Stoph Demetriou is making his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe with his first solo hour The Dunning-Kruger Effect, but he’s no stranger to the Fringe.
He's previously had cult success with his sketch group The Banana Collective and in 2013 he directed Richard Gadd’s Cheese and Crack Whores. Then last year Stoph was the voice actor and animator for Gadd's award-winning show, Monkey See Monkey Do but this year Stoph is stepping out on his own with his first solo hour.
You’ve been up at the Fringe before with sketch groups and with Richard Gadd, but why this year for your debut hour?
I guess I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with other people and it was just time to do it on my own. I used to be a guitarist in a band and the day my band broke up was the same day that I did my first stand-up gig. So it’s this whole thing of doing it on my own for the first time.
You’ve called your show The Dunning-Kruger Effect. What came first? The title or the show?
The original show I was writing was about an internet troll. It was almost a completely different show. It was about this internet troll who is a bit of a troll in real-life and doesn’t understand why everybody hates them. That was in my head, not knowing why people hate you. Being very unaware.
Then I thought, hang on a minute, I’m actually writing about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, people being too stupid to know how stupid they are. It’s become this huge thing on the internet at the moment. Facebook and Twitter are just big arguments. Everybody calling each other stupid and everybody going “Oh someone’s suffering the Dunning-Kruger Effect.”
It seemed pretty pertinent because of that and it’s become more part of people’s consciousness a bit. There have been articles about how Trump is the Dunning-Kruger president so then the name of the show changed and then I just wrote to that.
How long have you been working on the show for?
I was writing the original idea of the show around late February, but it slowly changed up until early May which is when I really started changing it and it became this whole new thing. There’s a lot of video in it as well. I’ve always done a lot of video stuff and it’s what I do work wise as well, so it’s almost like a TED Talk/lecture format.
Me/my character who’s got my name, is trying to educate the audience about what The Dunning-Kruger Effect is. The idea is that my character has decided that I need to raise my profile as a performer so I need to do a show and stumbled across The Dunning-Kruger Effect and that’s become the theme of the show.
So the way the video will work is I’ll go “Here’s an example of people suffering from paranoia” then show a video. But it also has these breaks out of that format into sketches and this whole storyline about not having enough video to fill the hour so there’s a TV show that shows on the projector throughout the show just to make up the time a bit which is all fictional.
How have you found filling the Edinburgh hour?
With the sketch group we did more stories so I don’t really write jokes or bits, I write sketches but for the most part I’m more of a story writer so I like to write much longer form. I’m writing sitcoms at the moment that are at least 30 pages.
For this, I actually thought I wasn’t going to fill it up and in the research for The Dunning-Kruger Effect I was noticing that there are four parts to it, so I thought great, that’s the structure of the hour. Then it came to it and I’d written about an hour and 20 minutes.
So a lot of the time has been trying to cut things out without affecting what I’ve written.
Who are you hoping will come and watch the show?
There’s always that feeling when people are being really stupid but over confident which is the whole Dunning-Kruger thing. There are times when you see people like that and think “Maybe I’m really stupid. Maybe I’m the idiot?” so people who would ask themselves that question are probably the best audience.
Because that’s what I’ve been doing the whole time. Researching about the show I’ve been going “Hang on a minute. This is all about people being over confident in their ability. Is that me?”
What is it about the Fringe do you think, that keep comedians coming back year after year?
I think it’s just the intensity of it more than anything. Anything goes at the Fringe in a way, if you’ve got a crazy idea you can do it and it’s fine. There’s always an audience there. Even in London it’s always a bit hard to find an audience for what you want to do if you want to be crazy or experiment.
Bit at the Fringe, you’ve got this month where you can put any show on. It’s so frantic, there are so many shows, so many people around and every day is a Saturday night. All day.
Who are you looking forward to seeing perform?
I want to go and see Mat Ewins because I’ve known him a little while but I’ve never actually seen him perform once but I hear he’s really good. He does similar stuff to me in that he does visual based, media based comedy.
There’s a guy I used to know from Vine, Lenny Sherman, who’s doing a half hour show which I’d write like to go and see. Other than that I think I want to watch some theatre because I always watch a lot of comedy and I watch comedy mostly at home anyway, and it’s probably having a negative effect on me as a person.
Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?
I’ve written a few sitcom scripts and an animated sitcom pilot. I make a lot of videos anyway and put them online. I’ve got this cartoon series about a kid that goes and asks a talking bench for advice. There’s a bin who’s got PTSD and and an overweight fox and it’s about this kid who always asks for advice but the advice is always unsuitable but presented as this really wholesome cartoon.
Finally, how would you sum up your show in just five words?
Unskilled and unaware of it.