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I TALK TO Naz Osmanoglu

Most recently seen in BBC Three’s sitcom Flat TV alongside Tom Rosenthal, Naz Osmanoglu is returning to the Edinburgh Fringe with his brand new show Exposure.

As well as co-writing and starring in Flat TV, Naz has appeared in Live At The Electric, Plebs and Bull, as well as being the loudest member of sketch group WitTank and now he’s back in Edinburgh with his third debut solo show.

What came first? The show or the title?

Probably the idea for the show came first. I had an idea for the show but I didn't know exactly what the show was if that makes any sense?

I had a theme, but I didn't actually know what I was going to be saying? So then I tried to pick a title that was relatively vague enough that it might fit in with it and I wouldn't be limiting myself when I started writing the show.

What is the show about?

I'm trying to be as honest as possible on stage which is very different to what I usually do.

I started off in comedy doing sketch shows, so that's very much playing lots of different characters which are not you. So you become less and less you.

Then when I first did stand-up it was very much in a similar vein. It was charactery, even though it was stand-up, so I wasn't actually being a character. I did impressions and stuff like that.

So I'm trying to move away form that and be as me as possible. It's quite personal, it's about this past year and 95% of it is true!

I've left myself 5% wiggle room for embellishment and the odd lie! (Laughs)

Do you find it difficult to be so honest and write such honest material?

At first I found it quite difficult because some of it is quite personal, some of it is not very nice and some of it's a bit disgusting, some of it's a bit sexy, some of it is just showing the worst part of yourself.

At first I thought that was quite hard, but then when I first started doing the previews, things were just coming out in the show that were interesting. Some things that I would never think abut writing down but it just popped out my mouth, and that's now part of the show.

How have the previews been going?

It's been a really interesting run the previews.

They're always challenging, because even if you have a really good preview, it doesn't necessarily mean the show is very good. Really bad previews are the most helpful ones - it's a very difficult month July.

But I have to say, I have been enjoying them. Mainly because I've never done this sort of show before. I've never spoken about stuff like this.

Having said that, when you do open up to people on stage and they don't like it, you do feel pretty shit about yourself. (Laughs)

How long has the show taken to put together?

Not too long actually. I decided to go to Edinburgh sort of last minute. I wasn't going to go and was going to give myself a holiday, and then on the last day of registration, which I think is in April actually, I suddenly decided that I was doing it and was going to Edinburgh!

Literally on the last day I booked a slot. I don't what it was, I think maybe it was a bit of FOMO. Also, I wanted to challenge myself and do a show that I can feel proud of.

I miss it. I miss Edinburgh. I wasn't there last year because I was filming Flat TV, so I didn't get to do it and I missed it. It's like a phantom limb.

This is your third solo show right? It's described in the press release as your "third debut show" - Why so?

Yes, it's my third solo show and it will be my tenth year overall.

Actually... it's secretly eleven. I did this one year when I was a kid and I was in a shit production of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, we didn't wear any shoes and I wore tights and there was only one prop, which was a revolving trolley.

It was not good! (Laughs)

I did two other shows, but they were years ago and I've been concentrating on other stuff for the last year-and-a-half other than stand-up, so it feels like I'm coming back to stand-up in a way.

That's why I feel like it's a bit of a debut in a way, it's also just a stupid joke! (Laughs)

What keeps you coming back to the Fringe?

It's a good question, because it's a very difficult month. There's a lot of pressure, it's exhausting. I say it's exhausting - I do one hour a day of work! (Laughs)

That's not what makes it exhausting, it's the constant mental pressure - how well you're going to perform, how the last show went, how tomorrow's show is going to go, who else is doing well, what's the reviewer going to say when they're in tomorrow.

That sort of thing wears you down. And then there's the physical side of it, just trying to stay awake. You do long hours, you do the shows, you appear on bill and then of course there's the social aspect where you're drinking until 5 in the morning with other comedians.

It does become exhausting. There's bad food and you're not particularly healthy... but, you get to do a show every day, and that's amazing! You get to do an hour-long show in a really nice venue that you know to people who have come specifically to see you, and that's wonderful.

That's why you keep doing it, because the crowds are amazing. They come every year in droves and they really know comedy, they know theatre, because they go to see theatre in Edinburgh - they see eight shows a day and you're lucky to have an audience like that.

They're the best audience in the world really.

Are you hoping to see much whilst you're up there?

Yeah! I really like going to see new things. Acts that people haven't heard of before.

Obviously I don't know who they are, but other people I want to see Ahir Shah he's great, Nish Kumar big fan and Steve Bugeja who is excellent, really really excellent.

What are you up to outside of the Fringe? Any more Flat TV on BBC Three? I loved that series...

Aw thank you. We'll see at the moment, these things you can never really tell. Tom and I are still really keen to work together so we'll see what happens really. Hopefully.

Elsewhere, I'm just writing a few things, trying to get stuff off the ground which is so hard in this business. At the moment I'm focussing on the Fringe, my stand-up and once that's done I'll just look onto the next project.

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

Honest. Disgusting. Sexy. Burgers. Beard.

Naz Osmanoglu: Exposure will be on at Just the Tonic at The Mash House from Thursday 4th August – Monday 29th August at 3:15pm (Excluding Monday 15th August).


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