Stoph Demetriou is stepping out from behind the scenes as comedian Richard Gadd’s director to debut his new show The Dunning-Kruger Effect about people who are too stupid to realise they’re stupid. He discusses what audiences can expect and his own move from director to performer.
I’d just finished uni when I started working at the production company where I first met comedian Richard Gadd.
“Stoph, do you drive?” “Yeah I drive, mate, don’t worry about that!”
“Oh, great. Would you be able to drive us about to film the video for my show?” “Yes.” “Cheers, Stoph. You’re really great and funny in your own way.” I can’t remember if that’s exactly how the conversation went, but that’s how I ended up shooting, directing and editing the video for Gadd’s first show, Cheese and Crack Whores, and I’ve been working on stuff with him ever since – including providing the animations and voiceovers for his 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning show Monkey See, Monkey Do:
“Please, Mr Gadd. It’s cold down here, every pipe is leaking and I’m so hungry! Can I just have something to eat?”
“No! Food is for people who finish all of their voiceover takes!” “But my throat is so dry! Can I at least have some water?” “… I thought you said the pipes were leaking?”
Eventually I managed to get out of Gadd’s basement, but we’re still on good terms. Again, I may be remembering this incorrectly. Still, whatever the backstory is, I’m making the move from collaborative work – with other performers and my sketch group, The Banana Collective – and performing my first solo hour Stoph Demetriou: The Dunning-Kruger Effect at the Fringe this year.
For those who don’t know what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, you’ve definitely seen it in action; it states that people who know the least about something are the most likely to be convinced they are experts, because their lack of knowledge leaves them unable to see how little they know. Or to put it more bluntly, stupid people are too stupid to know how stupid they are.
In the show I attempt to educate the audience about the Dunning-Kruger Effect through a TED-style talk, “clever” sketches and observations, while battling my own confidence and paranoia. The irony here is that, in doing a show about overconfident idiots, it might blow up in my face and expose me as one myself; and because of the nature of the Dunning-Kruger Effect I’m unable to really know for sure. However, there are some things I can say will definitely be in the show:
- A clear three-act structure. It will begin, there’s a middle and then it ends. This has been tried and tested since ancient times, don’t worry about it.
- Not many “jokes”, but a great one at the end about ice cream.
- Pathos. At some point you’ll feel pity (for me, ideally).
- Diet Coke.
- Me trying really hard.
Another thing about the show that people probably won’t realise is that it’s quite autobiographical. Throughout the hour I give the audience a peak behind the curtain at what goes into making and putting on an Edinburgh show. The same battle with confidence and paranoia has been a major part of the creative process, which itself is quite miserable. Luckily, other people’s misery is hilarious - so if you want to feel better about your own life by laughing at mine then you should definitely come and check out Stoph Demetriou: The Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Stoph Demetriou: The Dunning-Kruger Effect is on 4th-28th August at the Laughing Horse at the Three Sisters during the Edinburgh Fringe.
Tickets available at www.edfringe.com