Welcome to this years dose of all things Edinburgh Fringe! Last year we delved into the world of all genres of comedy performing at Fringe however this year we are going to take it back to basics. This year we are going to take a look at some of the best stand up shows happening at the Edinburgh Fringe and what ones you should spend your good money on to get a loads of laughter in your time there.
We sat down with Comedian Katy Schutte to discuss her up and coming show at the Fringe – Schutte the Unromantic.
Location: Counting House Loft
Date: 3rd-14th August
Hello Katy! Tell us about your Edinburgh Fringe show!
My show is a storytelling, stand-up comedy show about how unromantic I am. What other people imagine are thoughtful surprises and gifts, I find horrifying. This show is about looking for love when you’re someone who hates chocolates, flowers and serenades.
How long have you been doing stand up comedy and how did you get into doing it?
I started in 2005, but stopped again in 2008 as I got totally addicted to improvised comedy. I’d always been a writer and I think it just took me until I was 25 to get the nerve to try it. I set up a gig in Brighton called Rabbit in the Headlights which was the only new act night back then. I headlined a bit, was a Funny Women finalist and got paid gigs, but I just didn’t find my voice. This year I’ve just written an hour from scratch with no ten minute try-outs for safety…
You have done many Fringe Festivals before including being part of Happily Never After, Nightmare Live and Who Ya Gonna Call? – what are some of your highlights and reasons you enjoy preforming at the Fringe?
I love the Fringe. I fell in love with it in 1999 when I was up there doing a student production. My highlights were always watching Baby Wants Candy which I still think is the funniest and most amazing show! They really inspired me to improvise musicals (though it took me a while to find my way there). Who Ya Gonna Call was also a highlight. Doing a silly show just for fun and having standing room only nearly every day was wild. I was also performing with two very close friends and that was delightful. Other highlights include guesting in Baby Wants Candy, performing in Knightmare Live after watching (and loving) it years before and being part of the burlesque crowd with Voodoo Vaudeville early on.
Do you prefer doing a fringe show as a stand up comedian or as part of an improv group / theatre group – why?
It’s pretty hard doing a solo show I think as you’re left with your own self-doubt and neuroses. I did one a few years ago that was a difficult slog. This one I’m much happier with already. Having a team means that you can commiserate or celebrate together and that’s really lovely. I’m happily playing with Knightmare Live and the Maydays this year as well as in my solo show.
In London you coach many improv groups and teach many lessons in the area of Long Form improv – why do you think there has been such a surge in the last few years of people wanting to take part in the comedy form?
Great question. There certainly was little if no long form in London back in 2005 when I trained at Second City Chicago for the first time. The things that did exist (like Fluxx) were more theatrical and narrative. Perhaps we followed the trend of Hollywood. We hear more and more that the mechanics of things like Parks and Recreation, Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters etc involve a lot of improvisation and it’s something required a lot more in the acting world. The other part is that we’re seeking a little more enlightenment in the current chaos of our world, so being present, listening and having one another’s backs is increasingly important.
What other comedians and improv acts do you find inspiring and why?
The philosophy of Second City, iO and Annoyance Chicago are continuing inspiration for me and I am lucky enough to have trained and performed there a lot. Currently I’m loving Mike Birbiglia, Louis CK & Pamela Adlon particularly. Bill Bailey has been my favourite for ever – he did an incredible gig in Iceland last year that blew me away! In improv I love TJ and Dave (Chicago) and Dasariski (LA) the best.
You’re releasing a book later this year – anything you can tell us about it?
It’s called The Improviser’s Way and it’s a 12-week course in improv. You can do it with a team or on your own. It’s quite self-helpy as it deals with difficult gigs, jealousy, building community and looking after yourself too.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe perform live and why?
Gosh – I have only just started writing my list. This year will probably be one where I find the time to see friends and a few choice other things. I’m excited to see Maria Peters, Pernilla Holland and Rhiannon Vivian particularly.
Finally, in three words – why should people see you at the fringe?
Laugh, cry, love. (Man, I’m such a hippy)