"After two years of sad, dreary Boris, I just want to be funny. When you leave my show, the only thing I want to hear is "I really enjoyed that"."
When searching to find out who would be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, one of the names I hoped I'd see was Thanyia Moore, because I'm certain that her energy, skill and style will thrive if given an Edinburgh hour to do with what she likes.
Just Being Funny promises to be just that. Her debut, which was supposed to happen in 2020, was set to be a heartfelt, emotional show that rocked your socks off.
Away from the Fringe, Thanyia has appeared in Bamous on BBC Three, Mock The Week on BBC Two, Rob Beckett’s Undeniable on Comedy Central, As Yet Untitled on Dave and acted opposite Sophie Willan in her BAFTA-winning BBC Two sitcom Alma's Not Normal.
As Thanyia is one of my 9 exciting newcomers to see at this year's festival, I caught up with her - after a five-minute debrief on Love Island from the night before - to discuss her debut hour, her reasons for performing at the Fringe and her plans for the future.
How did you first get into comedy and what made you want to become a stand-up?
I was taking a break from dancing and hosting to teach dancing, and I missed being on stage. Then I was walking through New Cross one day and my friend said "They've got a comedy course. You're funny. Why don't you give it a try?" and I did. Now we're here.
What made you decide to do Edinburgh this year then?
I did 2019 and I was going to debut 2020, but then obviously, things have been happening so this is the only time for me to do it. Otherwise, it would have been done already.
I wasn't ready, before. I didn't want to be one of those people who went to Edinburgh not prepared, not ready for what could have come after the fact. I think it's best to go when you're ready.
If anything happens after Edinburgh, let's say I have the best Edinburgh, I get all the nominations, all the stars - whatever happens after that, I'm prepared for. If you're two/three years into comedy, you're not prepared for that. Now, I'm completely prepared for anything that comes my way, so now is the right time to do the hour.
How did you find the Fringe in 2019?
It was nice, I split half an hour with Sian Davies. That made it easier as well, because Sian is just a wizard. Because she does 300 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, she was like "I'll just sort it out." so I just had to turn up, which was wonderful.
And then now, I'm being produced by Soho Theatre. So similar thing, just gotta turn up! I hate for there to ever be a time where I have to do it myself. I'm not going to know what to do!
I enjoy doing half an hour in 2019 and getting the feel for what Edinburgh was. That was the first time I was there for the whole month. Usually, I just pop in, pop out. Being there for the whole month made me fully understand what Edinburgh was and why Edinburgh was.
That's the drive that kept me going to do the full hour.
How have you found filling the Edinburgh hour?
It's a long time.... if you're not a Chatty Patty! Right now, I'm struggling because an hour's not enough. That's the truth. I'm struggling. I've got too much.
I'm trying to figure out what stories can go, even though I think we should do a part two and just book a second hour. I've literally got too much. I'm going over every preview. I'm doing at least 70-90 minutes. It's a lot. So I'm trying to scale it down.
What's nice, is it's a lot, but no one really knows I'm doing more than an hour, it still feels like an hour. When I really trim it down, I feel like it's going to be a nice tight hour. I'm looking forward to it. I'm proud of it. Especially because it's not Bully anymore. It's a different show.
What was Bully going to be? And how has it changed?
Very different. Bully was emotive and it had a story. It's all the things Edinburgh was pre-pandems. Post-pandems, I'm like, after two years of sad, dreary Boris, I just want to be funny. When you leave my show, the only thing I want to hear is "I really enjoyed that". That's all I want to hear. Nothing else.
What are you most looking forward to about Edinburgh this year?
Just being there. I think this year feels like it's going to be different because most of us are going to be there at the same time. A lot of us are doing debuts, and it might feel like debuts for people who haven't been there for two years.
I feel like the energy is going to be great. I'm looking forward to being there, in the midst of it all with everybody. Just enjoying us going through the rollercoaster of "I'm shit. I'm great. I'm shit. I'm great." All that comes with being in Edinburgh for that month, I'm looking forward to all of it. That's the truth.
