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I TALK TO Jayde Adams

She was one of my favourite Edinburgh Festival Fringe performers in 2017 and now Jayde Adams is back with a brand new show, The Divine Ms Jayde, and she's here to have fun and prove that laughter is the best medicine.

How was last year's Fringe for you? It seemed to go very well...

Yeah it did. I sold about 97% of my tickets last year and I definitely learnt a lot more from doing an Edinburgh show last year than I did from my first year. Well, technically my first year. I've been doing Edinburgh for eight years but I held off from doing newcomer until I was ready to smash it and that was in 2016.

That year went really well. I had all sorts of people figuratively blowing smoke up my arse so I really enjoyed having a successful Edinburgh, but last year it just worked. In 2016 I wrote a show that had a very Edinburgh traumatic moment in it. Which was about losing my sister.

So the next year I thought "If it ain't broke don't fix it. What else is it that I struggle with?" and it was about popularity and not being very popular in school. And that becoming an adult obsession to make sure people like me, to silly extremes.

What did you learn from last year's show?

I felt last year that I made a show for Edinburgh, rather than making a show which I felt showcased my ability or my writing skills.

And that's what I learned last year, as well as Edinburgh being this beast that needs to feed from your trauma and emotions, sometimes just making people laugh, which is what I'm doing in this year's show, and just entertaining people in all sorts of different ways, is probably the best way to go.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Did you find this year's show easier to write then?

Yeah, I've not had to dig around. There is a lot of heart and warmth in the show but it isn't derived from any pain that I have. It's more about things that I hold dear to me.

There's a lot of stuff about Bristol and my dad. I basically wanted to make a show that would show the industry what I think they should do with me eventually.

And what should the industry do with you?

Well all sorts of different things but I'd love to do movies, I'd love to be in rom coms, have a sitcom and then eventually have a Saturday night primetime show on BBC One. And all of these things are bubbling away so it's just essentially putting me on the best possible platform I can in a way that suits my type of personality.

In Edinburgh, the shows that are painful and make you cry and make you think, are great, but that's not going on national television! It seems to be in Edinburgh, and all the major Fringe festivals, that being funny is sort of illegal.

I always make a joke about how in the nineties tits sold newspapers and magazines and now it's emotion. So I made a line that tits are out, tears are in.

But also, the thing is I'm doing this from a point of privilege. I'm on stage in front of lots and lots of people, talking about my pain and I see shows where someone says they don't have a place in the world whilst stood in front of thousands of people. I don't want to needlessly emotionally manipulate an audience that are already having quite a tough time.

In times of darkness like we have in the world right now, just a bit of laughter is the best form of medicine. There are a lot of girls going up this year with #MeToo based shows and I do, as most women do in this age, have similar stories but I thought people are spending their money in a job they probably don't like as much as I like my job so I'm going to give them a good show.

Is that why you've called this year's show The Divine Ms Jayde?

Yeah! I feel like it's time now to play up to this character. I don't need to be vulnerable anymore. I think people get that I'm joking when I'm sassy. They know that I'm a caricature of myself.

My favourite performers are people like Bette Midler who are huge gay icons and end up in Caesars Palace. I mean, the Fringe is great but I have dreams of Las Vegas! This year I made a show that if Bette Midler ever did Edinburgh, she would do.

I've got one of the best venues in the Pleasance this year and I'm throwing everything at it in terms of fabulousness and camp and jokes. All sorts of things!

Please tell me there'll be more songs?

Yeah, there is definitely a musical element in the show. But I'm reticent to call it a musical show because I know that you'll very much be put in a box. I am a comedian with many strings to my bow and one of them is having a set of lungs on me.

I've written some music with Richard Thomas who is an Olivier Award winner who wrote Jerry Springer - The Opera and together with my director Matt Peover who directed Mr Swallow's last few shows, have been working really hard in the studio over the last three months. They're funny songs with punchlines.

As soon as people try and put me in a box I jump straight back out of it.

How long have you been working on this year's show for?

I sort of already had an idea last year, but Richard Thomas and I had been meeting for a year-and-a-half and it was all really casual to being with. We've been working on the main chunk of the show for about four months.

The other thing is that it's different from my last two shows. I can now just be on stage and I have material. I don't have the fear anymore. I can stand on stage with barely anything at all.

How have the previews been going?

