Please tell us about your brand of comedy- what can audiences expect?

Ben Van Der Velde

Ben Van Der Velde

A mixture of silliness, bad anthropology, friendly audience interaction, story-telling and one extremely bad pun that I'm disproportionately proud of.

Which comedians have been your biggest influence since you decided this was your path?

Eddie Izzard, Spike Milligan, Mark Thomas, Joan Rivers and Fozzie Bear.

What random things make you laugh in everyday life?

Daft things my wife does (she managed to get yawning wrong last week, it was amazing), animals trying to style out losing their balance, angry drivers.

Please tell us about your best and worst moment on stage so far.

Best Moment: finding a horse trainer in the audience and getting her up on stage to demonstrate her methods, along with a very burly and compliant bouncer who acted as the horse.

Worst Moment: the first four gigs my family came to. I died at every single one and took every ounce of my persuasive skills to convince them that I wasn't delusional.

Do you still get nervous when you do a gig?

Sometimes - depends on the gig, what's happened in my life that day, what I had for breakfast and how many crossbows I think might be in the audience.

Why is Edinburgh Fringe Festival such a great platform for comedians?

You have an audience that wants to be there, rather than just popping to a club as part of a night out. That's not the case all the time in the other 11 months of the year, but can quite often be. Also, you have an hour to do what you want with. I host a lot of shows and love being part of a team of comedians who go out to entertain a room together, but there's a different kind of challenge when it's all on you and you have to reveal things to an audience you might not at more conventional gigs. Plus - and don't take this the wrong way Edinburgh - there are likely to be Glaswegians in the audience. They are definitely the funniest audience members in the UK, so a laugh from them counts double.

Who are you looking forward to seeing as an audience member?

In my show? Nicola Sturgeon, The Rock, David Bowie returning from the dead and Fozzie Bear.

What is your advice to aspiring comedians?

Don't get too attached to your material - the very best acts I know are more than happy to throw stuff away that works and start anew because they want more than just good laughs, they want to take the roof off. Be prepared for 90% of everything you write to be terrible, but that 10% at the top is worth it. The only way to make that worthwhile is write every single day.

What is the oddest heckle you've ever received?

It wasn't strictly a heckle, but I got brilliantly owned by a chap called Ricky at a gig I did for Mencap. It's a gig put on by people with learning disabilities and about 75% of the audience have them too. Ricky was a teenager with Downs Syndrome and was wearing a rugby shirt. I asked him how many games of rugby he'd played in his life and he shot back immediately with "well I don't know, do I, I'm not dead yet." Ricky 1 - 0 Ben.

What is next for you?

More gigging, hopefully a mini-tour of this show if it goes well, a new podcast that I'm launching in September and a restraining order from Fozzie Bear.

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