Mark Nelson: A 2015 EdFringe Interview

11 Aug

By Susan Ford

Mark Nelson is a very familiar name to anyone who follows the Scottish comedy circuit, and this year he brings his 5th solo show ‘Older Than Jesus’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As Mark embarks on another crazy August, I caught up with him to discuss his own show, and why he is supporting Scottish comedians at this year’s Festival.
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Hello Mark, how are you?
I’m very well thanks. Writing this 5 hours before my first show and not panicking as much as I expected.

Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
Yeah I kind of am. I still don’t know whether I like the Fringe or not. The good parts of it are amazing. The bad parts are horrific. Dunno who is winning yet.

How many years have you performed at the Fringe, and what does the Festival mean to you?
This will be my 5th solo show at the Fringe. To me it is actually quite an honour to have the biggest arts festival in the world in my country. I don’t think enough Scottish people appreciate how big a deal that is.

Tell us about your new show for 2015.
My show this year is about me now being older than Jesus Christ when he died and how much I hate the youth of today.

How does performing at the Edinburgh Festival differ to your gigs outside August?
They are a completely different beast. When you are doing weekends, no one has a clue who you are but there is a lot less pressure. In Edinburgh people pay to specifically see you which is incredibly humbling.

What are your feelings towards an Edinburgh audience compared to gigs outside of August?
Edinburgh audiences can be cool if they allow themselves to be. The best nights I’ve had at the Fringe have been when the audience just relax and enjoy themselves.

What can we expect from this year’s new show?
It’s definitely my most ambitious show yet but it is still just me dicking around making people laugh for an hour.

What preparations do you have in place for the lead up to the Fringe?
I tend to infuriate my wife with my stress levels and make sure I know exactly which bars will be open the latest.

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?
The best is when you go out and pre-judge a crowd and it turns out a brilliant gig. These normally happen on a random Wednesday half way through. The worst is when you let the pressure get to you too much and you forget that this is a pretty cool thing you do for a living.

As for heckles, you really don’t get them that much in your solo shows. Late night gigs can be a minefield but I enjoy the combative nature of it. I always make sure I am willing to say far worse a thing to them than they could ever say to me.

What’s the best/funniest/most interesting thing a reviewer has ever said about your Fringe performances?
A young reviewer last year commented on how dishevelled I looked and questioned why my wife would stay married to me.

What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
Scottish acts get forgotten about during the Fringe which is a shame because we have some immense talent. So go and check out Elaine Malcolmson, Matt Winning, Richard Gadd, Ray Bradshaw, Davey Connor, Raymond Mearns, Eleanor Morton, Vladimir McTavish, Gary Little and Susie McCabe. Oh and one of my best friends Keir McAllister is doing a play.

Catch Mark Nelson’Older Than Jesus‘ at The Gilded Balloon, 21.15 Aug 11-16, 18-30.

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