Comedy blog

Edinburgh Fringe 2014 interview: Beth Vyse

Beth Vyse has emerged as one of the country’s most exciting and experimental character comics, culminating in her 2013 Edinburgh Fringe show Going Dark, which stood out as one of the most bonkers Festival encounters we have witnessed.

Her 2014 is show is looking similarly madcap, camp and charismatic, and we couldn’t be more pleased.



Hello Beth. How are you?

I’m OK thanks. Just trying like hell to get this show off its arse. So many ideas, so much filming, no time to learn it, it’s tough being a part time comedian. Plus it’s so sunny and the football’s on.

August is looming. How are you feeling about heading up to Edinburgh?

A little nervous, but excited, it’s the first time I’ve ever done the paid fringe on my own in Edinburgh. I don’t have any producer or PR, it’s just little old me and my ideas. Oh well, fuck it, sometimes in life you need to take a chance.

Your show last year (Going Dark) was probably the most insane hour I experienced last year. Did you enjoy it?

Yes a lot of people said that about “Going Dark!” but I didn’t see that at all, it all made perfect sense to me. I had some great reviews from it, so I think more people bought into it, I think it’s different, unique, and I always try to put on a show. I prefer irreverent and absurd humour, people compared me to The Mighty Boosh, Bottom, Julie Walters and Murder Most Horrid. Each one kinda describes me: absurd, crude, grotesque and camp. So I suppose that’s right. And of course I enjoyed it, you idiot, else I wouldn’t be back up this time.

Can we expect a similar experience with Get Up WIth Hands?

Yep, it is a bit more accessible this time, well the world it’s set in is more accessible and then from that it can go to all sorts of weird. It’s your number two in the morning, daytime show. On a fictitious channel ITV9, the channel is moving online (like so many of them will do soon) and Olive Hands the presenter of “Get Up With Hands” feels she’s been pushed aside for a younger, newer style of show. So she’s decided to risk all her savings on this Edinburgh show and go out in the best over the top tradition she can.

It stars cameo’s from a few favourites on the alternative comedy scene; John Kearns, Ali Brice, Pat Cahill, Gareth Morinan and massive bum (Pat Cahill made it from two exercise balls apparently) it’s ridiculous but very funny. Olive Hands has a son who simply wants love from her, but unfortunately all she wants is fame and will go to any means possible to stay in the public eye. She even made up the story of his conception just to sound more famous, and he’s left believing it. Poor old Jazz Hands.

I love weird comedy, everyone’s weird, it’s just that some of us celebrate it and some of us don’t, but most people are very odd. Actually that’s why I like the concept of Karl Schultz’s IT MIGHT GET UGLY it’s a brilliant night where people just get up let their weirdness, which is the truth, out. (But I don’t think that’s ugly, I think that’s ace!) I’m also big fan of the old school; Les Dawson, Tommy Cooper, Dame Edna, Carry On and Barrymore, lest we forget Barrymore. So I like to feel I bring some of that to my show with a unique Vyse twist.

Last year you performed as dying actress Betsy Lynn. This year you’re TV presenter Olive Hands. What attracts you to these characters?

I adore older, camp, with flashes of fame, women. Growing up in a massive female family in Stoke-On-Trent I was surrounded by nanas, aunties, neighbours, gossips, babies, sisters, cousins, mobile hairdressers, do–it-yourself perm kits, so I guess Olive Hands and Betsy Lynn came from them.

Where does your obsession with Jane MacDonald come from (other than her natural charisma and talent)?

Where does my obsession of Jane McDonald come from? That is the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard. Open your eyes Laugh Out London!

Other than see fantastic shows, what would you recommend to someone visiting Edinburgh in August?

The Pear Tree in Edinburgh, it has no shows on there, which is a nice break from everything. And it sells Blue Moon, I’d never tasted this drink before but it quickly became a favourite and from this day forth it shall be known as: Blue Moon Moon Boom! Two pints on you are on the moon!

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

LES DAWSON I love Les Dawson

Beth Vyse: Get Up With Hands!
Jul 30 – Aug 24, 9.45pm
Pleasance Courtyard

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