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I TALK TO Christopher MacArthur-Boyd

" I was obsessed with comedy when I was younger but I didn't know the Fringe was there."

Described by many as "the future of Scottish comedy", Christopher MacArthur Boyd impressed audiences and critics alike last year with his debut Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Home from Home which was the most reviewed show for a Scottish comedian at last year's festival.

As he returns with his second solo hour, we chatted about how aware he was of the festival growing up, the importance of a good Edinburgh poster and the biggest lesson he learnt from performing last year.

How did last year go for you?

It was great man. The show went really well. When you're doing your first hour you've had the entire length of your career to write the show. So I had about five years and for my second show I've had much less time.

Are you finding this year's show harder to write?

It seems to be so far, but I guess I'll only know by the end of it. It seems more difficult but maybe that's just perception.

Do you feel slightly more pressure this time?

One way to look at it is to say that there's more pressure this time but I'd rather look at it as "I did it last year. It's great if I can do it twice."

What did you learn the most from doing the show last year?

The importance of structure. There were loads and loads of jokes in the last one which sounds pretty obvious for a stand-up show, but some people don't do it that way.

Was the plan to always come back this year?

Yeah, I think it's cool man, I think it's how you get good at it, having that deadline every year to churn out an hour of stand-up. I've had a pretty busy year though with TV stuff but it's good that my life's changed this much in the last year. This year's show feels like a companion piece to last year's show.

As a Glasgow lad, were you always aware of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Well, growing up on the west coast of Scotland in a working class environment, you really don't hear about the Fringe. I was obsessed with comedy when I was younger but I didn't know the Fringe was there.

It wasn't until I was like 17 that some of my more dramatic friends were like "Oh there's thing called the Fringe and we're going to go and see it." And I was like "What's that?" And they said "There are all these buildings with tiny rooms in them and they all have a play going on inside them."

My response was "sounds like hell"! And then when I started doing stand-up someone said I should do the Fringe and I didn't realise they also did stand-up and it actually sounded pretty decent.

Glasgow is only 50 minutes away on the train, but it has a certain hatred for Edinburgh.They don't really approve of anything it does.

Do you stay in Edinburgh during the run?

The first time I did it I did a double hander with Ben Pope and I commuted. I got the bus there every day. You can get an all-month bus pass for £150. I lost mine so then I had to get a second one and then I found the first one and then lost the second one. So I spent £300 on buses.

It was very depressing spending upwards of 60 hours on the 900 CityLink bus with a lot of drunk people and a couple of performance poets who wouldn't shut the fuck up.

But now, me and Rosco Mclelland and Ed Night have a wee flat during the flat that we hang out in. We're a good team of boys who look out for each other.

How important is your Edinburgh poster because it's another brilliant design this year?

Thank you. I came from a kind of punk background, playing in bands. Concurrently when I started doing stand-up I was playing in bands and I realised the importance of a good poster. I really like graphic design and I'm quite fastidious when it comes to visual representation of the stuff that I do.

So yes, a poster is very very important. It's also good having a big face on it. I think people connect with faces, so if you're walking around Edinburgh and you see a big face you might think "I'm gonna go and see that".

When did you start putting Dreamboat together?

Last year's show was about living with my mum and dad and about the housing crisis but in actual fact, by the time I was performing, and even when I was doing previews, I'd moved out of the house. So I was doing stand-up about a period in my life that no longer existed.

So the whole time I was doing the last show, I would much rather have been talking about having a flat and what that's like. So I guess I've had this show for about a year, which is about leaving the parental home and being in a relationship with an adult as an adult.

Why have you called your show this year Dreamboat?

I just really like the word. It sounds nice. I remember when I was a teenager, I did that very teenager thing of cutting out things from magazines and sticking them to my bedroom wall. It sounds like I'm a serial killer or I'm trying to solve a crime, but sometimes I'd cut out pictures of bands and sometimes I'd cut out words.

I had 'sweetheart' which was the name of my first solo show that I didn't take to the Fringe and I had 'darling' which I'd like to use at some point. And then I had 'dreamboat' so it kind of stuck in my head and also it's quite funny to not be a dreamboat and call yourself a dreamboat.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I've started stretching my wee legs. I do some stretches to kind of limber up a wee bit. There was a brief period a couple of years ago where I would smash my head against the wall - but that went away. It was getting pretty sore!

I also try to remind myself, if I am nervous, that I have done it before and it went well in the past so it's only logical that it will go well again.

What are you most looking forward to about being back in Edinburgh?

Mary's Milk Bar, it's an ice-cream shop on Grassmarket. I love it and it's really the only reason I do the Fringe if I'm honest with you - to be in close proximity of Scotland's best gelato.

Who are you looking forward to watching perform this year?

Stephen Buchanan who won the BBC New Comedy Award last year, he's got a show called Baby Dove. Rosco McClelland and Ed Night, my two flatmates who have got shows called Magic Belly and Jokes of Love and Hate. David Correos, Ashley Storrie, loads of people!

The thing about the Fringe is being excited to see 40 shows and maybe seeing two-and-a-half across the month if you can be bothered.

Outside of the Fringe what are you working on?

Me, Rosco and Ashley have a TV show for BBC Scotland called Up For It and there's talk about doing more of. I've been playing a lot of PlayStation, that's been good. Nintendo Switch... I wrote a short story this year which got published which was quite cool so I'd like to do more of that.

I also like playing my guitar, while my neighbours are at work so they don't hear a thing.

Finally, how would you sum up this year's show in just five words?

Breakfast cereal. Sad about stuff.

Christopher MacArthur-Boyd: Dreamboat runs from 31st July - 25th August (not 12th) at 9pm at the Gilded Balloon Teviot (Balcony). Book tickets here.


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