Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I was raised in Texas but have lived in New York for 15 years so I can consider myself a real New Yorker now. I studied Musical Theater at the Boston Conservatory before moving to New York with dreams of Broadway. But, I struggled for several years and couldn’t get my foot in the door. I quickly found that I enjoyed creating my own work and was lucky to find an artistic home at Joe’s Pub at The Public. I’ve been lucky to have this prestigious venue to really work on my shows and find my voice. And now, I’m starting to get in the door of the important rooms in New York…all from creating my own work.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
My show is an hour long musical journey called #Thirsty. I celebrate my poor life choices and my love of vodka, as well as my thirst for connection. Everything is tied together with sassy commentary, storytelling, and songs I stole from other people. The stories are sadly all true and the songs range from Lady Gaga to Judy Garland backed by a 3 piece band called The Shame Spirals.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
This show has been a work in progress over the past year, and I think people will find it very relevant. It’s a story of navigating life’s obstacles and sometimes doing that navigation after too many cocktails. It’s a show about searching to find a connection and to survive in the current political climate. And I also belt my face off while singing Prince and Queen.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
This is my debut at the Fringe, but I have received a lot of tips on how I can survive. The biggest thing I’ve heard is that I need to be prepared for a month long rollercoaster of emotions with very dramatic highs and lows over the entire month. It’s a good thing I never self-medicate with too much vodka!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Off the top of my head, the only moment on stage that really pops out was not embarrassing or the funniest, but is definitely one of the most memorable moments I’ve ever had on stage to date. I was doing my annual Christmas show in New York and it happened to be on the same night as a big election for a Senate seat in Alabama. The republican nominee was a known child molester ( things are not great in the US) named Roy Moore and the Democrat was a wonderful, progressive liberal that we all felt had no chance. Before I launched into my final number, one of the servers came up to the front of the stage with a note and glass of champagne. The note read “Roy Moore Loses!!” and was sent up by the manager of the venue. I announced on stage that Roy Moore had lost and the place went NUTS!! People leapt to their feet, grown men were crying. I was jumping up and down and hugged my band mates. It’s definitely a low point in our history that we were even worried a child molester would win a Senate seat, but it was an incredible moment of hope. And big shout out to the black female voters in Alabama who helped make this win happen.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, and Carol Burnett are my all-time inspirations. They are/were fearless women in a very male dominated industry with brilliant comic timing. And I would also add the fearless comedian Bridget Everett to this list. Bridget and I both perform at Joe’s Pub and I watched her meteoric rise over the past couple of years. I was at her show the night she announced she was able to finally quit her job waiting tables. A true inspiration!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
The usual….vocal warm ups, stretches, and a lot of cursing as I try to put on fake eyelashes. I’ll never understand how drag queens do it so easily!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m looking forward to catching “Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist” and hoping to enjoy lots of cabaret and comedy shows.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
My show is the perfect nightcap! After a full day, you can relax in your seat with a drink in hand and be entertained with a vodka fuelled ride of tragically true and hilarious stories and great music. But don’t take my word for it. I had an older couple come to my show for the first time in NYC last month. They came up to me afterwards and said “We’ve never heard such a beautiful sound come out of such a foul mouth!”. The vocals are legit. The thirst is real. And, the stories are tragically all true.
TORI SCOTT IS THIRSTY (10:15pm, Underbelly Bristo Square)