Scott Bennett talks about following your dreams at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m a 39-year-old dad of two, with a shed and a dream. I started comedy in 2009, I’d been a huge fan of comedy ever since I could remember but until I was 31 I didn’t have the guts, or the early mid-life crisis, to have the courage to get up onstage myself.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
The show is about what it feels like to follow your dreams when you feel like you have too much to lose. It’s effectively a story about what happened last year when I decided to quit a career to be a professional comic. It’s told in three sections which cover the build up to the decision, how I coped in the months after (spoiler alert: not very well!) and how my life has changed as a result. There are also stories about some brief celebrity encounters, the love a man has for his shed and why playing crazy golf with a seven-year-old is a terrible idea.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve been working on the show for about a year, but I’m always doing new material nights to try and hone the routines and kick the ideas about, often to silence and in some cases anger from the audience.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
For performers, stay out of the bubble. Try to remember that it’s just 26 gigs, it’s just a game. I would like to add that I often don’t take this advice though and end up running across Arthur’s Seat naked, covered in marmite and clutching a scathing review.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I ended up doing a warm up slot for Engelbert Humperdinck. Yes, the legendary crooner himself. He sang the song “Release me” which is ironically the exact thought I had when I stepped out in front of his audience. That’s a weird booking, it’s like a tap dancer opening for the Wu-tang Clan. That gig went as well as you’re thinking it did; a strange stunned silence, punctuated by the faint whistle of hearing aids. They thought I was going to sing at any point and I never did. I’m still not sure that I was meant to be there.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Any of the comedians who have maintained a family life and relationships throughout their careers, whilst still bringing their best to the industry.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A double espresso Macchiato from Starbucks, with the name “you are the future of British Stand-up” written on the side, thirty-five minutes in a toilet, a panic about my life choices, phone calls to my mother where she tells me it’s not too late to get a proper job again, a banana and then the first two bars of Van Halen’s Jump.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Glen wool, because its blisteringly good stand-up comedy and treads the line between fringe and club act perfectly. Scott Capurro and Jerry Sadowitz because they are gloriously offensive and do things on stage I could never have the courage to do. I’m also going to go to lots of kids shows as I have my family with me this year. Anyone who can create comedy that has family appeal is incredibly skilled.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
Many people are unhappy with their careers. They may want to follow a dream but they feel that they can’t, that they are a trapped by their circumstances and feel frustrated and miserable. This is particularly applicable when you reach 40. The only reason I was able to make this decision was because of the support and encouragement of my family. However, as you will see from the show, making the decision was the easy bit, coping with the emotions it dredged up as a result was a whole different matter. It’s an uplifting, honest and hopefully inspirational show.

SCOTT BENNETT: Leap Year, 5:55pm, Just the Tonic – Mash House


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