Kwame Asante brings weight issues to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with TEENAGE HEARTBLOB
Name: Kwame Asante
Name of Edinburgh show: Teenage Heartblob
Venue: Cellar, Pleasance Courtyard
Performance time: 9:45pm
Show length: 60 minutes
Ticket price: £6-10
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
My name is Kwame Asante. I was born, grew up and studied in London, and am now based in Birmingham, where I having been living and working as a medical doctor for almost 3 years now.
My first ever stand-up comedy gig was at my secondary school talent show when I was 16 years old, but didn’t start gigging regularly until January 2010, on the London open-mic circuit while I was a student at University College London. I have since progressed to play at a variety of professional comedy clubs, the Edinburgh Festival and also the Melbourne International Comedy Festival earlier this year.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
This year’s show talks about my experiences of weighing more than you’d like to. I was overweight in my late childhood and overweight in my early teens, and so had to deal with weight issues for a great deal of my formative years. I also spent a lot of summers as a child with my extended family in rural Ghana, and so I talk about the 1st generation British African experience, both in the UK and when in Ghana. I then go on to talk about my present-day experiences with weight, both personally and professionally, working as a doctor in the NHS and being involved in lots of other people’s experiences with weight.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve had this idea for a show for quite some time now, but didn’t start working on it properly until I finished my run at last year’s Edinburgh festival. I think the show will have a wide appeal. Not only is being overweight or obese a growing health and social challenge for our society, but we are also privileged to be in a time where more and more performers from minority ethnic backgrounds are having their 1st generation experiences heard, and I hope to add a unique angle to the stories being told.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Plan your days out to make the most of everything that’s offer. Take breaks in between shows; there is such a thing as ‘laughter fatigue’! Drink plenty of water. And if you do find yourself at a loose end, don’t be afraid to pop into a nearby free show. Nothing makes me feel more smug than having a hot tip about a great free show I discovered.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I got tangled up in cables and completely face-planted on my way up to the stage for a Comedy Central audition gig in April this year. It was a colossal fail on my part, with absolutely no recovering. I still actively cringe at the idea that a board of media executives have footage of my most embarrassing moment to-date, immortalised in all its HD glory…
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
One of my biggest comedy inspirations at the moment is Mike Birbiglia. His way of telling stories and reflecting on his life as a whole is skilful, captivating and hilarious. ‘My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’ is one of my favourite comedy albums ever, and I recently caught his latest show, ‘The New One’ at Leicester Square Theatre, and that’s already shaping up to be a classic!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Not too much really. A couple deep breaths and I say my opening line over and over again so I don’t get tongue-tied on stage.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m looking forward to seeing David O’Doherty, Alex Edelman, Lauren Pattison and Pierre Novellie this year! (Amongst a tonne of others!)
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
I didn’t think I could be any prouder of a show than my 2017 Edinburgh debut, but I’ve managed to put together something even more upbeat, heartwarming and funny. The telling thing for me is I’ve even had fun performing this show to an audience of five people, so I really and truly believe any fringe-goers that come my way are in for a real treat!