2015 Edinburgh Fringe

Richard Gadd answers 10 Edinburgh Fringe Questions

Richard Gadd

Richard Gadd thinks very carefully about his ideal comedy line-up, and shares some great tips for flyering with a difference.

1. Tell us about your career so far. Are you happy with where you're at?

What a loaded question. I started my career in comedy about five years ago. I believe I was twenty when I did my first gig back in 2010. I have had roughly sixteen laughs since then, which averages a little over three a year. So yes, I am happy with where I am at right now, especially considering Russell Kane averages four a year and he has been going much longer than I have...

2. Describe your show in exactly 23 words.

The antithesis of what you would see on Live At The Apollo. (Only twelve words but I am now on twenty-three after this.)

3. Why are you putting yourself through this famously stressful experience?

Because nobody gets anywhere from avoiding stressful experiences. It is stressful because you are literally putting yourself out there for a month and saying, "here is what I do - take me or leave me." That is risk-taking in itself and that breeds the stress. But taking risks and learning from success/failure is what helps you grow as a person and a performer. This is my seventh Fringe in a row. I find it gets even more stressful year after year, but then I step back and look at the various career advances I have made in spite of the stress and realise that it is all worth it in the long run. Edinburgh is a system that works. It tests performers and ultimately shapes them and makes them better as a result. There is no stress without risk and there is no reward without risk. That is why I put myself through it.

4. Any cunning plans to get more punters in?

"Anti-flyering." This is a term I have coined that seems to have worked in recent years. So many people walk around Edinburgh hotspots and get handed flyer after flyer hearing slogans like "five star show" and "one to watch" and "must see" and "Guardian top ten" that those words eventually become toxic in the eyes of your average punter so I try and flyer differently. "Two star show anyone?!" or "Something to put in the bin sir?" Another technique is to stand by a bin and throw your flyers in in one by one shouting "I WILL SAVE YOU THE HASSLE!" It gets them laughing and the second you get them laughing, the more inclined they are to come to your show. Dammit! I might have given my best trick away here...

5. How much money do you think you'll lose/make this year?

Far less than those forking out inordinate sums to perform in places like the Pleasance and the Underbelly and the other "paid" venues. Cutting out all those excessive expenses and doing the Free Fringe means you spend all your money on things that directly make your show better; props and editors and lights and all that stuff. Your outgoings are much less, therefore your losses are much less. It is hard to make money during Edinburgh, but not impossible thanks to the Free Fringe. That being said, the official Fringe guide is an unwarranted fortune at four-hundred or so pounds, then poster and flyers and travel on top and you are looking at near £1,000. So I reckon I will make a small loss this year, but nothing drastic.

6. What's your weirdest past Fringe experience?

I did a show last year during Breaking Gadd where I had a stag-do-esk crowd in. They were so loud and rambunctious that the show was completely derailed from the off and they saw this bar of soap I used as a prop and started chanting, "Eat it! Eat it!" and so I did it, just to appease them (a bad idea in itself). It burned acidic hot the second it went in. I had to stop the show to get a glass of water because my throat felt like it was closing-in and when I spat into a napkin, I saw blood. I went to the hospital the next day and they counted eighteen mouth ulcers. They then gave me this soothing cream which was so painful when I put it on that I swear it was giving me ulcers on top of my ulcers. It was brutal.

Richard Gadd

7. What other shows are you hoping to see?

Non-comedy related stuff. You know, as an escape. I like spoken word stuff which is becoming very big in at the Fringe now, so I reckon I will go and see that. Jim Higo if he is doing a show. Other than that, plenty of other stuff on the Free Fringe.

8. If you took over programming a venue, what would you perfect line-up of comedians be?

I would not be on the bill for starts. It all depends. My ideal line-up probably wouldn't be the best line-up for the opening night of a venue because most of my favourite comedians are so out there that none of the punters would ever come back. So I will do both...

My ideal...
Compere: David Hoyle
Opener: John Kearns
Middle: Sam Simmons
Headliner: Kim Noble

For paying audience...
Compere: Justin Moorhouse
Opener: Adam Hess
Middle: Mark Nelson
Headliner: Dave Fulton

I fancy myself as a business man, after all...

9. Name the one person you'd rather not bump into during the festival.

An ex turning up to a show that bombs. Or that reviewer that has just panned you passing you in the street. Or that smug comedian who thinks he is better than you because his face is on a billboard around town. Or any comedian for that matter. Or any friend who comes up thinking Edinburgh is a piss-about and moans at you when you have to get an early night because they do not realise it is a working month. Or my estranged father. Or Mick Hucknall. Or my long lost brother Jeeves. The list is endless. God, I hate the Fringe sometimes...

10. Why should audiences pick your show over the 1,700+ other comedy offerings at this year's festival?

I have a jacket made entirely of Christmas lights. Put that in your Pleasance Courtyard and smoke it!

'Richard Gadd: Waiting for Gaddot' is at 11:30pm at The Banshee Labyrinth on 8-16, 18-30 August. Listing

Published: Tuesday 4th August 2015

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