| 20 questions: Dan Clark

20 questions: Dan Clark

Which comedian(s) inspired you to become a stand-up?

There was never really anyone who made me want to do stand up specifically. So I'll answer it in the style of a My Space page. Influences: Rik Mayall, Woody Allen, Fry And Laurie, Python, Gene Wilder, Coogan, Iannucci, Eddie Murphy, Bill Hicks, Vic and Bob, and Arnab Chanda.

Where and when was your first gig?

I did sketch comedy from around 1998 - 2002. Then I started stand up in 2004. In the interim I brought a "one man sketch show with links toaudience that featured another performer" to Edinburgh.

How did it go?

The first few stand-up gigs were terrifying, obviously. But I had some experience on stage as an actor, which helped. Although the two are very, very different. Stand up is the only form of entertainment where the audience are allowed to shout at you and tell you they think you're shit while you're actually performing. In fact, that's what some audience pay to go and see. People don't shout out "This is shit!" in the middle of a play.

What's the best gig you've ever had?

Bath. February 2007.

And the worst?

Gloucester, last year. In a pub full of proper working-class geezers, who didn't want to hear some metrosexual musings on the effects of the internet or general modern male neurosis. They had the football on a big screen about 10 feet away from the "stage". A free gig too, which is always the worst. They don't care. It's literally the only time I've ever had to give up and just walk off stage. Urgh.

What's your ultimate ambition in comedy?

To make the "mother in law" gag fashionable again.

What's the worst thing you've ever regretted saying on stage?

I often do a little routine about the Amish. But one time it got very negative reaction. I couldn't work out why, so I did some more. The audience were hissing. After the gig someone told me that the day before, some poor Amish kids had been massacred. I just hadn't seen the news that day. People thought I was doing it to be deliberately offensive. Which I wasn't. I mean, when do the Amish ever make thenews?

What's the worst thing a critic has ever said about you?

Not sure actually. But what ever it is, it'll be written by Kate Copstick.

When did you first come to Edinburgh, and what did you do?

I was in a play back when I was a teenager. A production of The Threepenny Opera.

What's been the biggest change since then?

Probably the loss of the old Gilded Balloon. And the Underbelly's massive rise. Late N Live was the only late night show, and the only place to be after 1am. It was awesome. It stank of piss, but it was such a great atmosphere. I miss that.

Is the Fringe still where stars can be spotted?

Yes. But not like it used to.

What's you favourite Edinburgh experience?

This year it's been playing at Spank! I've had such fun gigs there

And your worst?

I've managed to avoid reading most of my reviews. But I accidentally read a so-so one the other day and I regretted it. It wasn't even a bad review, but there was some piece of criticism that seeped into my brain and festered. I'm over it now. Fuckers!

Where's your favourite place to eat in Edinburgh?

I'm enjoying the Italian on Nicholson Street this year. Something Roma?

And to drink?

Trying not to drink as much this year. I've managed to go to Brookes only twice so far. That place is a vortex. You go in for one, and leave 8 hours later.

Where do you go to escape the festival?

Stay indoors with my best friend, the internet.

What's your view of comedy awards like the if.comedy?

Good if you get nominated. Ethically wrong if you don't.

What one bit of advice would you give to someone visiting the festival?

Don't take crack. (To be honest, that's advice I'd give anyone)

Apart from your own, what other show would you recommend?

My Space again: Paul Foot, Arnab Chanda, Tim Key, Tom Basden, Kitson, and Spank!

  • Dan Clark: Unfangled is at the Pleasance at 20:30

    Published: 21 Aug 2007

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