Ben Target – 'I foolishly resurrect the most loathed of art forms'

This article is from 2017

Ben Target – 'I foolishly resurrect the most loathed of art forms'

credit: Ed Moore

Maverick talent with a solid fanbase brings his new tale to the Fringe

Previous hours at the Edinburgh Fringe have platformed Ben Target (the surname should be pronounced as though it's French) as an innovative comic who imbues his crowd with a conspiratorial almost cult-like haze. This year, it seems he's dumping some of the madcap oddness for (get this) an actual narrative tale. Can it be true?

This year, your show has a story: can you tell us more?
I've kept it simple to avoid becoming smug or losing my place. It's about two brothers who grow up together, then shit hits the fan. So they mount a rescue operation for each other, separately but together. Did I mention it's a hoot? I saved up all my fun tokens over the year and crammed them into the crevices where I ran out of story.

It's being advertised as a 'softer' show than your usual ones, why go soft now?
I wanted to make something that chimed with how I've been feeling: tender, reflective, whimsical. I'd been doing physically demanding shows for a while and I'd worn myself out. My delicate ego took a tumble and I had an impulse to share some experiences close to my heart without feeling I was exploiting them for attention. The gentleness is an attempt to be respectful to the subject matter. It's a new chapter in which I foolishly resurrect the most loathed of art forms: the melodrama.

What advice would you give to newer comedians heading to the Fringe for the first time?
Stay hydrated.

Who are you looking forward to this year?
Bonkers Lucy Pearman's debut show, Maid of Cabbage (she wears black Air Max: peng), and John Hastings' new show, Audacity (he wears purple All Stars: maverick).

What are your Edinburgh must-dos?

You've done both free and paid shows at the Fringe: which is best?

Free shows give the audience the opportunity to try something without financial reprisal and this can help keep my spirit of experimentation alive. With paid shows, people might expect you to make something they will love, which might not be possible, but you can deliver something with heart and soul and gusto.

What is your favourite joke by your favourite comedian?
'A snake bite emergency repair kit is a body bag': Mitch Hedberg.

Ben Target's Orangeade, Heroes @ Dragonfly, 3–27 Aug (14), 5pm, £5 or Pay What You Want

Ben Target's Orangeade

  • 3 stars

Plosive Productions / Heroes of Fringe (PWYW) Gentle comedy. Mellow drama. Balmy ballgames. Peeling back the years with a softer show, the sunset on an endless summer from ‘maverick physical comedian (and Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee) Ben Target’ (Guardian). ‘Impressively funny’ (Scotsman). ‘Imagine there was no Ben…