Fringe comedy debut: Rod Woodward
The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013
This article is from 2013.
What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut?
I think I'm always grateful for some fatherly advice I received from my dad (curiously) which has taught me never to get into a dialogue with hecklers. I remember being bullied at school and he said: ‘Son, always remember that sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you!’ Next time that bully came up I was ready. He started verbally abusing me and I fronted up to him and said: ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!’ And I watched as the realisation dawned in his eyes and he hung his head, turned and walked away … And went and got a stick. That's why I always give hecklers the benefit of the doubt.
What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice?
My mate Steve is a massive Clint Eastwood fan and he told me that ‘every man's gotta know his limitations’ (Dirty Harry) which I thought was a bit negative. His favourite Dirty Harry quote is when Harry beats up Scorpio the killer, and the chief of police tells him that he can't be doing it because ‘the man's got rights’. And Harry comes out with the classic, ‘well, I'm all broken up about that man's rights’. Steve's a builder by trade and he always regretted that this was not a quote you could crow-bar into an everyday conversation until he did an office refurbishment recently which involved putting in a stained glass window. There was some dispute over payment and after six months he lost his patience, went round and threw a brick through the window. The secretary came running out and said, ‘you can't do this! My boss has got rights!’ He never got paid but it was worth it just for the line.
Imagine this is September: looking back at August, what would constitute a successful Fringe?
Having enough money left to get home! A bit like that bloke who won a competition playing the spoons. The prize was a one-way flight to China. Course, they don't have spoons in China so he's got no chance of getting back. They don't know what the hell he's doing.
In krugerrands, how much do you expect to lose during the Fringe?
Think I'll break even in krugerrands … Bit more worried about the 12 grand in sterling I'll be losing!
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?
Listen, I'm taking my wife of 13 years with me (and I know that's young even for a Filipino). But seriously, when you've been married that long, any shag is a festival shag!
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 find the more I drink the funnier I get but I'm sure I don't drink anything like the average festival-goer. Listen, there's nothing more disheartening than peeping through the curtains before you go on and seeing a blurry audience. Anyway, I'm gonna toe the line because my uncle died from alcohol abuse: my auntie got pissed and stabbed him.
What qualities do you expect from a Fringe venue?
I think it always helps if the people can find a venue that people aren't afraid to go into. I haven't seen my venue yet but I'm at The Caves so I fear the worst. I'm not sure potholers are famed for their sense of humour.
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?
As my dad always says, ‘sticks and stones … ’ I refer the right honourable gentleman to my previous answer.
Next year, will you consider returning as a double act?
If my schizophrenia keeps developing as it is, certainly. Won't we? Yes, of course we will!
If you are in a double act, will you consider returning solo next year?
As I said my wife is with me so we are a kind-of double act. But if I come back on my own that means she will have divorced me after this Fringe.
Do you undertake any superstitious rituals before going on stage?
I'm very superstitious about the build-up to an evening show. I never look out of the window in the morning, ‘cause that would leave me with nothing to do in the afternoon.
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 think I'd be going out as a Rod Woodward tribute act.
The Caves, 556 5375, 2–25 Aug (not 13), 6.20pm, £7–£8. Preview 1 Aug, £5.