Comedy blog

Alexander Bennett: Edinburgh Fringe 2016 interview

alexander bennett

Alexander Bennett is a busy man at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with two shows: a solo effort at Cowgatehead and the almightily bad taste Hell To Play – a gameshow set in hell.

Hello. How are you today?

Hallo there. I’m ok, actually managed to write something today which is useful.

Are you ready for another month of Edinburgh Fringe action?

‘Ready’ is a broad term, but I’m working bloody hard and like what I’ve got so far. My main worry is that I have no ‘down time’ between now and the second week of September, so I may pop a brain-gasket.

At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?

My solo show blurb promises an egotist shouting at an audience and begging for their love. The Hell To Play blurb promises a bad-taste game show. So, pretty close this year as it goes. Writing blurbs is a nightmare for comedians. We’re being judged on the basis of our cod-PR speak. No wonder people pay thousands to have other people do it for them, if only to remove the cringe factor of selling yourself in print.

What are your tips for getting people to see your show?

It’s always tricky competing with the hundreds of other shows, I’ve not yet cracked it fully. I think a good poster image goes a very long way (chuffed with mine for the solo show this year) but in my experience the thing that really gets people in the door is a one-sentence-pitch concept show that’s a bit original. Hell To Play has this quality going for it (‘bad-taste comedy game show set in hell’, that short sentence fully explains to any punter what the show is), and that was the main thing that got audiences in last year (we did well for numbers!)

Who are you sharing a flat with this festival and how will you help each other survive the month?

I live with a delightful couple in Edinburgh, Helen and Tony, who are not comedians. They help me survive by not caring one iota about my bullshit (and generally being great people).

Any shows you’re particularly excited about seeing?

A few. Any of the Weirdos are a good bet, but I’m looking forward to the shows from Ellis & Rose, Richard Todd, John-Luke Roberts and Lazy Susan. But if I’m really honest, the show I’m most looking forward to seeing is the truly brilliant thing I have no idea even exists at this point – that’s the magic of the Fringe

Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?

Escaping the madness that is English politics at the moment, and living in the socialist oasis that is Scotland for a month. Then, when they’re least expecting it, I’ll be back in London to stage a brutal coup for the Labour leadership (see picture)

What’s your topping at The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street?

Chicken Tikka [The shop is actually vegetarian, so Alexander will be disappointed! -Ed]

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

I’d just like to plug ACMS then. ACMS is a truly great gig, particularly in Edinburgh, and I think The Stand are letting it run on for ages late at night this year in Stand 3. So go to that.

Hell to Play
Liquid Rooms
6-28 Aug, 10.20pm

Your Beloved Alexander Bennett
6-14, 16-27 Aug, 7.30pm

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