Comedy blog

Edinburgh Fringe 2014 interview: Ben Target

ben target edinburgh fringe 2014

After winning a lot of acclaim and a Best Newcomer nomination for his magnificent 2012 show, Ben made the wise decision to take a year off from Edinburgh and develop a show as unique and imaginative as that glorious debut.

We don’t know what to expect. This is probably for the best.

Hallo Ben. How are you today?

Sweaty and flustered. I’ve just eaten a Twix in the heat of summer.

Your last Edinburgh show in 2012 was one of the greatest shows I’ve seen at the Fringe, and helped you to a Best Newcomer nomination. How did you feel about coming back this year?

75% incompetent
18% nauseous as a result
12% gleeful as a counter reaction
100% delighted you enjoyed the first show so much

You’ve been known to mix props, jokes, audience interaction, playfulness and paint. What can we expect for Hooray for Ben Target?

This year’s show is called “Hooray for Ben Target” and my hopes are for it to be a daily celebration of play, a dialogue between the audience and myself. The last show was carefully structured, fun to perform and physically intensive too. This time around I have given myself permission to experiment and build a show throughout the festival from what the audience and I find together. Hopefully I will honour the process, finding joy in spontaneity rather than focusing solely on what the end result might be.

I’m very excited and very curious to be tipping on its head this idea that a performer must be a slave to their work and that it is sacrilegious to not present a polished gem. I certainly felt buried under a heap of unhappy when I previously consigned myself to that mindset, and I feel I’m risking audiences’ perceptions of my capabilities by searching for another way to entertain them. It could take a while but I’m hugely enjoying it so far.

Why did you choose to do a free show this year?


Your only Fringe appearance last year was a special fleeting appearance at ACMS. Was that fun?

Yes! And I’m indebted to the patience of co-hosts John Luke Roberts and Thom Tuck for booking me to play every night of the Fringe despite my inability to do so due to a 24 day bus delay. The unflinching friendship in the face of humiliation of Dec Munro and Mark Dean Quinn should not go unnoticed as they decided to stand in for me on those occasions.

What else are you looking forward to in Edinburgh this year?

In no particular order:
Naked Rock, Paper, Scissors with compadre Matthew Highton at ACMS.
Hanging with the Don’t Be Lonely crew (but only if they let me, actually, even if they don’t I’ll just follow them around leeching off their sumptuous aura).
Spitting fire at people’s faces at the late night ensemble extravaganza: The Circus.
Sauna time with Adam Riches in his bestial new show.
Getting ink done.
Being delighted by Chris Boyd and Kieran Hodgson’s show.
Yelling at children when performing for them at Comedy Club 4 Kids.
Racing shopping trolleys with Mr Eric Meat.
Climbing Club with Josie Long.
High Fiving.
Growing and eating my own Cress Head.
Growing a beard.

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

When I was 8 and 3/4s my parents lived on a farm with two cats, whom they named Stanley and Oliver, after the silent era comedians Laurel and Hardy. Ollie drowned in a canal alongside a Yorkshire Terrier during their battle over a freshly slain duckling. Stan passed away the same week from a cancerous tumour which resided in his ear.

On what turned out to be his final day, the neighbourhood veterinary surgeon who operated on him, decided to leave his lifeless form wrapped in a white towel on our doorstep (he thought we were out at the time and apparently depositing dead animals on someone’s threshold was common practice for vets in the 1990s). My Mother screamed upon opening the door, as a gust of wind blew the flanneled veil open to reveal the rigid frame of the pitiful creature. She still claims to have witnessed in that very moment a feline ghost wafting down the garden path. I learnt a new adjective: bereft.

Ben Target: Hooray for Ben Target
Banshee Labyrinth

Aug 2-24, 2pm

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