Edinburgh Q&A
Joz Norris.

Joz Norris: 10 Edinburgh Fringe questions

Joz Norris answers 10 questions about his 2016 Edinburgh Fringe show...

Give us a quick overview of your comedy career so far. Are you happy with where you're at?

Hi! I'm Joz Norris and I make things. That's usually comedy shows for festivals which have bits of stand-up and silly stories in them, and bits of daft nonsense and theatrical little imaginings with stupid ingredients. But this year I've been writing more scripted stuff and have made some nice short comedy films you might have seen, one series about me being sad and lonely but keeping on smiling, and another about a failing celebrity double act who try to kill each other, and I'm now working on a sitcom about a dying old man. It's all cheerful stuff.

I'm a member of some groups of great other like-minded daft comedians who do it more because they love creating things than because they want to get anywhere, and hanging out with people with that attitude is great. Those people are Weirdos and Heroes of Fringe and Comedians' Cinema Club and the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society. I'm very happy with where I am this year. I think in the last year I really relaxed into the idea of just making things for a living and not needing to aspire to much more than that, so I'm very excited about this Fringe, it's the first one where all I really want is to have a fun month sharing my ideas with nice people.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (but mix them up, keep us guessing!).

1. I was a backing singer on a Rolf Harris album and we used to tweet one another a lot, but we've understandably stopped that now.

2. The festival Nozstock, which runs in Bromyard in Herefordshire every year and last year was headlined by Wu Tang Clan, is named after me as I helped set it up.

3. And I once sat at the kids' table of a party hosted by Phil Collins and Richard Branson because my babysitter didn't realise she was babysitting the same night as that party, so just took me along to it.

Describe your new show in exactly 23 words.

Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl as boy has been alone for 26 years. Boy's grandfather dies. Boy makes stupid show about feelings.

Any cunning plans to get more punters in?

My cunning plan is to do a really good show every day that I really enjoy, and work really hard trying to persuade people of how good it is. I'm also doing lots of other fun shows with other good people, so that should spread the word a bit wider as well. I think there's always the temptation to come up with clever, radical new ways of selling shows, but the only real way to get people in is to be really good every day and to always be proud and always be nice to people, and work as hard as you can. If you believe in your show, and you show to others that you believe in it, then it'll do just fine.

What's your plan for trying to eat - and drink - healthily during the Fringe?

I've got much better with my eating and drinking over recent years. My big plan is to get as much fruit and veg as I can and to go to Napier's for some kind of herbal remedy whenever I feel like I'm about to get ill. I am doing a lot of shows this year, but I'm going to remember to find time to cook as often as I can. And I'll try to find a nice cheap place that does proper energy juices, with all the vitamins and stuff in, because they're excellent, but not one of those trendy ones that charges about a fiver for a tiny glass, a nice little one run by a nice old man who just wants everyone to look after themselves. I'll be able to find that. And no chips, chips are the worst.

What will you miss most while you're away from home?

I normally listen to music obsessively, I use it to soundtrack literally everything I do while I'm on my own to lend everything more atmosphere, and I use that as an ongoing mission to try and listen to every good album ever. That mission always takes a back seat during the Fringe as I'm always just too busy, so I miss having all the free time to listen to new music. Same goes for reading, there's very little time for it at the Fringe. I guess that means the main thing you miss is free time, and being able to find space in your day to do whatever you want. Every day at the Fringe ends with me wishing I'd found a bit more quiet time in it somewhere.

Aside from performing, what else are you looking forward to doing in Scotland's fine capital?

I've been getting better every year at looking for bits of the actual city of Edinburgh, not things that are trumpeted loudly during the Fringe to bait tourists and Fringe performers and so on, but the nicer, more interesting things that are there all the year round that are worth looking at. I've only just started going to the museums and things this year, so I'd like to find more unusual and interesting little places like that to explore. I also love Princes Street Gardens, it's one of my favourite parks, I love climbing Calton Hill, and I'd like to climb the Crags - I always go up Arthur's Seat instead, but I might try the Crags just to vary things up this year.

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

Bob Slayer's Heroes of Fringe has done a near-perfect job at the Hive, to be honest. Nearly all of my very, very favourite comics are playing there this year - Adam Larter, Ali Brice, Matthew Highton, Marny Godden, Beth Vyse, Ed Aczel, Pat Cahill, Paul Currie, Spencer Jones, Adam Hess, Tim Renkow, Mat Ewins.

I think I'd take that basic lineup, bring in some of my favourite Heroes acts from other venues - Bob himself, Becky Walker, Joe Davies, Michael Brunstrom, Thom Tuck - and add some of my other very favourites drawn in from some other Fringe venues, and those I think would include Holly Burn, Eleanor Morton, Harriet Kemsley, Will Seaward, Eric Lampaert, John-Luke Roberts, Lou Sanders.

That'll do for now, but there's loads more I'd love to fit in if it was a really big venue. And that's only drawing on acts that are actually doing the Fringe this year! In an ideal world I'd have John Kearns and Luke McQueen and Bec Hill and loads more in there too, but it's not an ideal world, so I guess I'll just have to make do with walking between different venues to see my favourite acts like some chump.

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

I think the person I'd least like to bump into during the Fringe would be myself. If I did, I'd stare at him agog and say "It... it can't be!" "Who are you?" He'd say. "I'm Joz Norris!" I'd say. "You can't be Joz Norris! I'M Joz Norris! What are you doing here at the Fringe?" he'd say. "I'm doing a great show at the Hive at 18:40." I'd say. "You can't be doing a show at the Hive at 18:40 - I'M doing a show at the Hive at 18:40!" he'd say. And then we'd stare at each other and not know what to do. I'd hate that, mainly because if I just shook my head and walked away from it there'd be a tiny part of me wondering whether or not I needed to do my show that day, and nobody needs that kind of self-doubt to start creeping in.

Why should audiences pick your show over the 1,800+ other Fringe offerings listed on BCG this year?

Because it's the best one.

Nah, seriously, all the Fringe shows are great. They're all the best one. But this one's very good. It's MY best one. And by now I'm pretty damn good at putting on a heartfelt, silly nonsense show that makes people laugh and feel good about the world. I've really pulled out all the stops this year and made something I'm very proud of. If that sounds like somebody's cup of tea then they should come see it, simple as that.

'Joz Norris: Hello, Goodbye' is at Heroes @ The Hive at 6:40pm until the 28th August. Listing