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I TALK TO Naz Osmanoglu

Naz Osmanoglu is returning to the Fringe this year with something a little bit different, The Naz Show.

He might be a Fringe veteran with ten festivals under his belt but with his sketch group WitTank no more, Naz is trying something brand new this year, a solo sketch and character show.

I recently caught up with Naz to find out more about this year’s show.

This is your fourth solo show at the Fringe and you’ve been at the Fringe for many years with WitTank, what keeps you coming back?

It’s kind of a weird compulsion. I think it’s a healthy does of FOMO, fear of missing out. Also, the want to try something new is really motivating me this time. I’ve always gone up with my sketch group WitTank but we’re no longer working together.

So without that in my life and not really wanting to go back and do a stand-up show, I thought this is quite a good opportunity to merge the two and do a new show for me. So I’m doing a sketchy character hybrid show this year.

We’ll see what happens!

What is The Naz Show all about then?

Last year’s show was a stand-up show and it was personal and very honest. Everything in the show was true. I enjoyed it, but it was quite intense so I wanted this show to be really fun.

It’s essentially a chat show and I play the host as well as all the characters on the show and there’ll hopefully be some audio visual stuff as well - some video sketches. I want to play with that medium a little bit although logistically it’s a nightmare! Previewing it is borderline impossible but I just want to play around with it.

I’ve basically got a bunch of characters and I’m trying to figure out a way for them all to interact. There’s going to be a thread throughout them which runs through the host character. I just want it to be fun, stupid and a bit of a romp.

How have the previews been going?

Good. I’ve had a few of them and they’ve been really fun. I’ve just been trying out characters and sometimes they work and sometimes they really don’t. It’s always a fun time previewing. If you constantly try new stuff or tweaking stuff your show can only get better and better.

I tend to work quite last minute. I’ll continue trying new bits and bobs right up to the tech rehearsal because I get bored of things quite easily and I don’t like saying things the same way twice. You can get stale that way.

But so far so good.

How long have you been working on the show for?

I wasn’t sure that I was going to come back to Edinburgh and there was a bit of confusion with the group WitTank, so actually this is pretty much a last minute decision. So I’ve only been working on it for a couple of months really.

I work well under pressure, I do a lot of things under pressure and I’m kind of used to it now. There’s nothing like a deadline that looms. When we were doing sketch shows we used to write them in no time and it does get a bit stressful sometimes, especially when the show gets closer and closer but I actually quite like it.

It’s quite a luxury isn’t it, to have a full hour to yourself?

Yeah it is. When you’re doing sketches or characters you can go to places that you can’t normally go when you’re doing stand-up. It feels like a really creative endeavour. You can do all sorts of things no matter how stupid they are because you can put your character wherever you want.

You can pretend to be in the future and I really like that.Stand-up is grounded in reality so it’s quite nice to leave that at home for a bit.

What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learnt throughout your many year’s at the Fringe?

The most important lesson I think I’m still trying to figure out is how to enjoy yourself on stage no matter what else is going on. I think that’s the most important thing for a successful Fringe. To just enjoy yourself. It sounds a bit obvious but actually it’s one of the hardest things to do because Edinburgh is such a stressful time, you’ve got a lot of competition, you’ve got a lot of personal pressure on you, you’ve got reviewers coming and you’ve got people coming.

Doing comedy at the best of times is hard and stressful and in Edinburgh it can get the better of you. Edinburgh can break you and that really is horrible. To be doing a show that you’re not confident in. It’s important to just enjoy yourself and let go of those things and the way you do that it by having more confidence in what you’ve got before you go up and doing lots of preparation. Just do what you think it funny. Don’t pander, don’t change stuff.

What are you most looking forward to about the Fringe this year?

I’m looking forward to doing the show. It’s a new kind of show for me and I’m just really excited about doing it and seeing how it goes down. I’m living for the first time with someone new at the Fringe which will be quite strange because I’ve always lived with the boys from WitTank for ten years.

There are a load of shows I want to see. I really want to see Ivo Graham’s show, Jack Barry's show and I’m excited to be going back.

Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?

I’m doing The Mash Report which is a new BBC Two show. I’ve got a few writing projects in development but stuff in development can remain there for years and years and years so I’m just waiting to hear back.

I was in an episode of Back, which is Mitchell and Webb’s new TV show and I’ve also been playing a serious Doctor in something called Trauma which is coming out on ITV! Again, a small part but a pretty serious role so I was absolutely shocked when I got the part.

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

Fun. Mischievous. Sweaty. Mega romp.

The Naz Show runs from Saturday 5th August to Friday 25th August at 2:45pm at Just The Tonic at The Caves. Previews 3rd-4th August. No show Monday 14th August.


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