+3 Interview: Who’s the Daddy Pig?

“Before starting stand up comedy I was an actor, and one of the biggest jobs I had was playing Daddy Pig in the official stage production of Peppa Pig. Fast forward a few years and I became a dad in real life, and suddenly Peppa and her family were back in my life again.”

WHO: Philip Simon: Writer and Performer

WHAT: “Having played Daddy Pig in Peppa Pig, when Philip became a dad surely there was only one expert to turn to for parenting advice? Yes, that’s right, you’re not misreading this; Philip really did play Daddy Pig in Peppa Pig (the stage production, not the TV show, don’t get carried away!). Join Philip for an hour of award-winning stand-up comedy about dating, parenthood and, of course, Peppa Pig… just don’t bring the kids! Jewish Comedian of the Year 2015. BBC New Comedian Shortlist nominee. Writer for Mock the Week. ‘Never less than hilarious’ (The Stage).”

WHERE: PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth – Chamber Room (Venue 156) 

WHEN: 12:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This show will be my debut hour, but I have been at the Fringe every year since starting stand up comedy in 2011. Usually, it was just for a week or so to do some spots and show my face. Last year was my first time going for the whole month so I could do a work in progress of the current show.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

I’ve ticked a lot of professional boxes this year. I’ve continued to work as part of the rehearsal teams for Mock the Week and Taskmaster, and I’ve also travelled more for gigs. Apart from the UK, including The Comedy Store, in the past year I’ve worked in Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Crete, Cyprus and Israel, and next year I’m already booked for a run in Dubai.

Tell us about your show.

Before starting stand up comedy I was an actor, and one of the biggest jobs I had was playing Daddy Pig in the official stage production of Peppa Pig. Fast forward a few years and I became a dad in real life, and suddenly Peppa and her family were back in my life again.

As well as a (not-so-child-friendly) look at the world of Peppa Pig, I wanted to explore a number of themes in my show, including fatherhood and the importance of raising boys in today’s f*cked up world, thinking especially about gender stereotypes, equality and feminism.

I’ve done some work in progress shows at various festivals, but Edinburgh 2019 will be Who’s the Daddy Pig’s official debut. Depending on how the show goes and how it’s received I’d love to be able to tour it, especially looking at other festivals around the world (Peppa Pig is shown in 180 countries) and possibly linking it with mental health charities, especially those helping men coping with depression and their mental wellbeing.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I’m also running a compilation show with Aaron Levene called “Jew-O-Rama”, which brings the best Jewish (and JewISH) comedians at the Fringe. That’s at Whistlebinkies everyday at 5:15pm.

Some other people I’m excited to see are Joe Bor who’s doing a lovely show about his grandfather’s friendship with the actor Herbert Lom. He’s also doing a character show featuring “Posh Climber Jasper Cromwell Jones”. I’ve always enjoyed watching Jenny Collier’s shows each year, as well as Rachel Creeger, Aaron Simmonds and George Rigden whose preview I saw recently, along with Jen Brister, Abandoman and Mitch Benn. Oh, and if you want to be taken completely out of your comfort zone for some bonkers comedy brilliance, then you must go and see Candy Gigi Markham’s show. Don’t ask, just go, and thank me later!


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+3 Interview: FrontX

“My shows are all about the edge between the streets and that stage – exactly what I found at the Fringe.”

WHO: Milan Emmanuel: Director

WHAT: “FrontX shows a range of international street artists who combine exceptional energy and resilience. Their fascinating personal life stories are the main theme of the show. As spokespersons of our contemporary society, these performers embody the true sense of integration, since the first meaning of the verb to ‘integrate’ is ‘to make complete, whole’, and, in so doing, build a complete ensemble. What interests us most is highlighting their inner motivations and what pushes them to specialise in their unique techniques. How do these atypical individuals transcend their difficulties through their artistic practice?”

WHERE: Summerhall – Demonstration Room (Venue 26) 

WHEN: 15:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes, we are really exiting to be there!

This show is about humanity & diversity and we would like to spread it around the whole world.
So here is the best place to begin!

Last year, I went to prospect and I found this festival really exciting. My shows are all about the edge between the streets and that stage – exactly what I found at the Fringe. Finding such a diverse festival that also embraces these interactions correspond entirely with the FrontX spirit.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

After a few years of workshops and reaching out to different performers, I was finally able to create, with them, this show. Years of hardworking and difficult circumstances pushed us, even more, to see this project come to fruition. Since it’s formal creation, we have been touring around Belgium and France, where we have been getting some great reviews. Thanks to this effort, we were approached by the Wallonie-Brussels Federation to accompany them to Edinburgh, where I could put on this show that I feel is really rooted in the core values of the festival. They are helping us achieve the goal I set for our group last year and it is by far the biggest thing that has happened to us since last year’s Fringe.

