Comedy blog

Scott Bennett: Edinburgh Fringe 2018 interview

Scott Bennett’s show this year is all about following your dreams when you feel like you have so much to lose.

How are you today?

Barring some indigestion from a foolish late-night cheese session, once the Rennie kicks in, all will be well.

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

It’s pretty close. The show is about what it feels like to follow your dreams when you feel like you have too much to lose. It’s effectively a story about what happened last year when I decided to quit a career to be a professional comic. It’s told in three sections which cover the build up to the decision, how I coped in the months after (spoiler alert: not very well!) and how my life has changed as a result. There are also stories about some brief celebrity encounters, the love a man has for his shed and why playing crazy golf with a seven-year-old is a terrible idea.

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

I am sharing a flat with three girls who I’ve known for a while. It’s going to be wild! One is 39, the other is 7 and the youngest is 2. They live with me outside of festival season too. They’re expensive and I can’t get rid of them; it’s a nightmare. Basically, I’m bringing the family on the road with me again this year. I think they are really excited about being dragged along on daddy’s expensive vanity project. The best thing about having kids at the fringe is you have the perfect excuse to not take a flyer. “Sorry mate, I am really interested in your one-man version of Macbeth in space, but I’m a bit busy holding onto my own future here.”

Having them with me is the only way I’ll survive the fringe. I’ll still have to be dad so it’ll keep the boozing to a minimum, and family picnics and all the amazing kids shows is the perfect antidote to that potentially stress filled fringe bubble.

Any shows you’re excited about seeing?

There are a few of my colleagues putting on shows this year that I will be able to see. Dan Nightingale who hasn’t been to the fringe for a while but is brilliant to watch, Kiri Pritchard Mclean who is always great, and Chris Washington whose star is on the rise. I’ll also be seeing Glenn Wool who is always inspirational, Scott Capurro and Jerry Sadowitz as they do the comedy I admire but would never do myself!

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

Not having to drive to work, that’ll be bliss. Although part of me will miss the ritual of cursing the highways agency after the adventure of yet another late-night diversion. I am also looking forward to my jeans feeling a little looser after the miles I’m going to walk to try drag people into my show!

The Fringe’s tagline this year is ‘Into The Unknown’. What do people not know about you?

I was the champion at the Pontins under 14’s disco dancing competition. I must add that I was also 14 at the time, back at Morecambe Pontins in 1993. The resort has now closed and I believe it may now be a young offenders institution, which after the holidays we had there, seems remarkably apt. This wasn’t my only holiday camp-based achievement. At the age of 18 months I won the Butlins Beautiful Mother and Baby competition, although I can’t take full credit for that. I also only have one testicle which only my wife, my doctor and, due to a perishable lining on my swim shorts, a pensioner at a Runcorn Holiday Inn know about. That will all change after the fringe this year as this story features heavily in the show, unlike the remaining testicle, which is actually quite lightweight.

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

There are many shows to choose from and, whilst I know that mine will be entertaining, funny and revealing for an hour, there are many more shows that will also offer that service. What I would say though is that comedy isn’t like music, especially when it comes down to the type of audience that watches it. When you go see a musician at the end of the song you clap, whether you like it or not, it’s almost Pavlovian. With comedy, it’s different. If an audience doesn’t laugh at a joke, a comedian feels that it’s instant feedback. In my head I can see the shoes being removed from my toddler’s feet, a spoon full of Weetabix being reversed out of a hungry mouth; it’s brutal. The punters at the fringe have the power to prevent this anxiety. Just one hour of your time, at 5.55pm, The Mash House, The Snifter Room at Just the Tonic, will ensure that my children remain happy and healthy. It’s also Pay What You Want, which means you can just put some money into the bucket at the end rather than buy a ticket. What I would say though is that my two-year-old daughter will be holding that bucket in her weak and malnourished hands and, if you calmly walk past her without offering a small contribution, well you ought to be utterly ashamed of yourselves.

Scott Bennett: Leap Year
Just the Tonic at The Mash House
Aug 2-26, 5.55pm

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