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I TALK TO Tania Edwards

She's been voted one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Comics, and this year Tania Edwards is returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with her first show in three years, Not My Dog.

You were last in Edinburgh in 2015, are you looking forward to returning?

I can't wait! I'm actually really excited. It's the best comedy festival ever and everybody's there and everybody's doing their best work because there's so much competition.

It's also going to be really fun to catch up with everybody and I do lots of spots; short ones, long ones, in the dark, in the light, in the morning after midnight. It's really terrific.

Have you missed Edinburgh in the years you've not been up?

The weather's been a lot better! I did Camden Fringe last year which is a thing they've got going on in London. It's great being a comic in London in August because there's so much work because everybody's in Edinburgh.

But you definitely feel like you're not at the party so I had a media blackout for the month last year. I didn't dare look. And the year before I was distracted because I'd just given birth!

How long have you been working on this year's show for?

It's all jokes that I've liked for the last two years. But obviously I've now shaped together into a show, which I'm still shaping. And I'll continue to shape until the night before. You never stop trying to improve something. That's the nature of the beast.

How have the previews been going?

The previews are interesting because the whole point of them is to try and make everything better, but there are different types of preview audiences.

Some preview audiences love you getting things wrong. They love every time you check a note and they love every time you make a quip about something not working. So you get free laughs there.

But we're not in July so you've got to whittle out the free laughs and focus on the actual show being slick.

Why have you called the show Not My Dog?

Well I don't own a dog but I wanted to have a dog in the picture and I'm interested in how people present themselves and misrepresent themselves and what we're buying as a viewer. And what we expect. I like playing with people's expectations.

What's the show about?

It's about how we present ourselves. It's about how we mis-represent ourselves. It's about constructing and reconstructing an identity. I guess it's also about growing up a bit. Things have changed for me and when you're trying to make your life a success, you sacrifice your stupid anecdotes so it's about contrasting stability and catastrophe I guess. It's a fine line...

I think the idea that we shouldn't be able to make mistakes or change our opinions to tie in to what is the broadest opinions, normally the ones you see on social media, is crap. I don't subscribe to it so I think the whole point is to live your own life, be original, be thoughtful but not just follow the herd.

As the year's go on, do you find it easier or more difficult to write a show?

It's always a challenge because you're supposed to be getting better all the time. You're honing your jokes in clubs so in a club the stuff that's working really well you want to keep doing because you want to kill. That's what we say, we want it to go well. We want to kill a gig.

But obviously when you're doing a new show you have to let everything go that you love and trust and know works and formulate something that's hopefully better than that. It's a kind of quest for constant improvement.

Do you enjoy having that Edinburgh hour to play with?

Definitely! I think also it's probably too long and I say that in the best way. There's a lull at 40 minutes which requires you to really up the anti and hope that people don't get frustrated. Normally at that point people want to get a drink or want to go to the toilet. So it's the last 10 minutes that really require you to up your game in terms of your writing and your structure.

You want to make your show rewarding and memorable and not just an hour of gags. Which by the way I don't think anything can be better than an hour of gags, but you want people when they leave to be able to describe what it is rather than "It was funny".

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

The first week is a pivotal week. The first week is going to dictate how the rest of the run goes. What you want is a busy run so once the first week's over I feel I can relax. That's when you notice that just by the very nature of being in the festival environment, things suddenly have a different rhythm and a different vibe.

In the second week you know how the whole run's going to go. I know that some people try to struggle in the second week and try and make it a success but you've got to hit it flying from the first day. You're there amongst thousands of people doing their best work so you have to make sure you're doing your best work by the first week.

And then I can enjoy the rest of the run and enjoy everybody else's shows which is my favourite thing, watching a lot of comedy.

Who are you looking forward to seeing this year?

So many people! So many of my favourites aren't going up. Katherine's going up but just for a couple of nights, but Sarah's not going up. But there are so many amazing people that are. Reg D Hunter is always brilliant to watch. There's a sketch group called Lazy Susan who I haven't seen yet but really want to. And then obviously Luke McQueen.

I'm really looking forward to seeing people who I've never seen before. I literally can't wait! One year I'd go to about ten shows a day but I won't be able to hit that this year because I'm with my son.

It means I get to see some kids shows which is a blessing I guess! I'll be up at 5am but for all the wrong reasons!

Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?

Well the second the first week is over I'll start working on my next show. That's the tragic thing about Edinburgh. Within 7 days you're already thinking about what you're going to do next year.

I've got a couple of sitcoms I've been working on so I'll keep sending those out and see what happens! I just like gigging. Gigging's my thing. I'm a club comic. The bigger the room the happier I am.

The Apollo. Let's pick that as a goal for the next twelve months!

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

Lots of jokes at 3:15.

Tania Edwards: Not My Dog runs from 2nd - 26th August (Not 13th) at 3:15pm at Just the Tonic at The Mash House (Just the Snifter Room). Book tickets here.

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