We’ve played for thousands of young people and engaged with them about the purpose of the show – how to believe despite everything that limits you, how to achieve your dreams when you feel it’s impossible. Even if your dream is to be able to spin on your head!

Tell us about your show.

This show has been years in the making, ever since I met these crazy artists in the streets (some of them more than ten years ago). I’ve listened to each of their stories and was astounded by the way they’ve used dance and art to advance themselves in life, despite their circumstances.

I wrote this show with the help of the performers, all of whom are incredible and unique. We worked together to come up with a script and show that emphasizes each of their journeys.

The show is about their stories and their resilience: How they’ve transformed themselves through artistic practices; How they’ve used their differences and difficulties as strengths.

How Hip-Hop arts can help us to evolve.

Myself and the performers want to discuss how our differences create a better world. After this August, we’ll continue touring Belgium and France and we hope to continue our adventures in Edinburgh next year and then hopefully across the world.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

There are so many great shows I’ve already added to my list! I would be amiss to not mention my personal street show that I’m putting on, “Super Showman”, where I use superpowers to transform regular people into superheroes. I’ll be hard to miss in my bright yellow jumpsuit!

I would highly recommend the other shows the Wallonie-Brussels federation are bringing with them as well: Before the End, Steve Reich Project, Comète, Triple Buse, Buzz, and Are we not drawn to new erA. All of these performers have been putting on great work for the Belgian audiences and they’re really worth the effort to go see them.

And if they’re too exhausted by all the excitement in our show, they can rest and think about what they saw 😉


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+3 Interview: Tony Law: Identifies

“I made the huge mistake of thinking of myself as an artist. And financial success died right there that day. But come. Come see a comedy version of why people like Jazz and obscure classical music.”

WHO: Tony Law: Star and Lord

WHAT: “Tony Law Identifies the elements and as Canadian, Trinidadian, Celt, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, guy, working class, and autodidact. This show is a comedy show and it is original and funnier than all the other shows in Edinburgh if you are smart and funny. Otherwise it’s not if you are, for example, a dickhead. Otherwise. The best. ‘Impeccable’ (Times). ‘Surreal genius’ (Telegraph). Tony has appeared on Have I Got News For You, The Alternative Comedy Experience, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. **** (Guardian). **** (Times). **** (EdFestMag.com).”

WHERE: Monkey Barrel Comedy – Monkey Barrel 3 (Venue 515) 

WHEN: 12:15 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my 16th Show. This is my best one yet. I know it. Though it may be for real connoisseurs of comedy. This Tony it(sic). try to push the form and take the form to different places and look back with different eyes at least just for myself and my audience. Wait. That’s the point. I’ve had 16 goes at it. Of those 3 have been works of staggering funniness. Only 3 have achieved the 5 and 1 star nirvana. When shows get 5’s and 1,s it’s hit the spot. When you just know it’s so good beyond judgement. It’s a feeling. This is one of those.

Don’t get me wrong, the other shows were good. And I’ve put everything into them. But sometimes I just get a hunch I’ve cracked it proper. I love doing stand up comedy and if I could’ve stuck to the changes needed to become a mainstream success I would’ve done it. I’ve been far too selfish and into it. Into what I think is funny rather than what a greater amount of people would find the money. It’s why I remain poor and my family would wish I could have grown up and thought of them more. I made the huge mistake of thinking of myself as an artist. And financial success died right there that day. But come. Come see a comedy version of why people like Jazz and obscure classical music.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

My mother got Dementia. Probably that. She’s Trinidadian though and navigating from that strength. My mum’s always been surreal but this is taking her to new levels right out on the edge of conscience. I’m getting messages from the fire belly of Zarathustra reminding me of my comedy mission to confuse and elevate and initiate gut laughing.

Tell us about your show.