Oh and very Wednesday and Friday night I'll be hosting Late'n'Live at Gilded Balloon. So I'm making sure I'm not doing too much to keep me stressed, but still making a little bit of change by being in Edinburgh, getting my face out there and hopefully get people to come and see my show.
A few weeks away, how are you feeling?
My only worry about my show, is that we're fine toothcombing at the moment. We're just making sure we've got the right stories in the right places, with the right thread through/ And just last-minute punch-ups. It's still punchy, but because I'm a lot of energy when I'm on stage, I don't like to have moments where there's low energy for too long.
I'm a club comedian, and in the club it's gotta be bang bang bang bang bang. So that's a little bit of a struggle for me right now. The show's nice. It's got a great concept to it. It's a great format. But I just want to make sure that when I go to bed, I think "I did the best I could".
There are many comedians, yourself included, who get opportunities that usually come after an Edinburgh run. Why did you still want to do Edinburgh this year?
Up until now, I've been a guest of. I had a nice little role in Alma's Not Normal, but I'm a guest. After Edinburgh for me, I want my own now. I'm not going to Edinburgh so much for nominations and stars. I'm going for producers and directors to come into that room and be like "I know what I can do with her" - that's the goal.
Next year, I want to be filming my own show! I want EVERY producer who thinks I'm awesome to come and see the show. That's it. To the person who can give me my own TV show? Come every day, sir.
How have you found the TV industry, so far?
It's nice. It's a good way to see what it could be like for you. What you would do and what you wouldn't do. People in TV are really nice. I wish I had something horrible to say. There might be one or two wrong 'uns. But on the whole, I'd say 98-99% of people in TV are fucking glorious. Everyone on the ground is beautiful to work with.
Then you get a little tinge, because you have a lovely day at someone else's show, being a guest, and you want to be there four days in a row, 12-hour days, knackered, stress. I want to be all of that. Bring on the TV stress, guys! We'll figure it out.
Who are you looking forward to seeing?
I don't even know. It's so weird. I want to see everyone, but I know that I'm not going to do anything for the first two weeks, apart from focusing on what I need to do. So whatever I can cram into the last 10 days, I will.
I'm excited about Catherine Bohart. Her show is fucking brilliant.
Is acting the next big focus for you then?
That's literally it. By next year, if April comes and nothing in my situation has changed. I've failed Edinburgh. That's how I feel. Edinburgh is definitely going to be "You lot come and see it. Then we sit down and talk about these ideas that I've got. And hopefully, we can put at least one or two or three of them into action.
That means that by next year Summer, we should be filming my first show. Whatever that's going to be. I'm trying to provide stuff that the channels want and that's something for the 16-24 audience. So I'm trying to provide something for them, without selling my soul.
Outside of the Fringe, what have you been working on? What's coming up?
I'm making Bully a play. Bully's going to be a play. That'll be ready for next year. I'm hoping that someone takes that and turns that into a TV show, if not a film. I would prefer a feature film, but with a series, you get to come back over and over again.
I also don't want to be like Grange Hill where you start coming back over and over again and the point gets lost. Now everyone's a paedophile. Right? You don't really want that. I've got to be honest with my projects. I don't want to lie to myself and push for a series when it's not a series.
It could even be a short. When it comes to Bully, I want it to be something that's in the Drama curriculum, because I really want to change the way we address bullies and bullying. I really want it to start a conversation around - yes, it's not nice for someone to be bullied, especially if you're a child. If you're in single digits and you're bullying, something's happening to you that no one is addressing.
Why are you lashing out like that? Let's get into that. Let's not keep making them miss playtime and hoping it works. As somebody who went through it, talk to me. I didn't learn why my behaviour was bad until I was a teenager, which is bad. I'd been through how many teachers by this point? They just put you in a corner and tell you to turn around. It's not helping anybody, babes. Let's figure out how we can do this.
That's my main focus, but I've also got a podcast coming out. We were going to do the release before Edinburgh, but I don't think we are anymore. I'm doing a podcast with Lola Jagun, Comedy Central has given us a podcast called Can't Live Without and we're basically just talking to celebrities about things they can't live without. It's nice. It's fun. It's fresh. We've had some lovely guests. We had Gina Yashere on there as well which was fucking amazing.