Ian Smith: A 2015 EdFringe Interview

10 Aug

Ian Smith’s 2015 EdFringe show ‘Whereabouts’ is a fantastically funny hour of observational comedy at its best. With the festival now in full swing, I caught up with Ian to discuss what he’s been doing this year and how it’s contributed to the making of his new show.
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Hello Ian, how are you?
Hello. I’m good thanks, I’ve just had some Soreen malt loaf. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to advertise, but in my opinion, if you’re after malt loaf, it’s got to be Soreen.

What have you been doing since last year’s Festival?
I moved house, and bought a swivel chair. So I’ve mainly been knocking back 35p energy drinks, spinning around and writing. I also recorded a couple of series of a podcast for Dave, called ‘The Magic Sponge’ and was in a BBC1 biblical drama, The Ark – about the massive hassle of an apocalyptic flood.

Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
Yes! I love Edinburgh as a city – and it’s so much fun to perform in front of comedy literate crowds every day for a month. I’m excited about this year’s show because there is a surprise prop involved!

How many years have you performed at the Fringe, and what does the Festival mean to you?
This is my third solo show, and I’ve done three years of package shows and splitting an hour with another comic before that. The Fringe feels like what you work towards all year – I always say ‘next year’ when I’m talking about September, it’s become that much of a focal point!

Tell us about your new show for 2015?
My show is about me moving house, and how easy it is to get stressed out because of the Internet. There’s also some stuff about Postman Pat and scarecrows. It’s a stand-up show, but with projector stuff, two very strange songs, a presentation, and this surprise prop!

How do you come up with your ideas for the show?
Usually sat on my swivel chair at my desk – brainstorming what I’m interested in and what I’m thinking about – and then just whatever is going on in my life at the time. Comedy can come from anywhere I think.

How do you remain unique with so many performers on the Fringe and what makes you stand out?
Hopefully this bloody surprise I keep banging on about. I like to have a few set pieces and try to create something a bit different – some “high-concept audience befuddling” is what The Times called it.


What preparations did you have in place for the lead up to the Fringe?
I’ve bought some Berocca.

What’s the best and worst audience reaction that you have experienced whilst performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, and how do you deal with hecklers?
I think any gig where you feel like the audience really enjoy the whole hour is incredible – it’s a long time for people to listen. When I did my debut show though, I got a tweet from a musician I really like, Jim Moray, about a joke in my show – I hadn’t realised he’d been in the crowd, and it made my day.

In one show two people fell asleep, at opposite sides of the room.

What’s the best/funniest/most interesting thing a reviewer has ever said about your Fringe performances?
I find this funny – “…his resonant Yorkshire vocals have little need of a microphone in this setting. Many will love Smith’s intensity and unstinting energy, though a few eardrums may take a battering.” ★★★★ The Skinny

What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
There are so many! People should go and see my good friend, Tom Toal. Also, Tom Parry from Pappy’s is doing his debut. The Pin, Johnny Pelham, Phil Jerrod, Tim Key’s work-in-progress, Adam Riches – to name a few!

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