Ed Gamble’s celebrating his 11th year at the Edinburgh Fringe with his third solo show Stampede.
You’ve probably seen Ed on Mock The Week, Almost Royal and Drunk History but here's what he had to say about his latest Fringe show Stampede...
What came first? The show or the title?
It was definitely the title, because you have to choose a title in February. I think there are very few comic who know what their show is going to be about in February.
So I just pick a title, normally one word, that has impact and is a word that I like so I’ve just gone with Stampede. I wish I could say that there’s more meaning behind it, but there isn’t.
I know there are some comics who pick their title randomly and then somehow manage to find meaning within the title and crowbar in something – but I’m not going to do the whole show about Lion King, there’s not going to be a stampede at the end.
It’s literally just a word that I thought captured the energy of the energy that I wanted to put across. Also… it had Ed in the middle of it!
What is the show about then?
I mean, a lot of it is about cauliflower, it’s a very difficult thing to describe because there’s a long section about a cauliflower, but then the rest of the show is about me trying to prove that it’s not about cauliflower. I know that’s not a good way to sell it in the press, because it sounds insane.
But I’ve got a lot of stuff about cauliflower, a lot of stuff about how men need to have things marketed at them in a traditionally manly way to feel confident using them and there’s a lot of stuff about how the changes in our language are exciting and we should be happy with them.
So there’s a mixture of stuff, but it all flows. I like my shows to be an hour of stand-up that starts and flows through naturally to the end. I’m not necessarily coming out and going “This is what I’m trying to prove. This is the story that I’m trying to tell.”
How long has it taken to put the show together?
Well, I guess you start writing when you finish the Fringe the year before really. I sort of do some new material nights and 20 minute sets in clubs and stuff and coming up with new bits that slot into that set nicely, and then stitch them all together for Edinburgh.
I think people do it differently. Some more Fringy comedians like to sit down and write a while show from scratch, whereas I like to write bits of stand-up really. Because that’s what I do day-to-day, I go around the country doing stand-up so I like to have routines that I can then put together in an hour and almost present the best of what I’ve done this year.
How have the previews been going?
Pretty good, I’ve been enjoying it. Up until July I tend to get up and do all the stuff I’ve written and just get it out there and do it. But now I’ve started switching up the order, writing an opening, building towards an ending and there’s a bit more flow to it now.
This is like crunch time. This is when it starts to really take shape. But they’ve been really really nice actually. A couple of sticky ones, but there always are, they’re not useful if they’re all nice.
This is your third solo Edinburgh show, but you’ve done many double-act shows as well. What is it about the Fringe that keeps you coming back every year?
I don’t know. This my eleventh full run at the Edinburgh festival in various guises. I didn’t do 2010, but I’ve done every other year around then.
I can’t imagine not doing it. It gives you something to work towards throughout the year. It gives you a deadline of putting something together, to be creative and get stuff done.
Obviously I am a creative person, otherwise I wouldn’t be a comedian, but I’m also a very lazy person, so if I didn’t have the Edinburgh Fringe to aim towards, I think I would just rest on my laurels for a bit and paddle around doing older material for too long until I suddenly realised I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
So it’s really nice to have a bit of motivation to turn over new stuff. It’s exciting and also all my friends go. It’s a great atmosphere and a really nice way to catch up with everyone who you might only see once or twice a year at gigs.
I don’t do the going out and boozing thing anymore. I used to, big time when I was a student, that was like party time. But now, it’s the hardest month’s work of any comedian’s life and I can’t operate hungover anymore.
Are you hoping to see much whilst you’re up there?
Yeah. I went to see loads of stuff last year. I’ve always seen a lot of other stuff, I think it’s important. Sometimes I sort of impose a ban of seeing other shows in the first week of the show.
If I’m not happy with my show, or I think there’s still some work to be done, or I just want to get it bedded in, I don’t go and see anything else because you can either be heavily influenced by other stuff or you can end up watching something and going “God they’re good” and it ends up depressing you a bit.
That said, I don’t think I’m going to do that this year. I just think I’m going to throw myself headlong in.
British stand-up and British comedy in general is so healthy at the minute and everyone’s so different. That’s the really exciting thing. I was at a charity gig a few weeks ago and I was compering, and there were about 15 acts and I stood at the back watching them and it was so exciting to see how different everyone was but how brilliant they were.
I’m living with Tom Neenan who is a brilliant writer and performer, and I saw the first preview of his show a couple of months ago and it was fantastic already. Unfortunately I think we’re on at the same time, but I can heartily recommend going to see his show, it’s called Vaudeville.
Rhys James – his stuff is looking really good for this year. Nish Kumar, James Acaster… these are all my friends that I’m listing at the moment. Obviously beyond my social circle there are some fantastic people that I’m looking forward to, Paul Foot I see every year.
What else are you up to outside of the Fringe? Any more TV?
Outside of the Fringe at the moment is not a phrase I understand. (Laughs) It’s very much all about the Fringe show at the minute.
But I’ve been up to some exciting stuff, I’m doing Mock The Week which is really nice, and I’ve got more of those coming up after Edinburgh.
Man Down has recently started on Channel 4 which I helped write on. I co-wrote episode two, and I’m also in that episode. But you might have struggled to recognise me!
Plenty going on, but at the moment very focussed on stand-up and the Edinburgh show and then touring the show after the show the Fringe in September, October and November.
And finally, how would you sum up your show in just five words?
Mumford. Fat. Cauliflower. Moisturiser. Pussy.