Eight Steps Q&A

Eight Steps Q&A: James McNicholas

Published on Sunday 28 July 2019

Comedian James McNicholas offers some tips on how to get the most from the Edinburgh Festival, in eight steps…

1: Beyond posters and reviews, how do you suggest people pick shows to see at this year’s Fringe?
Throw a dart in Bristo Square, and whichever comedian it hits, you see their show.

2: What tips have you got for people trying to see as many shows as possible in one day – how can you power through?
I eat a packet of Haribo before every show to keep me going. One bag of Tangfastics per show should see you right.

3: When people are reaching peak Fringe, what tips do you have for chilling out during the Festival?
Go to the beach. Being hassled by seagulls instead of flyerers is a very welcome change.

4: What things do you think should be on every Fringe-goers Edinburgh Festival bucket list?
Anything except “walk up Arthur’s Seat”. Everyone bangs on about walking up Arthur’s Seat, but honestly who in God’s name wants to do that on a hangover? Forget about it, get on with your lives.

5: Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?
One year there was a show on at the Pleasance where, 20 minutes before his show, a guy would run around the courtyard completely naked except for a rugby ball over his genitals. He sold out every day.

6: The Fringe can be great for finding a new audience. What tips would you have for staying connected with that new audience beyond Edinburgh?
Social media. Why not replace the warmth of that beautiful live connection with the glacial coldness of the occasional ‘like’?!

7: Performing at the Fringe is partly about building a network. What tips have you got for people looking to make connections in the industry?
Sleep around. It’s certainly benefited [NAME REDACTED].

8: How would you recommend performers stay healthy during all the Fringe madness?
There is a myth that you cannot get fruit and vegetables in Edinburgh. This is not true: there is an old man who lives under one of the bridges who says he can get you an orange if you’ll watch him show you his party trick.

James McNicholas performed ‘The Boxer’ at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2019.

Photo: Idil Sukan