Following a successful debut, Brennan Reece is returning to the Fringe this August with his second show, Everlong.
It’s no wonder really that Brennan is back so soon with another hour of brand new material, considering that he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards last year with his debut and won critical acclaim with Everglow.
So how does he think his first year at the Fringe went? What’s Everlong all about? And how is he finding that “difficult second album”?
You had your debut year at the Fringe last year. How was that for you?
In the build up it was stressful, because you don’t know what to expect. You just go up hoping that people will enjoy the show, that you can speak for an hour and hopefully be funny. It was so much better than I thought it was going to be, it went really well.
It was full every day, people really enjoyed the show and I got nominated! It was beyond how I expected it to go. It was literally the dream start to an Edinburgh career as it were. Especially if you go up every year.
When did you decide on the title Everlong? And what does it mean?
My last show was called Everglow and basically in January they go “Can you think of a title?”, before you’d even written a show. So I thought to keep some consistency that I would call it Ever something. So I was trying to figure out what I wanted to talk about and I seemed to be talking a lot about generational stuff and time so I thought I’d just call it Everlong.
It’s also named after a Foo Fighters song, but not for any reason. It just sounds like quite a non-descript title which you can write a show around.
What is this year’s show all about?
My Nanna used to look after me when I was younger and then the tables seemed to turn a few years ago when she was diagnosed with Dementia and I had to look after her. So it’s about memories, it’s about generational divide. How they do things. How I do things.
It’s a nice warm-hearted tale of me and my Nanna being best mates.
How have the previews been going?
Totally different to last year. Because last year, with it being my first one you’ve got years of jokes to fall back on. But then you use them all up and you literally have to start again. It’s like learning how to walk.
So with each preview you go “Right, I can crawl in this one.” and then you realise that you can walk and then by the time you reach Edinburgh you can do backflips and you’re running.
Most nights I’d drive somewhere, gig to about twenty people who don’t know who you are. Some people expect a polished show. You then listen to it back on the way home and have a breakdown then in the morning you realise that it’s all fine.
It’s just changing and tweaking it. It’s a fun experience but totally different to last year so hopefully it’ll make me grow into a better comic.
So are you finding this year’s show harder to write?
Yeah, because I think with your first show, and people do it differently, I tried to use the best stories I had in my life. Now I’ve got to top it with an even better story. You’ve really got to dig deep and try and push yourself.
Is there anything you learnt last year at the Fringe that you’ve put into practice this year?
One thing I learnt is that the more fun you have with it, the more audiences will enjoy it. Edinburgh is taken quite seriously, because it’s such a big deal for comics. It costs a lot of money to go but I think the more you relax into it, the more the audience feel comfortable.
That’s something I’ve taken for this year and try and enjoy it as much as possible.
What is about Edinburgh that keeps comedians going back year after year?
It’s so different to doing a normal set where you go on and your job is to be funny. With Edinburgh, you get a chance to express yourself a little bit more. The best comics are there and also it’s great in building an audience. Having that hour to stretch your legs and take people on a bit more of a journey.
Who are you hoping will come and watch the show?
It would be nice if everyone who came last time came and watched. Also, it’s quite broad. Some comedians are brilliant and can do very political things, or some comedians do really whimsical things or alternative stuff. I think it’s a very warm story that’s got a lot of heart so hopefully if you’ve got a soul you’ll want to come along.
It’s quite light-hearted, it’s got moments of joy in it and it’s quite nice for families. It’s not for young kids, but last year a lot of older couples came, a lot of mums - that seemed to be my demographic last year. And I guess anyone who’s ever had a family.
More audience interaction this year?
Absolutely. It’s just good fun because everyone in the audience has a story and you can play around with that. It keeps you on your toes and makes it exciting for you, which makes it exciting for them because it’s happening just for them. It’s almost like a custom made section of the show.
You also design posters for other comedians up at the Fringe. Have you done more this year?
Yes I have. The reason I did it was because I didn’t realise how expensive it was to go up to Edinburgh. To pay for your accommodation it’s like £1,000 for the month so when I started I thought if I taught myself Photoshop on YouTube, with no design background, and I could do ten then that would pay for my accommodation.
Every year I usually do about ten. This year I’ve done a friend of mine called Will Duggan, a brilliant comic called Peter Brush, a new guy going up this year called Chris Washington. They all just blur into one and you forget.
I always do mine and it’s the easiest one. I usually just use the logo, change a few details and the the colour!
What are you most looking forward to about the Fringe this year?
One of my favourite things is going and seeing everyone’s shows because everyone spends all this time building them up. You also get to see people you’ve never seen before, people from all over the world.
You get to see good stuff, bad stuff, famous people, brand new people... I probably watch about 50 shows during the Fringe; plays, circus stuff. Where else can you do that?!
Is there anyone in particular that you’re looking forward to seeing?
There’s a thing they do every so often which is this comedian’s wrestling thing which is brilliant and they do it for one night. I go and see Spencer Jones every year because it’s just joyous and fun. The Boy With Tape on his Face (Tape Face) is always brilliant.
Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?
This year I’ve been developing scripts but it just takes years to get anywhere because it’s got to go through commissioning rounds. I’ve done a bit of presentery stuff and then you go for auditions for actory stuff so a bit of everything really. I never knew you could do this as a job so you have to say yes to everything and throw yourself into it. Because why not? What else are you going to do?
This is my job now, which sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? It didn’t used to be but a couple of years ago I decided to go full-time and it’s great! It’s one of the most fun things you could do.
Finally, how would you sum up your show in just five words?
A tale of a lifetime.