Comedy blog

Edinburgh Fringe interview: Festival of the Spoken Nerd


Festival of the Spoken Nerd comprises three head nerds: ukulele maestro Helen Arney, maths-minded Matt Parker and Steve ‘the experimenter’ Mould.

They’re at the Fringe this year to educated and entertain with a show that puts the ‘fun’ into basic fundamentals of science. It also puts the other letters in their too. Because that’s what it’s teaching you really.

See FOTSN at Assembly George Square.

_ _ _

How are you today?

We’re very well, thanks. And you? So far today, Steve Mould has been practicing his fire tornadoes, Helen Arney has been tuning her ukulele to play songs at the speed of sound, and Matt Parker has been adding up numbers on spreadsheets. Just another ordinary day for Festival of the Spoken Nerd…

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

Steve hasn’t been this excited since they switched on the Large Hadron Collider.

Helen hasn’t been this excited since the BBC News website spelt “Hadron” wrong in the same week.

Matt actually quite likes cardboard.

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)?

Three of the UK’s best (and nerdiest) performers combine forces of science, nature and comedy to create a fringe show for the insatiably sci-curious. We didn’t even need the second sentence!

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

Everyone can enjoy the show, whether they think they’re nerdy or not. Our audience range across the full spectrum of nerdiness, from hardcore programmers who are fluent in binary, to people who just like watching the Big Bang Theory – and everyone in between.

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

Ooh! (a thing is on fire!)

Ooh! (is it supposed to be on fire?)

Ooh! (I wish I’d paid attention at the start, then I’d know where the nearest emergency exits are…)

 Is the show easy to adapt for a Radio 4 show in case it wins the Fosters’ Comedy Award?

With so many awesome experiments and visuals, we think it would better suit a BBC1 primetime light entertainment slot, hint hint…

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

When we came up with “Festival of the Spoken Nerd” we took the rest of the day off. Thinking up “Full Frontal Nerdity” meant that we didn’t work again for a week.

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

The beautiful sunshine every single day of the Fringe. Might be more of a dream than a memory, that one.

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

Helen is looking forward to performing Domestic Science, her DIY lunchtime science party with real-life partner Rob Wells. They’re doing it every day, and the plan is to try and stay together all of August. Steve and Matt wish them luck.

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

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Festival of the Spoken Nerd: Full Frontal Nerdity
Aug 1- 25, 6.10pm
Assembly George Square
£8.50 – £12

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