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I TALK TO Heidi Regan

She began doing stand up in 2015, won So You Think You're Funny? in 2016 and BBC New Comedy Award in 2017, so if anyone should be performing at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe it's Heidi Regan.

How did you first get into comedy?

I wrote comedy for years and wrote film scripts and TV scripts that have never been seen and a couple of sketch shows in Australia.

I moved over here 10 years ago and the only work I was getting was occasional stuff in Australia every few years. Everyone kept telling me that I had to do stand-up if I wanted to break in. I had no interest whatsoever in doing that because I didn't like being on a stage.

I didn't even think about it for years and then three years ago I had a 3am panic attack where I'd spent two years writing this that no one will ever see. I thought, I've got no plan b here, what am I doing?

So I then started thinking about doing stand-up and thought "What's the worst that can happen? I'll go try it.". I tried it and went "Oh I like this!" It was terrifying but I like riding through it and after that year I stopped being terrified and now I like it!

You went on to win So You Think You're Funny? in 2016, congratulations first of all. Why did you enter and how did it feel to win?

Aw thank you. Everyone I was gigging with auditioned for it and it feels like the first two years are very competition heavy. Every six months there seemed to be a competition that people were going for.

In England it seems like that's the route people go down to get an agent and progress. But when you win them you do start getting gigs that wouldn't have got before.

But I was very surprised to win because I was convinced that I'd screwed up because when I came on stage, because I was still very new and nervous, the microphone stand was too high and I tried to lower it but it wouldn't move so I struggle with that for about half a second but that completely shattered all my confidence.

I could feel everyone's tension in the room, so I thought I'd definitely ruined this and when I looked at the video I could see how nervous I was. The whole thing was very surreal, it took me about three months to comprehend that I'd won it. I kept not believing it.

You're performing your debut hour in the same year as last year's winner Maisie Adam. Why did you decide to have an extra year to prepare?

Performance wise, I still had so far to go. Last year I did a split hour with my mate Will Rowland and I'm really glad I had that extra year because I feel more relaxed performing in Edinburgh.

But that's got nothing to do with Maisie, I've gigged with her a few times and she's way ahead of me in terms of performing. She's so comfortable on stage which is great.

I actually thought I was doing my hour too quick because some people wait five years but I just wanted to get going.

Why did you call your show Heidi vs Sharks and what's it about?

I'm really bad at titles so I didn't want to be clever and just went for something simple that bears resemblance to what the show is about.

During my twenties, two of my other friends back home would get together and watch bad shark films and one of the scripts I wrote was a shark script so I know a lot about bad shark films and thing them very amusing.

The whole hour is me talking about those bad shark films as well as autobiographical stuff and politics. Bit all in the framework of very silly shark stuff.

How long have you been working on this show for?

I had the idea in October last year, but it was a very different idea back then. It had shark songs in it and was a really tough hour for the first few audiences who had to sit through it.

How have the previews been going?

They've been nice. At the start the show was too complicated and awful to make an audience sit through but now it's been getting better. Sometimes it's tough but mostly people are nice and the shark stuff usually wins over the people who aren't enjoying me so much.

My main stress this year has been no having enough previews. I wish I could have done more. I'm looking forward to getting this show to feel like what I'm trying to do is coming across,

Who are you looking forward to seeing in Edinburgh?

The two that I keep recommending to my friends who are coming are Jordan Brookes and Mat Ewins because they were amazing last year.

A lot of my friends are doing their debut hour, so Micky Overman, Catherine Bohart, Sarah Keyworth and Sindhu Vee so I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Finally, how would you sum up your show in five words?

Sharks, films plus other stuff.

Heidi Regan: Heidi vs Sharks runs from 1st - 26th August at 7:15pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Below). Book tickets here.

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