Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Ivo Graham discusses Bow Ties and Johnnies
The Old Etonian tackles his public schooling and having 'a genuine relationship with issues'
This article is from 2014.
Show titles Ivo Graham has reluctantly rejected include Privately Educated, Sexually Active and the brilliant Eton Mess. His debut, Binoculars, traced the 23-year-old’s distinct lack of success with girls and was, according to his father, his ‘one chance to present the most innocent version of himself’ before he began complicating the picture.
This year’s follow-up, Bow Ties & Johnnies, is both comprehensive, as he celebrates his relationship with a woman, and decidedly public school with this ‘outed’ Old Etonian lifting the lid on his exclusive education. Still, his new, cocksure stage swagger is underscored with knowing self-awareness and his ready deprecation has never been cynical distortion. Those ‘little victories with girls as a teenager were such important, potent, nostalgic memories for me’, and yet his familiarity with the ‘young, male, socially awkward comic cliché’ meant Binoculars was time-lagged, a ‘slight betrayal’ of the fact that he’s now ‘a socially competent person’.
Although a late bloomer with women, Graham was undoubtedly a comedy prodigy. Youngest winner, at 19, of So You Think You’re Funny, he appeared as part of the Fringe’s prestigious Comedy Zone showcase before graduating from Oxford, fielding heckles like ‘fuck off you foetus!’. Deeply thoughtful about his vocation, he questions his ambition to perform relationship material, as a sort of comedic rite of passage, before he’d even had a relationship.
‘It’s pretentious to try and find it within yourself before you’re there as a person, let alone ready to talk about it as a comic,’ he admits. ‘I was doing comedy clubs with three acts a night, some talking about it insightfully, others a bit more “take my wife!”. Ultimately, you do end up in a genuine relationship with issues, thinking “oh God, I know about this from being a comedian!” Which is truly odd.’
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 2–24 Aug (not 11), 8.15pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9). Previews 30 Jul–1 Aug, £6.