Random 8

Mel Owen

Mel Owen

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This week that person is Mel Owen, who we happened to catch doing her first ever Edinburgh Fringe set last month, which may well turn up on telly soon. Quick work, that.

First though, the Aberystwythian comic will be trying out another first at her hometown festival, on October the, er, first.

"Chunky Monkey is my first Work In Progress," she explains. "It's very much a snapshot of the dichotomy that is being brown and Welsh. I grew up on a farm, I'm a first-language Welsh speaker and I own no less than five pairs of wellies. But because I'm brown most people treat me like I've just rolled out of Top Boy."

Then again, for a comedian, people who know you well can be awkward too.

"I've been taking the WiP to various spots around the UK - next stop is Aber Comedy Festival which is, hands down, the most nerve wracking one yet because it's my hometown," says Owen. "By now I'm used to my family being in the audience, but looking ex-teachers, second cousins, former crushes in the eye whilst I literally talk about them is, frankly, my worst nightmare. I can't tell what would be worse - nobody coming or everybody coming. I'll find out later this month I suppose."

Or early next month, rather. Now, back to that TV business...

"This summer I headed up to the Fringe, not with a show but to film a documentary for S4C about the festival and what it's like as a first time performer. I was doing mostly mixed line-ups and some opening spots, so the crew got to capture a wide variety of madness.

"Some gigs were at 11am with sleepy audiences of about six people, whilst on the other end of the scale were the 1am gigs with drunken middle-aged men sporadically breaking into football chants that nobody asked for. I can't wait to see what makes the edit. The doc will be out in October and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer (with subtitles if you're not blessed with the heavenly ability to speak Welsh)."

Pob lwc! Mel Owen, your Random 8 await.

What was your favourite TV show, growing up?

Everybody Hates Chris. Watching that was the first time I truly felt what it was like to laugh uncontrollably, where you physically want it to stop because your stomach and your throat feel as though they are going to implode. From then I was obsessed with this niche, not-very-widely-known comedian called Chris Rock who I was convinced only I had heard of. Aged eight, I thought I was to Chris Rock what Brian Epstein was to The Beatles. Still waiting for my cheque.

Mel Owen

Your most interesting injury?

Following a kick by a horse I needed to have my wrist reconstructed which has left me with a visible scar.

On first dates, I enjoy telling the guy that I got the scar in prison, simply because fear in a man's eyes is one of life's greatest sights to me. Niagara Falls is beautiful, sure. But it doesn't hold a candle to the sight of pure panic etched on a man's face as he questions whether I'm hot enough to take the risk of being murdered.

It once backfired on me when the guy's response was 'let me show you my prison scars too'. Was this a red flag? Probably. But he had broad shoulders and a cockapoo so obviously I went out with him a further three times.

Which unsung town deserves more attention?

I feel like Swindon needs a bit of a rebrand. If Wrexham can rebrand itself as some kind of football haven, then lord knows Swindon can try a bit harder.

Ever met a particularly great or awful famous person?

I met Hugh Jackman on the Eurostar at 5am. He was with an actor friend of mine so I used that as an in to go and say hello. During the brief chat he gestured towards the breakfast trolly and told me I should 'try the croissants'...unfortunately what I heard in my early morning haze was 'you should try MY croissant'.

I wasn't going to say no to Wolverine himself, so I promptly leant down and took a chomp out of his croissant that he hadn't actually offered me. As I sunk my teeth into it, I realised my mistake, but it was too late - his croissant was in my mouth and I had to commit.

Considering there was a 20 year-old stealing his breakfast right in front of his face, Hugh was the most wonderful, polite man who didn't even ask me what the hell I was doing. I've never watched Les Mis since.

Your greatest sporting moment?

Myself and my childhood pony Rocky had to be pulled out of a showjumping ring for coming within three inches of running over olympian, Sports Personality of the Year winner and all-over national treasure David Broome.

Rocky - of whom I had no control - opted for charging around the showjumping course at break-neck speed, skimming Sir David who was meant to be stood in the centre of the arena safely giving me a tutorial. When we bought Rocky, the owner mentioned how much he liked chasing sheep - she neglected to mention his penchant for mowing down national treasures.

Which low-key law would you introduce?

I'd make it illegal for all men over 35 to wear baseball caps. Four years behind bars for wearing the baseball cap, death by hanging for wearing it backwards.

The weirdest thing in your wardrobe?

An octopus hat that I was meant to wear at an 'Under The Sea' themed party, but I ended up having a gig so couldn't give the hat the outing it deserved. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next year, but one day someone is going to want me to dress up as an octopus again. And I will be ready.

What's the best thing you ever bought a ticket for?

I booked tickets to take my mum on holiday last year and it was the first time I've been able to gift either of my parents something of that size. I practised my two weeks of Duolingo Spanish ('Dos manzanas por favor') and she rather audibly judged every other British person around the hotel pool. Beautiful.

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