Tony Law Identifies is by me, Tony Law. An arthouseish, absurdity fest, time travel rant with a heart of gold shining out of Brexit Britain’s glorious punk mock soul. Tony Law Identifies is by me, Tony Law. It’s comedy from the stand-up comedy art form. It’s funny and unique. We travel to 1840’s Russian rivers for no good reason on to an Indonesian island 25000 years ago and into the sad dark heart of the 1987 Soviet Union. We meet a Rabbit and his best friend a Wulf. Music. We identify as Neanderthals and Indo-European horse peoples. Togetherness is achieved this way. Though in the end it’s just funny like a clown from a clown who’s funny.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Virtue Chamber Echo Bravo by the best stand up in Britain Phil Nichol and farmboy absurdist Tony Law do 20 different improvised shows. Or 20 separate written shows. Take your pick. Lesser than the sum of its parts. If you like car crashes that might inspire moments of genius then this shitfight is for you. Edfringe the old school way. Genuinely raw. That’s at the hives at 3:40


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+3 Interview: Shivani Thussu: Prefer Not to Say

“I met Freya doing improv and from day one I thought she was one of the funniest, most glorious legends I’d ever seen on stage.”

WHO: Shivani Thussu: Comedian

WHAT: “Do you have an opinion? Because we’d love to hear it! Shivani Thussu’s debut hour is set in a focus group that goes too far. As seen on Pls Like (BBC). One of Funny Women’s Ones to Watch (2018). Directed by award-winning comedian Freya Slipper.”

WHERE: Monkey Barrel Comedy – Monkey Barrel 2 (Venue 515) 

WHEN: 13:20 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I’ve been a lot since I was 18 to see shows, and have performed as an improviser in Jacuzii at the Pleasance for the last few years and done a few solo spots there but this is my first full hellish hour.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

The biggest thing is that I got an agent and was able to quit my job as a piano teacher and start writing comedy for TV full time. I’m not good at piano but I miss my students because they never told their parents when I showed them youtube tutorials if I couldn’t play their pieces.

Tell us about your show.

My show is set in a focus group where the audience are the focus group and I play the different characters facilitating it. I wrote it and I’m performing it and the genius comedian Freya Slipper directed it. It’s being produced by Brid Kirby at Fight in the Dog which is so cool cos I’ve always loved their shows. I met Freya doing improv and from day one I thought she was one of the funniest, most glorious legends I’d ever seen on stage. Feel extremely lucky to work with her. Doing previews in London now and will hopefully get to do it on the London eye one day.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Go and see my friends Flora Anderson and Theo McCabe and any of the Fight in the Dog or Berk’s Nest shows. I think Catherine Cohen’s show will be amazing, I saw it in London last year and it drove me insane.


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+3 Interview: Will Duggan: Class Two

“I have been to the festival every year since 2011, apart from last year when I decided to have a year off to avoid a full-scale mental breakdown.”

WHO: Will Duggan: Writer / performer

WHAT: “During an odd and turbulent time in recent history Will found himself questioning every poor decision he has ever made (namely everything he has ever said or done). He decided to talk this through with his four oldest friends and try to figure out what happened to the icon that he was destined to be, but ultimately failed in becoming. No problem thus far, however Will and his best friends haven’t spoken for 25 years. And also they are entirely fictional. Enjoy. **** (EdFestMag.com). **** (Skinny). ‘A must see for comedy aficionados’ (EdFestMag.com).”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker Three (Venue 33) 

WHEN: 15:15 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I have been to the festival every year since 2011, apart from last year when I decided to have a year off to avoid a full-scale mental breakdown. It was lovely. I went on holiday and enjoyed the summer with my friends. I cannot recommend it enough. Seriously, not going to the festival is amazing. Obviously, it’s nice to be back and that.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

I have moved house. My new house is very nice, although the bathroom suite is avocado. I told my dad that I didn’t like it and he said that it was ‘very of its time’. I think that’s a silly response. But the shower has great water pressure.

Tell us about your show.

My show is about whether the child version of me would be happy with the adult version of me. Its written by me. It stars me. I chose the walk-on music. After the festival, I imagine it’ll do a world tour of arenas.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I recommend that audiences go and see things that appeal to them. If they read the blurb for a show and think ‘no, I wouldn’t enjoy that’ I’d recommend they don’t buy tickets. If you want actual recommendations I thoroughly recommend Tarot, Rachel Fairburn, George Fouracres. Thank you.


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+3 Interview: Elements of Freestyle

“The story is autobiographical and it does what it says on the tin. I have been telling these anecdotes in the pub for years.”

