Max & Ivan

Max & Ivan

Sketch and character duo comprising Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez
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Edinburgh giveth and Edinburgh taketh away

Max & Ivan recall their most memorable gigs

Best venue

Pleasance Queen Dome, Edinburgh

OK – so old Queeny is our Edinburgh venue this year (and has been the last 3.5 years we've performed there), but we honestly believe it's the best around. 

Back in 2010 when we first stepped into the room we were not only blown away by a young Bo Burnham performing Words Words Words, but by the amphitheatre-like layout which means everyone is in spitting distance of the action (possibly something Adam Riches has already tried, not sure).

Sure, we've performed in bigger rooms, and in spaces less intimately associated with the illegal war on Iraq (rumour has it the seating used to be Tony Blair's touring conference auditorium), but for us it'll always be home.

…Unless we one day perform in Melbourne Art Centre's Fairfax Studio, which basically looks like the Queen Dome but three times the size, with comfier seats and in a full-time theatre. I mean that sounds much better.

Worst venue

C Venues Blue Room, Edinburgh

Edinburgh giveth and Edinburgh taketh away. This room was actually fairly nice once you were inside (we shared it with the now West End stalwarts Mischief Theatre) but the recently-named 'worst Edinburgh festival venue' haunts us to this day.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly why it was so bad, from the dismissive French box office staff member who – in front of us – strongly advised a customer not to buy tickets to our show because we were 'erm, not so funny', to the time we found an enormous human shit outside the entrance (how did we know it was human? Turns out when you see one, you just know).

Every day we regretted paying thousands of pounds for the privilege of performing there. Does the 'C' in C Venues stand for 'Consistent human rights abuses'? No! But imagine if it did.

Worst gig

Laughing Horse New Act Of The Year Semi-Finals, Wimbledon

We had made it into the semi-finals of a national comedy competition! The audience was filled with friends who had not seen us perform yet! It was the third gig we had ever performed! Nobody told us we could re-use any of our material!

We spent the night before writing what turned out to be a new but completely incomprehensible set, which we nervously rushed through in front of a confused, and extremely silent audience. Afterwards a kind-looking woman whispered to her mate 'what the fuck was that?' and Ivan burst into tears.

You never bomb as hard as you first bomb. Or at least that's what we hope…

Gig that taught us the biggest lesson

Don't tempt fate

Back in 2012 we filmed a little promo video in which we claimed all music festivals would be rained off, all except for a cool new one called NOVA that we were performing in later that year…

This is what we made:

Aaaaaand this is what happened.

Touché, god.

A month's rain fell on the festival site in the space of 12 hours. The whole thing was horrific. As we arrived, we drove past festival stewards with haunted, dead eyes, mouthing the words 'Turn back, turn back'. Half the ticket holders didn't even bother showing up and those that did regretted every second. We performed our 'set' while mild looting happened around us (the comedy tent's chairs became sought-after mud-free seating).

Leaving was even more of an ordeal. Our car got stuck in a ditch, and when pushing it, Max lost one of his shoes in the mud - and Ivan had to tear a locked gate off its hinges in order to drive onto the main road.

Abandoman still smashed the gig, somehow.

Best gig

Max & Ivan: Commitment, 8.20pm Pleasance Dome, July 31 to August 26 (not 14)

Ah fuck it – let's tempt fate.

We think this is our BEST SHOW and it's not going to rain in Edinburgh AT ALL.

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Published: 26 Jul 2019

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Max And Ivan: Exposed


Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Max and Ivan: Televisionaries


Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Max And Ivan


Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Max and Ivan Are... Con Artists


Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Max and Ivan: The Reunion


Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Max and Ivan: The End


Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Max & Ivan: Our Story


Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Max & Ivan: The Reunion


Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Max and Ivan's Prom Night


Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Max & Ivan: Commitment


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