Punt and Dennis
The right stuff
This article is from 2007.
It’s quite astonishing that Punt and Dennis, one of the household names of British comedy, have never quite performed a live show in Edinburgh as a duo. They have been up regularly to record Radio 4’s The Now Show in the past and both have plenty of experience doing student shows but Stuff and Nonsense is a first for them. ‘We are both very excited about it for that very reason,’ says Steve Punt who confesses there was a time when he had to reclaim August for himself because he had been to Edinburgh almost too often. ‘I completely re-invented the Edinburgh experience when I came up a couple of years ago just as a punter, and I think the key is to be part of it and spend the rest of the time seeing other stuff.’
Hugh Dennis is equally peachy-keen about the Festival experience and admits: ‘Edinburgh is one of the four places I could live along with London (where I do live) Sydney and Cape Town; all for different reasons.’ When I spoke to him, Dennis had just returned from the Haut Pyrenees where he had taken part in the 200km Etape du Tour, the amateur leg of the Tour de France. He completed it in 11 hours and 7 minutes: ‘I was an hour ahead of the “the broom”, the vehicle that gathers the slower riders and disqualifies them.’
Despite Dennis’ continental adventure, it’s matters closer to home that concern them both in their show, more specifically the significance of being British, or indeed Scottish. ‘It’s genuinely interesting to find out where people feel a lot less British,’ muses Punt. ‘If you watch footage of the 1966 World Cup Final every flag there is the Union Jack which has now been completely replaced by the St George flag. Comedy is usually about the common ground, what people share rather than divides them is where the laughs are. But these differences are genuinely interesting.’ Are there any unifying factors to being British now? ‘Yes’ they chime, ‘to complain bitterly about something before it happens, like the Olympics, but really get into it when it’s actually happening!”
Punt and Dennis, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 10–13 Aug, 4pm, £12 (£10.50).