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

Helen Duff

Helen Duff

Clowning, chaos and a very messy and magical climax of orgasmic proportions.

Which comedians have been your biggest influence?

Performers who take risks, allow themselves to be vulnerable and truthful on stage in the aim of bringing out painfully funny foolishness - Lucy Hopkins, Spencer Jones and Kim Noble really made me want to up my game with their shows last year.

What random things make you laugh in everyday life?

My granny used to sing songs off the cuff while making tea, beautifully light in melody, bitterly pessimistic in sentiment. That mix always gets me giggling.

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

I often get the audience involved in my work - clowning is all about live experience and immediate connection. Sometimes, if the audience is at that awkward '16 years old and on a first date stage', the idea of being chatted up by a woman dressed as a sperm can be utterly horrifying. For me, feeding off and finding the fun in that horror can kick the show into top gear. An audience member lit his own hand on fire last year at Edinburgh Fringe. I was terrified. He said it was the best show he'd ever seen!

Do you still get nervous when you do a gig?

Definitely - that's how I know it still matters. I like pushing myself to take risks on stage; an element of the unknown stops your show going stale.

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

Everyone's in it together, slogging for audience support, good reviews, the chance to try out your material in front of more eyes than you'll probably see again for the entire next eleven months. It pushes you to breaking point and on that edge is where you can find some real fun.

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

Sitting in my show? The quiet surprises. Come With Me is about my quest to have my first orgasm, live on stage, whilst dressed as a sperm. The way people throw themselves into the finale - banana bashing, unicorn riding, fire blazing, - always blows me away.

What is your advice to aspiring comedians?

Keep doing it - I've gone to gigs in the worst mood and walked out feeling like I'm flying. That unpredictability can be a curse but it's pretty addictive.

What is the oddest heckle you've ever received?

A mum bought her 13 year old son along to a Come With Me work in progress; they're the most enthusiastic banana masters we've had so far.

What is next for you?

Edinburgh is a whole world of work condensed into a single month, but at the same time I'll be keeping half an eye on the radio play adaptation of my first solo theatre show, Vanity Bites Back. And the podcast of Come With Me - which will delve into some of the issues explored in the show in more detail and with more expert interviews than I can cover in the main show. I can't wait to start putting the episodes out.

Helen Duff's new show 'Come With Me' is at the Pleasance That, Pleasance Courtyard, 5.45pm 3-29th August for tickets go to www.edfringe.com


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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