This summer we are very lucky to see some of life return to normal and one of the things that is coming back with a bang this year is Camden Fringe! We have spoke to a number of acts that you can go and see on the actual stage, so if you have missed comedy and theatre then this is a great time for you! If you are planning on going to the festival though please pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment. Today we are talking to a comedian making their Fringe debut – Rabiah Coon
Date: 8th -11th, 15th August ( 50% of profits donated to Refuge and the UK MS Society. )
Location: Etcetera Theatre
Hello! Tell us about yourself and the show Nice Try that you are bringing to Camden fringe?
I started in stand-up comedy just over two years ago when I was living in San Diego, California and have enjoyed continuing in London. I love writing and performing at gigs but wanted to tell more of a story than I could in 5 to 10 minutes. Nice Try is autobiographical and the first 30 minutes of what I plan to evolve into a full-length solo show. I also work in IT and am starting a new Marketing role at my company soon and have a podcast called “More Than Work” that I really enjoy producing.
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Camden fringe?
“Nice Try” has a couple of meanings. I don’t succeed at everything I do but never regret that I try. Also, I’ve had a few things thrown my way like everyone has and my response to adversity is “nice try but you’re not taking me down.” The name is a bit of a nod to those things.
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
I have a dry delivery punctuated by the occasional exclamatory statement. My style is mostly storytelling and observational.
What will your set be about?
The “Nice Try” theme runs through the show. Constructing the show’s structure and choosing anecdotes for it has been great fun. It is really personal about about my experiences living in a way that demonstrates a generally wilful ignorance about my own capabilities and living with a chronic illness. It’s more fun than it sounds!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
Since moving to London and then via online gigs throughout the last year, I encountered some really great people. I’m doing some tech for Rebekka Turner’s show and can’t wait. I’ve also got tickets to see Suchandrika Chakrabarti, Harry Wright and Vix Leyton’s Comedy Arcade show. I may get to a few other shows. I saw Augustina Buccella’s play Fragile earlier this year and recommend that too!
Have you done the Fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
I did Brighton Fringe in July and that was my first experience. I am so excited to be part of this in Camden which is my neighborhood. I saw Augustina Buccella’s play Fragile earlier this year and recommend that. It is showing at the same theatre where I’ll be performing. I haven’t seen anything else yet but listen to Vix’s podcast so know that’s going to be a great time.
How has the last year in lockdown been for you?
Lockdown quite a mix of up and down for me. I moved from California just over a month before we went into lockdown so all the plans I had imagined changed. I bought a bicycle and rode 1500 miles last year. I kept doing comedy. I started a podcast. After one long existential crisis that followed hours of volunteering and contacting voters, I enrolled in a graduate credential program at Harvard Kennedy. Public service is important to me (hence the donation of some show profits to charity). I also spent a lot of time just sitting and doing nothing sometimes and fought off bouts of loneliness. I’m proud of people for doing what they could to get through it and grateful for the relationships I built or strengthened during the time.
Have you managed to do many online shows?
Oh gosh, I was all about the online shows! I was lucky to get to do 1-3 a week for much of 2020. I think there was a real benefit to being able to perform and continue writing and testing things. I’m really new to comedy (2 years is nothing!) so it was really beneficial to my growth. The show promoters put in a lot of work to create these experiences. I still do a few even now that things are open.
And now you are returning to the stage!!! How exciting! What are you looking forward to the most?
I’ve done a few shows in person now and I think the instant feedback and sound of laughter in-person is the best. I love the comradery of being in the audience and exchanging a glance with someone when another comic was particularly funny too. Human connection is what I look forward to and laughter is a great way to connect.
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Camden Fringe next year?
Plan for the admin that’s involved in producing your own show. There is a lot involved in promoting one’s own show. Check out some shows this year to get a feel for things. Think hard about how many shows you book. We did five and probably should have done less!
What is the best thing about performing at the Camden fringe?
I live in Camden and love the neighborhood so I’m stoked to get to perform in my own backyard (maybe I should say garden…). The staff of Camden Fringe have been very helpful and I really like interacting with them too.
What are your three favourite things about Camden?
I love my local, Brewdog Camden, and the staff there. I’m there during this interview actually!I love that I can walk half a mile in different directions and be at Regent’s Park or Camden Market or along the canal.I like that the history of the neighborhood is so full of music and art.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
I’m not much of a one liner comic but in thinking about one liners, one I like is, “If you want to annoy an already agitated vegan, ask them “What’s your beef?” My longer form bits are better.
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Honestly, I still miss Robin Williams terribly and I would have loved to make him laugh. I can think of a lot of influences to name like Maron or Handler but I think my dream audience member would be my Uncle Dwight. He passed away over 20 years ago but was so funny and I think he’d be proud of me for doing this now.
The iconic image of the Camden Fringe is the Pigeon – if you could call this years pigeon a name to represent its style what would it be and why?
I want to call him Simon. I had a bad encounter with a Simon who ghosted me last year (I hope he reads this – it was so unnecessary) but have since met a few Simons that redeemed the name. They have been chilled but also are kind of rock starts. That’s what the Pigeon reminds me of.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
I’m at @rabiahcomedy on all social platforms. My podcast is @morethanworkpod.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
I guarantee laughs!