Comedy blog

Edinburgh Fringe interview: Harry Deansway

Harry Deansway Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Harry Deansway is a man who has had his fingers in many pies (meteorically at least, possibly literally).

He runs an online comedy channel called, he published and edited the comedy magazine The Fix, he runs the lovely and appropriately named Shambles club in Tufnell Park and has written for the likes of The Guardian and the Huffington Post.  But now he’s stepping out in front of the curtain for his first Edinburgh show “Wrong Way”…

_ _ _ 

On a scale of cardboard to Christmas, how excited are you for the Fringe this year?

I’m excited, but then I was excited the first year I went up and ended up sleeping rough for three days and being chased down the Royal Mile by Scottish Tramps because I wouldn’t help one of them who had been “stung by a wasp”. Which reminds me I haven’t booked my accommodation yet.

What’s your show about (in a maximum of two sentences and without using the following words/terms: unique, defiant, sassy, action-packed, thrill-a-minute, crazy, random, middle-class hip hop or easy to adapt for a Radio 4 show)?

I would describe my show as a unique, defiant, sassy, action packed, thrill a minute, crazy, random explosion of middle-class hip hop that would be very easy to adapt for Radio 4.

Who should come see it? And who do you want to come see it?

Not the audience who came to my residency Shambles last week. Man in the front row one minute into my opening leans into his friend and says “is it always this bad?” I asked him if he could do any better to which he replied yes. I got him up on stage where he proceeded to tell his best two racist jokes to stunned silence. There was a table of five female Irish teachers who according to my girlfriend kept asking each other about me “Why does he keep bringing the mood down he’s supposed to be bringing it up he’s the compère”.  Finally, a table of three blokes, I wasn’t sure what they were thinking. I got home to see one of them tweet that “host @deansbomb was an embarrassment tonight.”  I literally don’t think there can be any worse audience members out there so as long as none of them come I’ll be happy.

What is the full range of emotions an audience member can expect from your show?

I like to make it very awkward and then puncture that awkwardness with a laugh, it’s the opposite of the traditional method which is to build laughter to a big climax. When it works I would say it’s a really exciting original way to do comedy when it doesn’t I am a man on stage having a nervous breakdown making everyone feel very awkward. So I’m hoping people will go through a whole range of emotions but end feeling either positive or negative, anything but indifferent.

How long did it take to come up with the show’s name? And what did you reject?

It’s always hard to name something when it’s not finished. I mean you don’t name a baby till it’s born. Am I right or am I right? Names I toyed with “Poacher Turned Gamekeeper” in reference to that I have gone from behind the scenes (former comedy journalist, promoter and director) to in front of the scenes. I also liked the idea of “An Hour of Racism” just to see what sort of audience you’d get with that title. Based on my earlier Shambles anecdote really pleased I didn’t go with that. For the record I would just like to say I am not racist.

Do you have a favourite Fringe memory (not necessarily your own or about the Edinburgh in Scotland)?

My favourite memory of the Fringe was when I found the pub that the National Front drink in. Oh god I am a racist.

What else are you looking forward to in Edinburgh this year? We recommend the Piemaker, The Baked Potato Shop and a pleasant stroll.

I’m really looking forward to looking over people’s shoulders when talking to them to see if anyone more important is coming along. I don’t really do that in London but I really get into it in Edinburgh. Asking the question how is your show going 100+ times and the street performers on the Royal Mile.

Here’s a space to write anything you want about any subject. Go for it:

Here’s an answer to that question I made earlier…

Harry Deansway: Wrong Way
July 31 – Aug 26, 6pm
Pleasance Courtyard
£6 – £9

• To get two free tickets to Harry’s show, simply find a Wrong Way flyerer in the Pleasance Courtyard between 4 and 5.30 and say “right way”. Offer only available Monday to Thursday. No show on the 13th. Check @deansbomb on Twitter for details

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