Edinburgh Fringe

Bilal Zafar is forward to meeting some of his Twitch audience in Edinburgh

Bilal Zafar. Copyright: Leslie Byron Pitt

As seen/heard on his very successful Twitch channel, Bilal Zafar is set to return to the Edinburgh Festival...

Tell us about your show...

My show is about a year I spent working in a big fancy care home for the elderly who were very wealthy, as I was paid £6.50 an hour. The title of the show is Care for obvious reasons, and because I just think one word titles look cool.

What are you looking forward to most about coming back to the Fringe?

Lockdown strangely went very well for me as famous author and twitch streamer 'Limmy' Limond encouraged me to get on Twitch and I was able to build a whole new audience there. I'm looking forward to meeting some of my Twitch audience!

Lockdown also made me realise how much I love doing stand-up to an audience. I hope I can have plenty of people come and enjoy the show. Performing at the Edinburgh Fringe has been some of the best fun I've ever had.

What other shows - including any non comedy ones - are you most looking forward to seeing?

I always enjoy the shows of John Robertson and Trevor Lock because they are heavily improvised and audience dependent, so always different but always excellent.

I'm looking forward to seeing Sooz Kempner's show, as well as some very funny friends I've made over lockdown through Twitch, such as; Marjolein Robertson, Rosco Mcclelland, Amelia Bayler and Chris MacArthur-Boyd.

I also want to take a chance on a lot of random free shows and try to see things I wouldn't usually watch, like theatre and magic.

Bilal Zafar. Copyright: Leslie Byron Pitt

What was the moment that you knew comedy was for you?

In media studies A Level when I was 17, we had to make a short film. Mine was a ridiculous comedy that I wrote and starred in about being a detective. I worked much harder on it than anything else, loved the process and was very proud of the end product. It was the first time I had some sort of idea of what I would like to do with my life. Although I had no idea I would have it in me to do stand-up.

What does there need to be more of in comedy/at the Fringe?

Opportunity. The Edinburgh Fringe is excellent, but the increasing cost for performers taking part every year means that we'll lose more and more working class voices (which are also the funniest voices!).

In terms of comedy, the world of live streaming has taken off and comedy doesn't seem to have to quite got there yet (apart from a few companies). Investment into streaming would bring about some incredible comedy and more opportunities for comedians that might not fit into modern TV and radio comedy.

What does there need to be less of/at the Fringe?

Edinburgh should have less hills. The ground everywhere should always be completely flat.

What's the joke or quote that you live by?

I just finished reading Bob Odenkirk's memoir; Comedy Comedy, Comedy, Drama and he talks a lot about failure being key to success. It sounds obvious, maybe a bit cheesy. But I've had big highs and lows in my career and keeping this in mind can keep me grounded, focussed and hopefully not bitter.

Bilal Zafar - Care is at Underbelly, Bristo Square at 5:30pm from 3 to 29 August (not 15). EdFringe.com

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