Mark Stephenson is an essential member of the Weirdos comedy collective, where his downbeat, subtle style contrasts with some of his more excitable peers. He’s also a remarkable stand-up too, with his previous Edinburgh Fringe efforts managing to be touching, poignant and deeply, darkly funny. This year’s shows inspiration is Amsterdam.
How are you today?
Better than yesterday, not as good as tomorrow
Are you ready for another month of Edinburgh Fringe Action?
Of course. I’ve spent the previous two years flyering; I’ve flyered car washes, nationalist rallies and acid house nights, so I’m really ready. I’ve also spent the last two years speaking at those nights with varying results. No one can say I’ve not put the hard graft in.
At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?
It resembles it in as much as my blurb tells people it’s not about a stag do. I picked the title Amsterdam because I was reading the Ian McEwan novel Amsterdam at that exact time. That book is about Amsterdam mine isn’t in the slightest but I decided I liked the word a lot. It has a sense of finality about it, which I enjoyed. It’s really in the actual sound of the syllables, said separately and slow, that I feel you can understand my show. If you don’t absolutely understand this premise, please don’t come to my show. I’ve not got time for time wasters. AM STER DAM. Again and again.
What are your tips for getting people to see your show?
Make them feel stupid with obscure cerebral tasks before turning up. You know the type? Oh I get it! AM STER DAM! I’ll deffo go. Also I leave a chocolate raisin on every seat. If they like me, I like them!
Is there anyone in particular you’d like to see in your audience?
Ian Bell. I know he’s batting at number three for England but I think we’d get on so he’d think it was worthwhile. He’s always faced the criticism of scoring runs while the goings good, and never really being able to dig in. But people forget the 2013 Ashes series, and when I absolutely smashed the Udderbelly on Codeine with bed bug bites all over my body. What do we have to do before people will admit we’re truly great? I think the British public like someone who’s uncomplicated and will admit they’re trying, which is why they’re much fonder of Paul Collingwood and John Bishop. I think Ian would agree. I hope so!
Who are you sharing a flat with this festival and how will you help each other survive the month?
I’m staying in a flat with Gareth Morinan, Beth Vyse, Joz Norris and Ali Brice. We’re absolutely the best friends each other could have! We each complement each other so well that we could never fall out or ever feel sad! I’m also completely emotionally secure so I’m really not worried about myself and don’t care enough about those lot to actually care how they are x
Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?
They call their Co Operative Food Stores Scottish Midland! I like throwing dog shit at the windows and laughing about the difference!
What’s your topping at The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street?
Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.
I talk about WH Smiths in my show but my favourite stationers is easily Paperchase – especially the one in Tottenham Court Road, where I once saw Jarvis Cocker. If you follow an alternative line to the monarchy the CEO of Paperchase is the King of England now that’s an empire that stand the test of time! Read his Wikipedia page.
Mark Stephenson: Amsterdam
8-30 August, 2.20pm