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I TALK TO Rosie Jones

"Yes I'm disabled, yes I'm gay, yes I'm Rosie now can we move on!"

Since selling out her debut hour at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Rosie Jones' career has gone from strength to strength having just written an episode for hit Netflix series Sex Education and appeared on numerous TV shows including 8 Out of 10 Cats, Hypothetical and The Last Leg.

Now she's ready to return to the Fringe with her highly-anticipated second hour Backward, a show which promises to explore the hilarious difficulties of navigating the world whilst being the only disabled, gay, northern comedian with quite the penchant for sexual aggression.

When we caught up for a chat, Rosie discussed what it's been like writing her second show and what audiences can expect this time around.

It was your debut hour last year, how do you feel it went?

It was really really good! It was my first hour so I felt a lot of pressure to put on a good show but I think I did it. I don't read reviews when I'm up there because I don't want to get sidetracked.

I just want to do a show that I love and I enjoy and I think it shows that even in the final week when I was so knackered, I still genuinely enjoyed performing my show. For me, that's all that matter.

When did you decide to come back this year?

I don't really remember. I see Edinburgh as a bit like childbirth, when you're in it you go "Oh my god, I will never do this again!" and then by the second week in September you forget all that and just remember the good stuff and it was in September that my agent said to me "Oh you're going back" and I went "Yeah!".

How have you found putting together this year's show?

It has been more difficult because last year I had every piece of stand-up I'd ever written to choose from but this show I'm starting absolutely from scratch. So that's scary but then once I got going it's really exciting.

I feel like in your first year there's pressure to put on a show that says "Right, this is me. This is who I am. This is an introduction to me and where I'm going." Whereas this year I tackled it like yes I'm disabled, yes I'm gay, yes I'm Rosie now can we move on!

It's lovely to write a show that's still about me and my life but allows me to deal with bigger subjects.

What can people expect from this year's show?

Last year's was how I see the world whereas this year it's more about how the world sees me, because I've had a great year and it's all about the exciting things I'm doing in my life and in my career.

On a serious note, it's about how there are still people out there who do not treat me so well. The show is called Backward because I want to talk about how even in 2019, people look at me and think I'm backward but they're the backwards ones, not me.

What's the biggest thing you learnt from last year's show?

I'm doing previews right now and something that's really helping me is if I'm not enjoying doing a joke in a preview, I will not enjoy doing it in week two at the Fringe. So that's helping with my writing process right now.

Last year I stuck with a few jokes that I wasn't sure about and as soon as I got to the Fringe, "Oh no! I hate these jokes!" so it's really helping my writing process.

In terms of living up there, I've found it so useful to get into a routine of being really boring but eating at the same time, napping at the same time, doing the same routine before my show and it just means that I can put everything into my show because for me that's the most important thing.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Yes, but it's not very healthy. Definitely in the first week I read through my notes so what I do right before my show is I go to the Pleasance bar and I have a gin and I look over my notes because I find that one drink before my show relaxes me and makes me perform at my best.

What are you most looking forward to about Edinburgh this year?

It sounds like I'm being a nerd but I'm just excited about performing my show every day. Because throughout the year I gig almost every night but I only ever perform for twenty or thirty minutes and especially if I'm not in London I spend a lot of that time introducing who I am. Telling them not to worry that I talk like this but to bear with me and together we'll have a lovely time.

This year I'm working on the basis that if someone's bought a ticket to my show, they already know what the deal is so it'll be such a joy to have an hour just to really get into things and explore things more than I can do in a twenty minute set in Coventry!

I've got a bit in my show that might change, but right now there are about three or four minutes where I go without telling a single joke because I want to make a specific point, so having an hour allows me to do that because I've proven myself to them that I can be funny so they will let me explore a perhaps more serious note later on in the show.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?

For me my show is the most important thing so I try not to see anything just before, but I'm quite excited because my show is at 7pm this year so I can see a lot of shows after me. I'm so excited to see all my favourite people like Suzi Ruffell, Jen Brister, Jess Fostekew, Helen Bauer, Maisie Adam... you know them all! They're all incredible!

Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?

As well as stand-up comedy I've always written and I'm writing a few of my own sitcoms at the moment which are in development. And I was so lucky to write on the second series of Sex Education. I've written an episode for that which they're currently filming which is so exciting, but annoyingly they've invited me onto the set but I'm so busy that I don't think I can get to go before Edinburgh.

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

Funny. Warm. Thought-provoking. Tense. Daddy.

Rosie Jones: Backward runs from 31st July - 25th August (not 12th) at 7pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Baby Grand). Book tickets here.


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