CB: What is your show about?
PN: 20 is a celebration of my 20 years of solo hour comedy shows on the fringe. I will be putting together a fast paced, silly and rip-snortling funny hour of my favourite bits from all those shows. And that’s a lot of funny! There will be stand-up, sick poems, stupid characters and ridiculous songs. Expect a really good laugh!
CB: Why did you want to write this show?
PN: As this is a collection of bits and bobs from other shows, it has come together out of years of collaboration and experimenting with ideas and styles. I like trying to be funny in new ways and not get stuck stylistically. I think eclecticism in comedy means the audience is surprised and amused as much by the format style as the content. Working with others has allowed me to explore different ways of putting shows together. This show will show the variety of the performance styles and formulas that are possible performed by a half-assed clown who doesn’t really take any of it seriously.
CB: What comedians and comedy writers have impacted the way you develop your show structures and material?
PN: I was influenced heavily by my mother who was a fount of laughter and fun. She was always making jokes and made life ridiculous fun. I learned a lot about writing stand-up and story-telling from Phil Kay, Dave Gorman and Owen O’Neill. Dave taught me that when writing true stories it was best to leave the ‘jokey jokes’ out in favour of honest laughs because once the audience leaves the real world for the world of ‘jokes’ then you lose them as far as what they will believe of the story. Owen showed me that theatricality can meld with stand-up and that pathos is an effective device to wring tears of laughter out of the audience. The Scottish comedian Phil Kay showed me that wild abandon at it’s best is the funniest source of entertainment as it allows the audience to be in touch with their deepest joy and childish sense of play.
CB: What is your advice for new comedians and writers who want to write their first show?
PN: Never give up, enjoy every moment and always see the funny side of life. Go to Edinburgh with an open mind and more importantly a slightly open ended show that you continue to work on throughout the festival and beyond. Don’t get caught up in the awards and rewards of Edinburgh but see it as a month at the best comedy school in the world. Go and see lots of comedy and have a brilliant laugh with your new friends!
Phil Nichol will perform his new show Twenty at the Edinburgh Festival. Tickets