It's getting closer and closer to the most exciting comedy event of the year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and we're excited to get to speak to a stalwart comedian on the bill, Tania Edwards. She's the winner of last year's Amused Moose Comedy Award and is set to premiere her new show Don't Mention It.

Tania Edwards

Tania Edwards

As we spoke to her, it quickly became very clear that she has mountains of wisdom to impart on the young comedians of the nation, so here are five big tips she has for anyone wanting to hone their craft.

1. Hit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It's one of the most famous comedy festivals in the world and is matchless in its value to wannabe comics. There are thousands of spots available for budding comedians to take up, allowing them multiple opportunities to practise their craft in front of an audience over a period of four weeks.

"I'm in a great position in London that there are so many open-mic nights so if you're new you can really get good. But even in London it's not possible to do an hour every single day for a month", says Tania. "Edinburgh Fringe is comedy bootcamp! However good you are, you're going to leave better, and however bad you are you're going to leave better - so in that respect it has no competition in the world. Especially for new people."

Unfortunately, it's not the cheapest opportunity in the world as acts are forced to fork out hundreds for travel, accomodation, venue hire, registration fees and marketing. "I think it will have to change at some point because it's now getting so expensive", Tania admits.

2. Practise!

Whether your landing festival slots or open-mic moments, it's important to practise as much as possible and at every available opportunity. Trust that your work will be rewarded in abundance.

"I did some disastrous solo shows", Tania laughs. "But then I got better, I guess. That's how it works. You practise, practise, practise and it comes together in the end. There is no career more likely to reward effort than comedy."

3. Don't be intimidated

Going into the comedy industry can be daunting, especically for women given that it has been a male-dominated circuit for such a long time. But that's no longer the case; women are becoming increasingly more recognised as power-houses of comedic material, according to Tania.

"There's no ignoring how much money women are making", she points out. "In America, women have always been respected in comedy and they've been making money in comedy for a long time. Here, the money has dictated that the industry turns around and has a look. There is just no disputing the star quality amongst women."

"I'm not pretending for a second that I haven't been unbooked because there's been another woman on the bill but that wouldn't happen now", she continues. "And if it did it wouldn't benefit anybody. I did a gig the other night where everyone was a woman on the bill apart from two token men. There's definitely been a seismic change."

4. Toughen up

No matter how much you know about comedy theory, nothing can prepare you for a live audience. Plus, you can be the best comic in the world and still come across people who hate your material. You can't please everybody, so you might as well be ready to shake off criticism.

"You've got to have thick skin, I think", says Tania. "I'm not a believer in safe-space comedy, I think that's the opposite of what you're doing. It's the same reason I don't believe in comedy courses, because I don't think you can teach someone to survive the rejection of when you die on your a**e. You've just got to get through it."

5. Find your style when it comes to hecklers

Heckles are a test of both your nerve and your ability to think of witty remarks on the spot - but it's important never to break character, no matter how amusing the comeback might be in your head.

"The key to heckle put-downs is that they should be in your persona", Tania explains. "My persona is that I'm a b***h, but like an unknowing b***h, if that makes sense. It wouldn't work in my persona if I suddenly destroyed someone, it would look like I was having a breakdown. Someone whose persona is to be angry can destroy someone in a different way to me. I would have to destroy someone with wit, quite politely, but still being a c**t, whereas someone else could be more aggressive."

Interestingly, it seems that a different approach is needed depending on who's heckling you, bearing in mind that the aim is to reduce disruption and maintain control of your show.

"I've noticed across the board that it never seems to go well if you are too vicious with a female heckler", Tania reflects. "Men tend to heckle and they like it if you put them down and their friends love it, whereas women tend to be more generous in a comedy club so if they are heckling they tend to be more p***ed. It seems to be harder to get them to shut up."

Tania Edwards is taking her new show, Don't Mention It, to Monkey Barrel 2 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2nd-25th August (excl 14th) at 4.00pm. More info and tickets available here

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