WHO: Marco Gerris from ISH: Artistic Director

WHAT: “In this adrenaline-fuelled explosion of extreme urban sports, breakdance, music and theatre, ISH Dance Collective create breathtaking poetry in every single moment. Elements of Freestyle is about those redeeming seconds that make a complicated trick ultimately succeed; about the freestylers’ total focus, the ecstasy and feeling of complete and total freedom. In a spectacular fusion of breakdance, inline skating, skateboarding, freestyle basketball, BMX and freerunning, the audience discovers the artistry behind the trick. Exquisitely beautiful and heart-poundingly exciting, you simply will not believe your eyes. ‘Unbelievable… very special’ ***** (MusicalNieuws.nl). ‘Urban arts elevated to dance’ ***** (Theaterkrant.nl).”

WHERE: Pleasance at EICC – Lennox Theatre (Venue 150) 

WHEN: 16:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No it’s not my first time. I visited it three times: the first time outside the festival, just checking some cool places/options where we could perform our show. The last two times during the festival to check out the awesome vibes from the massive crowd and shows.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

I created another show called ‘Modern Samurai’ inspired on the movie ‘Yamakasi’ (first movie with the discipline parkour) with spectacular Breakdance and parkour.

Tell us about your show.

I created another show called ‘Modern Samurai’ inspired on the movie ‘Yamakasi’ (first movie with the discipline parkour) with spectacular Breakdance and parkour.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

When you’re there open your eyes and ears and the vibe will tell you where to go! Endless possibilities..:) Perhaps Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at Pleasance Grand and BalletBoyz: Them/Us at Underbelly McEwan Hall!


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+3 Interview: Mary Houlihan: Me and Jack

“I’m based in New York. The last time I ran this show here there was an English guy in the audience, so of course, I grilled him afterwards if there were any cultural references in the show that won’t make sense to a UK audience.”

WHO: Mary Houlihan: Writer/Director/Performer

WHAT: “Comedian Mary Houlihan tells the true (fake) story of her torrid romance with 82-year-old actor Jack Nicholson. Joke-packed storytelling, musical numbers, visual aids and a giant talking Jack Nicholson head. Think A Star Is Born, but dumb (in a good way). Mary has been lauded by Vulture, Forbes and Entertainment Weekly, and was named the ‘best of what’s next’ by Paste Magazine, and a ‘comedian we love’ by Time Out. She has written for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s and appeared on Broad City, Difficult People, The Chris Gethard Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and more.”

WHERE: PBH’s Free Fringe @ Bar Bados Complex – Room 4 (Venue 32) 

WHEN: 14:30 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes! This is my first time going to Edinburgh, or anywhere in Europe really. I’m based in New York. The last time I ran this show here there was an English guy in the audience, so of course, I grilled him afterwards if there were any cultural references in the show that won’t make sense to a UK audience. He said no, and also very excitedly alerted me that one of the pictures in my slideshow is of The Sugababes. I had no idea who they were!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

It’s my first time here, so let me think if there was anything cool that happened this past year… Well, I played a wacky neighbor in a couple episodes of “Danny’s House,” a new TV show starring Danny Brown, a U.S. rapper (do you guys like Danny Brown there?!). That was really fun. I also had a tiny part on an episode of “Broad City.” Also I got flown out to Montana to do my show that I’m bringing to Edinburgh, in this fancy renovated movie theater. It was -18 degrees Celcius outside, and there were these gorgeous snowy mountains all over the horizon. That was a pretty cool getaway from New York. And I got an essay of mine published in McSweeney’s Quarterly (again, I’m not sure if anyone’s heard of these things over there!). The essay is mostly about my Irish and Irish-American relatives’ experiences with Irish-English conflict, as perceived through my very nominally-Irish American eyes.

Tell us about your show.

The show is a comedic one-woman show about my fictional biography, particularly my wild (again, fictional) romance with Jack Nicholson. It’s heavily inspired by two movies, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942) about an Irish immigrant’s journey from impoverished Vaudeville actor to Hollywood star, and Scorsese’s “New York, New York” (1977) which is… well, it’s basically the same story as “A Star Is Born.” So I’m the talented young starlet and Jack Nicholson is the romantic curmudgeon.

I wrote and directed it, and am on stage the whole time, acting with my “co-star,” which is an animated picture of Jack Nicholson’s head which speaks in pre-recorded dialogue. I’ve performed it in New York City, Montana, Buffalo, Rochester, and Los Angeles. After Edinburgh, I think I’m gonna go home and write a new show.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

A lot of really cool Americans are going this year, who people may not be familiar with. I would HIGHLY recommend seeing Jamie Loftus, Catherine Cohen, Dave Maher, Emmy Blotnick, Anna Drezen, and Zach Zimmerman, who all have solo shows at Fringe. I’m really excited to see their shows and have some familiar faces around during my trip.


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