Great! I'm really chuffed with it. I think it's going to be a great show and it's my favourite that I've performed. It's sassy, it's got great jokes, I take the piss out of myself in it and then I have a heartwarming moment where I do an apology to my father for all the shit I put him through during my teenage years which will ring true for a lot of the audience. It's an ode to dads and how smashing they are.

Normally I'd do 27 previews, as many previews as I have shows but this year I haven't done as many as that because I gig all the time. I work with a lot of producers and lots of producers say to me that the most important thing they want from their talent that they work with is that they gig.

All the comedians that gig a lot are all the best ones because we know exactly what audiences want. There's a trend up in Edinburgh that a lot of people will go up, smash it, and then not gig for the rest of the year. I don't know how people will understand what the general public want if they don't see them three or four times a week, which is what I do.

Up and down the country as well, not just London. London is great but it's not a real indication o what the general public want. My fella is a comedian called Rich Wilson and he's been gigging for 13 years up and down the country and has never been on television because they don't put men over 40 on there. He's infamous in lots of different towns, lots of people know who he is and that's because he's been working hard, gigging five or six nights a week, making a very good earning and gigging with all these people.

What's your favourite thing about Edinburgh?

I get lots of work after it, which is kind of the reason that I do it. It's a trade show for the rest of the year's work and it's the best way to showcase what I'm best at, which is entertaining people. It's the most expensive thing I've ever done in my life, but I've had lots of opportunities come from Edinburgh.

I'm rather boring up in Edinburgh. I work really hard so I don't really drink or go out. I very rarely go out when I'm up there. The social aspect of comedy isn't really something that I'm massively into. I see people and it's really nice but I spend a lot of money on Edinburgh so I'm not going to fritter it away with booze.

You spend the entire time thinking that you need to be seen with other people. Let me tell you, no other comedian is ever going to make you successful. Just you and really great jokes make you successful. You look at people that are mainstream and household names and what they all have are jokes. Jokes and hard work.

Another thing you do which I'm so pleased you're doing again this year is Amusical. How much fun is that?

It's a good ol' laugh that is! I had a wonderful time doing it last year. I just love being a nobhead in it and there's no pressure on that show at all. The comedians just show up, I put a stupid costume on and then we sing songs from musicals!

Also, the other thing that it's done. And I feel like I've done this so I'm going to take credit for it, I've heard that lots of people are singing in their shows now as a result of Amusical and I will say that I have brought a lot to comedy and that involves sequins, because no one was wearing sequins before I did stand-up, so I've brought sequins and songs to comedy. And all the more for it! Variety is the spice of life and it should be on stage as well.

Who are you looking forward to seeing this year?

I tell you who my tip is for newcomer... Rosie Jones. She's just funny. She's got jokes and she's really funny. It's got nothing to do with her disability whatsoever. If she was shit and she had a disability she wouldn't be there. She's a genuinely great comic and really funny.

I think the concept of her show this year is going to be beautiful. She's a really funny great girl and she ticks so many boxes for the industry so they'll love her for it!

I think she's going to really really smash it.

Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?

I've got a self-titled sitcom in development with King Bert which is an ongoing thing. I've also got something I'm writing which is a classic rom-com and it will probably be a series and then a movie and then a musical, which is what people are speaking about with me.

I can't tell you the name of it, but basically one thing I haven't shown the audience yet is what a good dancer I am. I used to be a dancer for fifteen years and I used to competitively dance so I'm writing something about the world of competitive freestyle disco dancing. I've got a huge company who are interested in it.

I've got a company who make a really successful chat show who want to turn me into Mrs Saturday night, so I'm working with them on that!

I'm the voice of MTV as well. Me and Johnny Cochrane do all the speaky speaky bits. And I'm the face of Sun Bingo, although that won't be as popular with some of the liberals. But as I keep saying, many people may scoff at the fact that I'm working for The Sun, but I'm never going to change the world from The Guardian am I?

It's a platform for me and if I can encourage people who shout homophobic abuse out of their windows to come to my shows and let them see how much I bang on about loving gays, and if I can stop them from being homophobic then I feel like I've done my part. I think a lot of people try to change the world in a massive way by screaming into an echo chamber.

I've got justification for all the decisions I make and if anyone wants to come at me, they can!

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

Funny. Smart. Dazzling. Impressive. Ridiculous.

Jayde Adams: The Divine Ms Jayde runs from 1st - 27th August at 9:30pm at The Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Two). Book tickets here.

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