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I TALK TO Adam Hess

This August, Adam Hess returns to the Fringe with his third show, Cactus.

In the last year Adam has appeared on television in The Chris Ramsey Show on Comedy Central as well as a spot on Tonight at the Palladium on ITV but this Summer sees him return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his third show in as many years, Cactus.


I recently caught up with him to discuss the show, his chosen venue and (unrelated to this year’s show) ghosts.


This is your third Fringe in as many years. What keeps you coming back year after year?


If I didn't have a Fringe show to write I'd have nothing to do. Having a deadline every year of having to write a decent show means that you have to write new jokes every day.


If I'm not doing new stuff on stage, I get bored, so it's just a reason to not allow myself to take my foot off the gas writing wise.


How long have you been working on this show for?


Before the last one! I finished writing the last one in about April last year so I started the next one after that. As soon as I got back from Edinburgh I started writing the next one. When I toured the last one I was throwing in big chunks of the new 0ne so it's been ready for a while.


And then I was in Australia and New Zealand for about ten weeks trying this one out so hopefully it's well practiced.


What is this year's show all about? 


It's all over the place. I am tweaking it so I'm really worried that it's completely different by the time I get up there.


Basically, I used to obsessively from a really young age, keep diaries. I used to write down everything I did. Not just event, but every thought I had so I used to end up with thousands of pages of stuff.


So I guess the show is about how nostalgia is toxic. Everyone's nostalgic now - "The nineties were great", but we've always got very selective memories and we're bad at remembering what it is that makes life good.


The way we commemorate stuff normally is that we take photos but that is a very superficial thing. We only tend to photograph stuff you think you'd like to remember.


The thing is... if you've seen any of my shows before, it's just jokes! It's just funny stuff. There's always a narrative, but often it's arbitrary. I use very accessible narratives as a washing line to hang off normal stand-up about normal things.


Are you happy to be back at The Hive this year?


It's great. I mean, it stinks of shit but what's weird is that it smells so bad and I've been there for a few years now and I can't smell it anymore. So obviously it's ruined my sense of smell.

I love The Hive. I've been offered other venues this year but I don't want to jinx it by moving and I just like the feel of The Hive to be honest. It feels a bit looser.


I don't like the fact that every time I walk around on stage you can hear the WKD beneath my feet moving around.


How have the previews been going?


Good. The thing I try to do every show is that the joke per minute is as high as linguistically possible, without it just being a list. Last year was more than the first year and this year is more than last year. And last year was really dense, so hopefully that means that this one is better.


But the previews have been going well and what’s nice is that I’ve been doing previews with mates so we can just give each other notes and feedback after the end of each one. I’ve got quite a few left and at the moment the show is 75 minutes long so I need to get rid of maybe twenty minutes. But that’s alright. Instead of getting rid of jokes I just speed up.


What are you most looking forward to about the Fringe this year?


Not feeling guilty about waking up late. Watching my mates’ shows like Mat Ewins and Sean McLoughlin. Last year I think I saw Mat’s show about fifteen times.

This year my show is at 6pm so I’ll get the chance to see stuff during the day which I’ve never done before.


I’m really into dungeons and stuff at the moment so I want to go to the dungeons. I’m into ghosts! I keep hearing about Scottish ghosts and they really interest me. The story about the underground city in Edinburgh is great. My big dream is to do an Edinburgh show which is just a ghost show and my show is in the street and it turns out that I’m dead... or something. I don’t really know. I need to shake it up somehow!


Finally, how would you sum up this year’s show in just five word?


Too many jokes per minute.


Adam Hess: Cactus runs from Friday 4th August to Sunday 27th August at 6pm at Heroes @ The Hive.

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