Edinburgh, the Fringe, why bother?
Any excuse to be in Edinburgh. I’ve been there in November and even that was ok. On the circuit you are restricted to 20 minutes of stuff and it’s often crowd control. The Fringe is a fabulous opportunity to do an hour-long show every day for almost a month and develop as an artist, as well as consume a lot of McEwan’s 80. Also I was at Edinburgh University for four years and it’s always a joy to come back.
What have been the nuggets of inspiration behind your show this year?
It’s a survivor’s guide to life, featuring a set of ingenious life short-cuts. For example, re-gifting unwanted presents and to banish the tyranny of odd socks, only having one kind of sock in your life. One I did just today was buy a photo frame and leave the generic family picture in the frame, as they look like much nicer people than my actual family.
Stand-out Fringe moment to date?
Spontaneously volunteering to get on stage at a sold-out gig in which a guy was dying a death. I’d barely ever done stand up, but I got on and managed to storm it. I came back the following night and died a death of my own. An early lesson is showbusiness.
When you wished a hole had opened up in the ground and swallowed you up?
Two nights ago. Never go to Swindon.
Your unsung heroes in the industry at current?
Ian Smith and Leo Kearse.
Three shows you must see this Fringe?
Go and see Tim Fitzhigham three times.
The one person you’d love to see your show and why?
Elton John. I’m an insanely massive fan. He’s not a comedian but his showmanship, work ethic, sense of humour and great artistry have been a sustained influence. I just hope I don’t make him cross. It doesn’t take a lot…
The reason why one should come and see your show?
No big promises here, just that the show will make you laugh, change your life and make your hair noticeably shinier.
The one thing in Edinburgh you must do?
The Scottish National Gallery. A great building in the heart of the city. A favourite piece has always been William McTaggart’s “The Storm”. Stirring, wild and dramatic, like Scotland itself.
Ah sorry, you’re dead. But least you can have that dinner party you’ve always wanted. Who are you inviting?
Peter Sellers, John Lennon, Henry VIII, Richard Pryor, Winston Churchill and Lucille Ball.
Mark Dolan – Life Hacks at the Gilded Balloon Sportsman everyday at 8pm