. As the Festival heats up this week and previews are under way, I caught up with the lovely Jenny Bede to discuss her brand new show ‘Don’t Look at Me’.
Hello Jenny, how are you?
I’m excellent, thanks Punchline. I’m currently on the 7:30am train to Glasgow, the driver of which has already given a birthday shoutout. I’m preparing for the journey of my life.

Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
Yes, and terrified in equal measures.

How many years have you performed in Edinburgh, and what does the Edinburgh Festival mean to you?
I first performed at the festival in 2008 and then have been up every year since 2011. Some years have been better than others. In 2013 I shared an hour with Jessie Cave and we treated it as a kind of stand up school, just getting used to gigging every day, which was a really nice way of looking at it. I wouldn’t gig every day for nearly a month in London, so there is a lot to be learned up there. I also love the social side of Edinburgh; I didn’t go to university, so to me Edinburgh is a bit like what I imagine that to have been like; sharing houses with mates and drinking till 5 and having no money.

What are your expectations for the festival this year?
I’m not a pessimist but I do find it stringent to lower all expectations entirely, and then you can only be pleasantly surprised. If past Edinburghs are anything to go by I expect I’ll have fun, do some crying and put on weight, but in terms of the show, I’m trying not to second guess anything.

Tell us about your new show for 2015?
Ok. It’s my first full hour and is a mixture of stand up and original songs that’s all quite pop culture inspired. Main themes are probably pop music and inequality, but don’t worry I also address more important issues like emoji and fake gluten intolerances. And of course, no show is complete without a whole song dedicated to Canadian rapper Drake, so that box is definitely ticked.

DONTLOOKATME_JENNYBEDE_IMAGE2Music plays a big part in your act, how do you incorporate it in to your comedy set?
It’s about half/half with stand up and songs. I spent a lot of my life training as a singer which was time consuming, expensive and the main catalyst in my war against dairy, so I feel I need to try and make the most of it. So, I sing and rap a bit accompanied by backing tracks of songs my music producer & I have written.

What mind set should the audience come to your show with, and what’s the best audience reaction you’ve experienced whilst performing at the Edinburgh Fringe?
I would say to keep it relatively open; while there are various references to hip hop artists and other cultural things, I’ve been told it doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about these areas. But if you do have prior knowledge of Drake that will only make it better, not worse. I hope.

Will you be involved in any other shows this year other than your solo show?
Nothing regular, but I’ll be doing various mixed bills including ‘Tiny Horse Comedy’ and the ‘Comedian’s Cinema Club’.

What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
I’m really excited to see A Mother & Baby, which is Natasia Demetriou & Ellie White’s double act. I saw them do a 5 minute set on a mixed bill show last year, and my friend and I both cried laughing. I can’t wait to see more. Also, make sure you see the Pleasance Comedy Reserve as Jamali Maddix is part of it and one of the best stand ups I’ve seen in ages.

Jenny Bede’s debut Edinburgh Festival show ‘Don’t Look At Me’ will be at the Pleasance
Courtyard from 6th – 30th August at 15.30.


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