Fringe comedy debut: Carly Smallman

The comedian performs debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013


This article is from 2013.

Fringe comedy debut: Carly Smallman

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut?
I have been given a shedload of advice pre-Fringe. Backstage at Brighton Komedia the other week, comedian Stephen Grant advised me to play at as many extra gigs as I could, which seems like a great idea providing my voice holds out! However, I think the most useful piece of advice comes from my mum who is an Edinburgh native. She simply told me to ‘take a waterproof jacket’ and ‘don’t get too drunk’. Ha!

What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice?
My best friend told me that whilst I’m in Edinburgh I should ‘try to shag someone famous’. I don’t see how this could prove useful in any way whatsoever.

Imagine this is September: looking back at August, what would constitute a successful Fringe?
Without wanting to sound trite, I just want to make sure my audiences laugh loads and have a good time! With this being my debut show I honestly don’t know what to expect. A couple of good reviews would be a bonus but I’m going to Edinburgh to improve as a comedian and prove to myself that I can create a decent show. It would be nice if I wasn’t in horrible amounts of debt too.

In krugerrands, how much do you expect to lose during the Fringe?
I expect to lose krugerrands of sanity, krugerrands of sleep and hopefully krugerrands of weight. (What is a krugerrand?!).

Back in the old days, there used to be a thing called ‘the festival shag’. Is this ancient tradition likely to play any part in your thinking during August?
Having been to the Fringe several times I am incredibly well acquainted with ‘the festival shag’. In fact, I have partaken in this time-honoured tradition a number of times. However, this year my foof will be strictly off-limits. No shagging before the big game. I’m like a boxer, except not physically fit in any way.

Back in the old days, comedians would drink alcohol solidly for a whole month and still manage to get out and do their show every day: how much are you likely to imbibe per day?
I never drink before I go on stage because I am a total lightweight. My granny can out-drink me! For this very reason I will be limiting my alcohol intake over the month of August. I’m not sure what I’m limiting it TO, but I feel that getting completely wrecked every night isn’t a great idea (it can lead to ‘festival shags’).

What qualities do you expect from a Fringe venue?
Heat. Lots of heat. And lovely front-of-house staff.

Will you read your reviews before your run is over and if so, how do you think they will affect you as a comedian and as a human being?
I shan’t be reading any reviews until the end of my run. Whilst it would be nice to get some good reviews (and I hope reviewers do enjoy it), I’m not performing for the reviewers. I’m performing for the lovely folk who decide to take a punt on a Fringe debutante!

Next year, will you consider returning as a double act?
I was in a double act in 2010 with super-duper lady Luisa Omielan. We had a show called You’re Not the One: A Guide to Love and Dating. We basically helped people through their love-life woes (despite being two clueless singletons at the time!). If the right project or person came along I would consider doing it again.

Do you undertake any superstitious rituals before going on stage?
I keep my plectrum in my bra, so before I go onstage I stuff my hand down said bra to check that it’s there (even though I already know it is).

If you were about to perform at the Fringe for your tenth year, where would you expect your career to be at that point?
I have so much that I would like to achieve over the course of my career! I’d like to continue to progress as a comic, do more scriptwriting, create something commissionable for the radio, host a chat show, have my own sell-out smash-hit tour, and find time to reproduce with a willing volunteer. If I have managed to successfully achieve even one of those things by my tenth year at the Fringe (where I hope to be in a much larger venue!) I will be laughing.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, 3¬–25 Aug (not 13), 7.30pm, £8–£10 (£6–£8). Previews 31 Jul–2 Aug, £5.

Carly Smallman - Romantic Lovesong On Rob Brydon Show

Appalling Carly Smallman

  • 2 stars

RBM. Carly Smallman is appalling. At 27 she thinks she will probably never own a house, meet the one or stop watching cartoons. She tells strangers that she works for NASA just to sound more exciting, and binge eats in public changing rooms. A warm, honest and very funny stand up show (with songs) which looks at the…


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