Edinburgh Fringe Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Phil Nichol

Edinburgh Fringe Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Phil Nichol

There are Edinburgh Fringe legends and then there is Phil Nichol. The Cumbernauld-born, Canada-brought-up comic is doing his 29th show this year. He performed originally with madcap musical group Corky & The Juice Pigs and then later as a turbo-boosted solo perfomer. In 2006 – long overdue – he won the Edinburgh Comedy Award with a show, The Naked Racist, that was about as full-on as the the title makes it sound. Nichol is the ultimate ball of energy. He never seems to get tired and is a masterful storyteller, even when racing along in top gear. In his new show Too Much he takes an unflinching look at ageing, recognition, mental health, values, norms, patience, everything and conkers. Anything can happen in a Phil Nichol show. He once took all of his clothes off and danced in front of my friend. One thing you can be sure of is that his show will be one hell of a ride.

Phil Nichol’s new stand up show ‘Too Much’ will be at the Monkey Barrel 4 from 1st – 25th August at 9pm for tickets go to www.edfringe.com 

What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies and/or check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt and check for spinach between your teeth)

I get very nervous before each and every show. The bigger and more important the show, the higher my level of stress. So the last thing I do right before I go onstage is to start to question my existence. Why are we here? What do they want? What is the point? Who do I think I am? Where am I? How did I get here? How am I getting home? What time is it? Where’s the stage? What’s my name? Is it nice to be here? I wonder how they all are? The last thing I do before I go onstage is stress out. I guess I love that feeling. But sometimes it’s Too Much.

What irritates you?  

It’s loads of little things that irritate me. It’s silly but the life’s little irritations start to add up and become unbearable. I find myself screaming at little petty things. Little petty things like traffic lights on roundabouts. There’s a set of traffic lights at a junction so they say “Hey, lets get rid of these traffic lights and have a roundabout.” And then they build the roundabout and they think “Hey, you know what would make this roundabout really good? If we put some traffic lights on it”.  Make up your mind. Either be a roundabout or a set of traffic lights. Choose a side and stick to it. I don’t need a piece of road with an identity crisis. It’s like saying you’re vegetarian and then eating fucking fish. It’s just Too Much.

What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

I chased knife wielding Nazi Skinheads on bikes through the through streets of Amsterdam whilst completely naked and high on magic mushrooms. Fortunately, it just turned out to be two young teenagers delivering the morning papers. This became the basis of my Edinburgh Award winning show The Naked Racist. I think perhaps that I’d had a bit Too Much.

What is the most stupid thing you have ever done? 

I am a clown and sometimes I inadvertently go too far in search of a laugh. In my new show, Too Much, I tell the story of being chucked off of a Virgin train for teasing the Train Manager by quoting a funny yet filthy Derek and Clive sketch entitled the The Critics. I yelled into the summer air after he’d implored me to stop swearing at him. I wasn’t swearing at him. I was swearing into the air, proudly quoting a Richard Branson produced sketch. Stupidly, I kept up my foolish antics until the police arrived. What happened next is literally Too Much and the plot of the show.

What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy?

I’m surprised by the kindness of strangers and the rudeness of strangers in equal measure. I’ve received loads of lovely happy positive feedback from lovely happy positive people after the show. I’ve also been yelled at, insulted and slapped hard in the face. People can be so extremely rude. Sometimes punters are just Too Much.

Interview continues here.


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