Dundonian Paul Pirie brings stand-up to 2013 Edinburgh Free Fringe
When funny bones meets focus
This article is from 2013.
A mainstay of Scottish stand-up who decamped to Essex, Paul Pirie has always possessed a maverick streak. Expelled for constantly clowning around in school, the Dundonian dedicated his job at Primark to cheering up depressed colleagues and customers. A ‘resting’ actor, he once ran a pub quiz where the top prize was his flat keys. When he began performing comedy in 2004, though, his thespian training proved invaluable, affording him the ‘stage presence and projection’ to complement what’s ‘quite a physical face’.
Five years on from his solo Edinburgh debut, Pirie’s show has become more universal, after he ‘slowed down and eradicated everything parochial from my act, like bits about Gaelic TV and even Dundee’. In truth, he found adapting to the London circuit easier than most. Returning north is now an enjoyable ‘opportunity to let my hair down and get into the old Scottish mindset. There’s a social element of friends and family being here too.’
Still ‘manic’ these days, but now a leaner, hungrier comic with a parallel sketch-writing career and desire for more broadcast work, he long ago banished some sniping that he was coasting along on naturally funny bones and booze. Appearing as part of the Free Festival, he suggests you ‘put a sandwich in my bucket every day: that would rock!’
After rejecting the title Gags to Riches (‘I don’t really do gags and I’m not rich’), he’s suddenly worried that naming his hour after its principal subject matter (Me) ‘does sound very egotistical now that you mention it. I genuinely feel that the better the title, the shitter the show, because you’ve spent too long on the former and not enough on the latter. I should have gone for Fuck the Title! My Show’s Awesome!’
Laughing Horse @ The White Horse, 557 3512, 1–25 Aug, 9.45pm, free.