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

Sophie Willan by Steve Ullathorne

Sophie Willan by Steve Ullathorne

I suppose my comedy brand is a fusion of my Northern roots and my time spent mincing around Queer Cabaret clubs and Live Art venues in my early twenties...So by that rationale; it's working-class, Northern, experimental, wild, personal and political.

Which comedians have been your biggest influence?

Earlier influences: Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, Peter Kay, Alan Bennett, and Billy Connelly.

More recent influences: Richard Prior, Robin Williams, Louis C K, Stewart Lee, Susan Calman, and Kevin Bridges

What random things make you laugh in everyday life?

It's awful to say, but moments of schadenfreude. Not anything serious but moments of honest panic and dismay on peoples face in a public place. Last week I saw a man get his bag stuck in the door of the tube because he was so desperate to squeeze on and his face of panic really made me laugh!

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

Every last gig that goes well is my best because it's the most recent - it's the most relevant to who I am now and the material I am doing. My last great gig was my preview run at The Lowry Theatre. I did the show to sell-out crowds and stand ovations every night - it was such a great feeling!

My worst gig - I did a gig at a festival a few years ago with my best mate, Lydia. I had to dress up as a garden gnome and she was dressed as an Avon Lady. We performed to seven confused strangers gurning in a yurt! One audience member tried to pick me up so Lydia rugby tackled him to the ground.

Do you still get nervous when you do a gig?

Sometimes yes. It depends on the atmosphere, what the stakes are and how prepared/confident I am with the material.

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

You get to meet loads of exciting new people, make friends, see shows, meet industry, showcase yourself and your show - It's 'Scollywood'!

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

In the show I talk about my mother a lot and her addictions etc. and when I performed my show at The Lowry, I invited groups working with Care Leavers, Homeless and Mental Health etc. I had a lot of Care Leavers approach me after the show and tell me they found it really inspiring. And there was a group of women who suffer with addiction problems whose kids are now in Care who told me that they were reassured by the way I talked about my mother. This meant a lot to me. I really want to continue to reach groups and people who will relate to the issues in the show. Not just Festivalgoers!

What is your advice to aspiring comedians?

It takes years of writing weird sh*t, performing in bizarre places and developing who you before you find your voice as a writer. Be prepared to go on that journey and have fun doing it. Don't be afraid to ask for money - even if there isn't any - there's no harm in politely asking... If you don't ask, you don't get!

What is the oddest heckle you've ever received?

'I'm a drug addict too!' It was more of a confession than a heckle, to be honest. I have a bit in my set where I talk about the attributes of drugs addicts and I think he must have got over excited!

What is next for you?

I'm working on my own scripted project with BBC Comedy.

Sophie Willan makes her Edinburgh debut with her show Sophie Willan: On Record at the Pleasance Courtyard Cellar each day at 4.45pm for tickets go to www.edfringe.com


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