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I TALK TO Stephen Buchanan

"There's a bit of jealousy in Glasgow about the fact that Edinburgh has the biggest arts festival in the world."

In 2018, Glaswegian comedian Stephen Buchanan won the BBC New Comedy Award as well as the Scottish Comedian of the Year competition and now he's bringing his debut hour Baby Dove to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

During our chat, Stephen discusses what it's been like putting together his debut hour, why as a Glaswegian he wasn't really aware of the Fringe and what audiences can expect from Baby Dove.

You won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2018, congratulations. What was that like?

Thank you. That was really cool, such a surreal experience at the time. When I entered it I didn't even expect to be one of the sixty or so people picked to take part. So to actually win it was very surreal.

By the time I'd applied I'd been performing comedy regularly for close to 5 years and after that you can't really enter so if I wanted to enter that was my last chance.

You're performing your first Edinburgh hour this year. What made you make that decision?

I've been on mixed-bills in Edinburgh before and did a 45-minute show so it's not my first time performing at the festival but it is my first hour. And I feel like I'm in a pretty good position this year, I've got a great venue and it just felt like the time was right.

How have you found filling that hour?

It doesn't seem like that much of a jump from the 45-minute shows I'm used to, to an hour, but you can tell the difference. You have to focus on structure a bit more and the arc of the show so there are definitely a lot of differences which took be a while to get used to. But hopefully it'll nbe in good shape by the time Edinburgh comes.

It's based on the material that I did at the New Comedy Awards. So I took those five minutes and expanded it into an hour. But structuring it has been the hardest part. It's my debut hour and having this story arc has been a different experience for me.

What can people expect from the show this year?

They can hopefully expect to laugh! That's my main concern, I want people to enjoy it. It's about me living with my mum and a refugee and my style is observational storytelling.

And I've called the show Baby Dove which is specifically about a story that I'm telling in the show, but I don't want to ruin it so if you want to find out why I've called the show that, you'll have to come and see it.

How have the previews been going?

I've done quite a few and they've been going pretty well. The show's shaping up nicely. I've just got a couple of things to tweak and to write but apart from that I'm quite happy with the way it is just now.

How aware were you growing up in Glasgow about the Edinburgh Fringe?

I wasn't really that aware to be honest. There's a bit of jealousy in Glasgow about the fact that Edinburgh has the biggest arts festival in the world and Glaswegians always think that they're the funniest people.

So in Glasgow certainly, there seems to be a resistance towards it. It was only until I started getting interested in comedy and was able to go myself that I was aware of how big it was.

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

I'm just looking forward to being there and hanging out with so many cool people and see lots of amazing shows - and obviously getting to perform my show that I've worked on for about a year now.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?

Quite a few of my mates are going so obviously I'm looking forward to seeing their shows; Christopher MacArthur Boyd has a show called Dreamboat, Marc Jennings has a show called Getting Going, Rosco McClelland has a show called Magic Belly.

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

Funny observational comedy for all.

Stephen Buchanan: Baby Dove runs from 31st July - 25th August (not 14th) at 8.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (The Cellar). Book tickets here.


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