Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022

Funny At The Fringe – INTERVIEW – MATES: The Improvised 90s Sitcom

It is festival season and that means that in the next month there is so many great comedy festivals to look forward to! This month we are looking at some of the great shows that you can see at the Edinburgh Fringe. So take note because we are going to give you all the information you need for just a handful of some of the great shows happening this year!

MATES: The Improvised 90s Sitcom

Location:  theSpace @ Surgeons Hall – Grand Theatre (Venue 53)

Dates: Aug 5th-15th, 17th-20th

Time: Times Vary

Price: £10 / Concessions £8

Ticket Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/mates-the-improvised-90s-sitcom

Hello! Tell us about yourself? 

Hi there, I’m Hugh. I am the tallest third of MATES: The Improvised ‘90s Sitcom, which is a hilarious homage to TV classics such as Frasier, Seinfeld and Friends.

How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the fringe?

We’re a group of friends doing a show about being great friends based on sitcoms in the ‘90s, one of which was called Friends, so obviously we called it Mates.

Tell us all about your show!

Mates is exactly what you expect it’s going to be! It’s a double bill episode of a sitcom in front of a live studio audience, the only difference is we don’t have a script. The characters, plot lines and dialogue is all made up from an episode title we get from the audience at the start of the show; “The one with the [something]….”. I’ve been a part of loads of narrative improv shows in my time and this one is a magical balance of all the gags and games you’d expect from an improv barnstormer, along with some surprisingly heart wrenching ‘Ross and Rachel’ moments. It’s a joy.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?

I saw Ania Magliano’s work in progress show at Leicester Comedy Festival, absolutely looking to check in with that again. I’ve just googled to see that Tom Webb’s MegaGames doesn’t exist any more so gutted that I can’t see that. Other than that I’ll definitely make time for ACMS!

Have you done the fringe before? What are the key pieces of advice you have been given or would give to new groups or people performing at the fringe?

I was last at the fringe in 2013 as a nascent troupe leader of The Shrimps, the University of Sheffield improv society, performing Shrimpwrecked the “shlongform” show about a shipwrecked captain. Here are my key takeaways from that experience:

  • For the love of God – sleep.
  • For the love of God – don’t exist solely off 99p haggis pies.
  • No matter how well a giant shrimp costume is made, you will look like a giant, walking vulva and you will never live it down.

What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?

Our sell-out Cambridge show in April was a tour de force. The room was crammed and buzzing, we we’re actually worried we were gonna lose them to their own mad yelling, but we wrangled them round and rode the wave all the way home. Plus we were really funny the whole time.

Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?

I was playing a German rollerblader called Hans and I was picking up my ‘Gefeilenschnizen’ from my ex-girlfriend(played by Rachel) and her new boyfriend’s (played by Alex) apartment. I was miming stuffing things into my jacket while talking to Rachel and at some point we both realised I must have put fifteen of these things into various pockets without stopping. Rachel asked “How are you fitting all of those into your jacket?” and I replied, through breakup tears “It’s a German jacket, it’s very efficient!”

What three items are essential for a successful Fringe? 

  1. Self control. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you drink 5 pints on night one you’re going to have a bad time.
  2. Coffee. Have a little luxury to come home to, or in my case wake up to.
  3. It’s dangerous to go alone, take good Mates.

What have been some of the most unique and different comedy shows you have seen this year and why?

Again, from back in 2019, I saw John Luke Roberts. Impossible to explain, but when a man comes on stage with a dyed green moustache with a daisy poking out of it you know you’re in for a good time. Sian Dockesy is another one I’m hoping to see again. An octopus costume and pole dancing are both involved. How could that not be a good time?

It’s been a quiet couple of years for me seeing live comedy (shocker) so I’m going to plug some shows I saw in 2019 or earlier: Shelf. Oh my goodness, if you ever have the chance to see this musical sketch duo then do it. Drop everything and do it. I can’t remember laughing so hard at a live show ever. Another one I’d recommend is Rosie Jones. She’s blown up, and rightly so, she delivers perfectly crafted stand-up. Absolute showcase. Obviously I am going say an improv show, I saw Lloydie and Liam Webber perform their twoprov Clones in the upstairs bar of Cherry Red’s in Birmingham years ago, honestly unforgettable chemistry.

What is the best way to enjoy yourself at the fringe?

Sleep! Sleep sleep sleep. I have this picture of me having a Bad Time flyering because I’d partied all through the first week. Absolutely do some partying. But leave early and get your beauty sleep. You’ll thank me later.

The best thing about performing at the fringe?

Simultaneously the best and worst thing is that there is nowhere to hide. Your show has to be good at the Edinburgh fringe, punters will not give you the benefit of the doubt. This obviously isn’t fun if you’re still rounding off the edges, but rest assured you’ll be fantastic by the end of your run. 

The most challenging thing about performing at the fringe?

The shaky venues. Lack of tech, noise bleed, difficult to find. It just adds a layer of stuff to deal with when you should be focussing on the show. 

What’s the secret to successful flyering? 

Eye contact.

Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?

Me. I laugh very loud.

If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

We are @matesimprov on all the social media except TikTok, we’re too old.

And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show? 

We’re your Mates!

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