Andrew Maxwell - The Lights Are On

This article is from 2011.

Andrew Maxwell

The King of Comedy returns to his ancestral pile

To Andrew Maxwell, there are few sounds better than a roomful of people laughing. All the better if they’re laughing at something the tiny Dubliner with the massive talent has just said. ‘Laughter speeds shit up,’ insists the man crowned King of Comedy by E4 back in 2004. ‘It’s shorthand to say we all agree or have just recognised or sensed something. I don’t believe in séances, but the spirit of a room as well as the morale of the troops can quickly be lifted. And you as the comic don’t own the laughs, you’re the agent of them; those laughs are in those people, you are just the catalyst.’

For this year, Maxwell is back doing a full run having had to trim last year’s festival jaunt to appear in an Irish TV show in which he coached a Gaelic football team: ‘it was a lot of fun, but I am a terrible manager.’ There’s no doubt that Edinburgh fits Maxwell very nicely. ‘It is without doubt one of my favourite cities. It’s a bit smelly with the weird hops pong that is released at random times of the day; there’s the grumpy taxi drivers, the junkies and the giant posh people. And I love fannying around in Armstrongs looking at costumes and props that I don’t need.’

The Lights Are On has Maxwell playing his biggest Fringe room to date, but as a comic who has entertained hardcore Republicans and Loyalists deep in their own Belfast patches, playing in front of a few extra ‘giant posh people’ is unlikely to faze him. ‘I just fancied it,’ Maxwell says, pretty much confirming how laidback he is about the whole thing. ‘If you’re in a bigger room you’ve got a bigger chance at it. My agent said, “Will you be depressed if it’s half-full on a Tuesday?” No, I’ll be depressed because it’s fucking Tuesday.’

Assembly George Square, 623 3030, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 9pm, £13–£15 (£12–£14). Previews until 5 Aug, £8.

Andrew Maxwell at the Secret Policeman's Ball

Andrew Maxwell: The Lights Are On

  • 4 stars

Star of the Edinburgh Fringe and comedy award nominee Andrew Maxwell returns with a brand new hour of mischievous charm and boundary-nudging wit. Sold-out 2006-2010. As seen on BBC’s Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You, ITV’s Celebrity Juice, a regular slot on RTE’s The Panel and Comic Relief's 24 Hour Panel People.

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