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I TALK TO Seann Walsh

In 2008, Seann Walsh came runner-up in So You Think You're Funny and 10 years on he's returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the eighth time, but he's only performing for 12 nights before embarking on a UK tour. So if you want to see him in Edinburgh, make sure you book quick!


I loved your last Edinburgh show, One For The Road, which you then took on the road. How did you find the Fringe in 2016?

The problem I always had with Edinburgh is that I never tended to arrive with a finished show. But by the end of that I thought that was the best show that I’ve taken up to date. I thought it was the funniest and I think out of the last four or five shows that I’ve done, I’ve always been happy with them by the end. I just think they improve.

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since you first performed at the Fringe and came runner-up in So You Think You’re Funny?

Oh God!!! I didn’t know that. That’s horrible. Why have you told me that?! I remember that. I came second. Sorry… I’m suddenly getting loads of flashbacks.

It’s funny isn’t it? I was in my early twenties and I desperately wanted to win that competition because I wanted the money to buy an X Box I think.

It feels like a very long time ago and I don’t really remember much in between now and then.

But since then, you have returned to Edinburgh almost every year. What keeps you coming back?

The stone cold truth is that I don’t tend to enjoy it as a thing that I have to do. Certainly in the past, I’ve found the pressure got to me. The judgement that is put upon you I find too much to cope with.

But having said that, the plus side is that I don’t think there’s any other place that is better to run in your show and make it as good as it can possibly be for a tour. I think that’s the most important thing.

This year I’m only doing it for two weeks so that I don’t really have to be part of the pressures. I’m not sure critics are interested in someone doing a two-week run, so it’s nice to take yourself away from that so that you can just enjoy it a bit more.

I’ve never know what it’s like to just enjoy it. Mate, you would have no idea how much I’m looking forward to only doing 12 nights.

You tweeted recently that you’ve become a “two weeks only dickhead”. Do you think there is a stigma to people who don’t do the full run?

I think people are just jealous aren’t they? And wish they weren’t up there for four weeks. Well that’s what I’ve always thought whenever I’ve seen someone doing it. So for me, it’s a goal achieved.

What can people expect from this year’s show?

Well you’ve seen the shows I do, it is what it’s always been which is where I am now. When you go on tour you suddenly discover that people have seen the last five shows and there’s something quite nice about that. They’ve seen the progression of your life.

These aren’t conscious decisions of course, but this year I think there’s much more material that’s reactive to what’s happening around me as opposed to my life. There’s a bit more current affairs… which I never thought I’d say! Probably the easiest way to put it is, responding to things I’ve read in the paper.

But there’s also where I am in my life. That’s still there.

Why have you decided to call the show After This One I’m Going Home?

The last show was called One for the Road and what that was, was that I always say I’m never doing Edinburgh again and then I always end up signing up to it, but I always say it’s the last one.

And I thought that sort of resembles when you’re in a lock-in and keep saying “this is the last one” – so One for the Road was nice and fitting because it was for a tour show. And this one is just a carry on from that. The next one will be called OK, But Just One More!

How have the previews been going?

Because I've had that year off from Edinburgh, I think this year's show will be the most complete show I've ever taken up there. I'm previewing it and I feel like I could do it in Edinburgh tomorrow. I'm really enjoying it and audiences have been enjoying it so it's a lot of fun.

I don't want to jinx myself, but yes to answer your question, the previews have been going well. Interestingly, the show that I had the best previews with was my awfully titled second Edinburgh show, Ying and Young and that was the one where the previews went the best but it was the worst show I think I've ever done in Edinburgh. So I'm not going to be too cocky.

Because you're preparing for a tour, is it a struggle to narrow it down to the Edinburgh hour?

I will have to work out how to make this 60 minutes for Edinburgh, but on tour I think the last show expanded to about an hour and twenty minutes. I always bring a support act with me so I can just keep it an hour if I want.

I think comedy shows are too long anyway to be honest with you, so twenty minutes for the support, I do an hour. Everyone's having a nice time, let's go home. I hate the idea of someone being in a crowd thinking "Even though I'm enjoying this I wish it would end" - I'd hate that. That's sometimes what happens to me, even if I'm having a wonderful time.

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

I don't get to see much of my friends from comedy nowadays so actually it's really nice to get everyone together. Also, there can be a special buzz because people are excited, they're there at the Edinburgh festival and I think that can create a show that you might not get on tour.

But I guess the thing I'm most looking forward to is going home.

So you won't be back next year then?

This is the last one. But I've said that every year.

You made your US TV debut this year on Conan. What was that like?

It was very exciting. For me what was very freeing was that I was going over and not being judged for anything that I'd previously done.

I've been on television since quite a young age and I think I have made a lot of mistakes in terms of decisions about things that I've done and it was nice to be in America with no judgement other than to be judged on that spot I was doing.

Here, I think I've got myself into a bit of a position where someone might flick over to something I'm on and think "Oh I hate that bloke" - because they've seen me on something that perhaps I wasn't comfortable with. But whatever. I look at America as a second chance and it was very enjoyable and I'll be going back to America next year.

You've finished filming series 2 of Bad Move. How's that looking?

It's all the stuff that people generally say about series two, it's bigger, better, badder... but I think it is all those things. It's faster and funnier than the first series and was just as much fun to shoot.

From being 17 and paying to go and see Jack Dee in the Brighton Dome, to working with him is a dream come true. You couldn't wish for the man to be a better or funnier human being than he is. He's an absolute delight. I love the man.

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

Pain. Hurt. Smoke. Glitter. Cheese.

Seann Walsh: After This One I'm Going Home runs from 14th - 25th August at 9:20pm at The Pleasance Courtyard. (Pleasance Beyond). Book tickets here. He then embarks on a UK tour from 13th September – 12th December. Book tickets here.


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