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I TALK TO Ivo Graham

After a year off from the Fringe, Ivo Graham is back with a brand new hour, Educated Guess.

I recently caught up with Ivo to discuss his return to the Fringe, this year’s show and what he’s most looking forward to about the Edinburgh experience.

You made your debut at the Fringe in 2013. What keeps you coming back?

That's exactly right. 2013 was my debut year and as yet my favourite year because it was my first time doing an hour so I felt that I was legit.

I had mostly very nice shows and I was proud of the show, not that I haven't been proud of my shows since, but like most first times that was particularly special I think. What keeps me coming back is that it's still the best time of the year socially and the most challenging and rewarding time professionally.

I didn't do it last year and it was the first year I hadn't done it for a few years and undeniably I had a lovely relaxed year because I didn't have to prep a show. I had a more relaxed summer and I was able to go to more social things and on holiday with my girlfriend which was lovely.

But I missed the challenge and the adrenaline of prepping a show and taking it up.

And it's such a luxury isn't it, to be given a full our to yourself?

It's a luxury that people would come and watch it. Having the hour only means so much if you're standing alone in an empty room.

But yes, the fact that anyone would offer you a venue, at a decent time and that people would turn up is all very flattering and exciting. I've performed at the Pleasance for the last few years which I'm very grateful for because they're very nice and their venues are great.

What's this year's show all about?

It's a potent mixture of various things I've talked about before; my upbringing, my private education and my principles but with a few more topical things.

Things that have happened to me over the last year and things that have happened in the world and my opinions on them. It's got a little bit more of a political twinge without being too pompous or know-it-all.

Why have you called the show Educated Guess?

Because largely it's about me trying to get to grips with political and social things that I'm increasing more conscious about not understanding. But I should.

It's about the feeling that when I'm talking to people about stuff, the big issues of the day - of which there are many at the moment - I don't know enough and should know more.

I've had my head in this sort of bubble so I'm trying to keep up while making what you might call educated guesses along the way.

I got a very good education which I'm very grateful to my parents for but I feel increasingly like it's not standing me in good stead anymore because adulthood is its own education and I am not always taking it as seriously as I should.

How long have you been working on the show for?

Since the beginning of the year. The fact I didn't do the Fringe last year means that I've technically had two years to build up to this show, but I would say that I haven't.

There's not much in it that I haven't written this year. If you take a year off you do keep writing but I was working on other things in my year off and crucially lazing around a lot as well. So it's only when you have the imminent deadline of the Fringe that you really get your arse in gear to use a crude phrase.

Most comics and indeed most people would agree with that in relation to any task. That's why I think Edinburgh is good because as well as being a great month it makes you work.

How have the previews been going?

I've really enjoyed the previews. It's very nice that they've been not been very bleakly under attended which isn't always the way.

There are more important times in your life to have large audiences than preview season because really with a preview, all you want to do is say the show out loud and get used to it.

But any less than ten people and you don't really have a suitable audience to perform what is essentially an experiment on them.

Are you working with anyone this year on your show?

Yes, it's the first year that I've got a director.

My friend Adam is giving me some thoughts on it. He's a playwright and director who I greatly respect and I thought it would be a fun challenge to have someone to impress whilst I was readying the show.

I've not done that before. I'm usually quite scared of collaboration.

What are you most looking forward to about the Fringe?

Being back after a year out will be really nice. There are people I feel like I haven't seen in a while who I will inevitably see a lot of. I'm in a fun flat with some good friends; Fin, Patrick and Jack. Fin Taylor, Patrick Turpin and Jack Barry.

It's a sort of throwback to a studenty lifestyle which I really enjoyed when I was a student and still enjoy when I'm in Edinburgh.

The dream is that if you have your show ready and you're happy with it by the beginning of August, then you can enjoy the fun of being up there with your friends and slightly putting your feet top when you're not doing your show.

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

Nice boy with well-meaning tosh.

Ivo Graham: Educated Guess runs from Saturday 5th August to Sunday 27th August at 8:15pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Previews 2nd-4th August. No show Monday 14th August.


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