Hello, what’s your name, and what on earth are you going to be doing in Edinburgh this August?
My name is Jen Brister and I’m going to be taking my brand new stand-up show, Now & Then to the Edinburgh Fringe.
Tell us more about your show.
It’s 55 minutes of me trying to figure out how to become a better ‘me’ rather than this angry, cynical malcontent. The show explores how I got to be this ‘twat’ and so I delve into my past and tell ridiculous anecdotes about my life, growing up and why I still hate camping. If I was to sum it my show I’d say it’s amazing, hilarious, laugh-out loud funny, touching and very moving. (Bring tissues…for tears, not for the other…Never mind...)
If you’re doing a marathon Fringe run, how are you preparing for your marathon Fringe run?
I’m told it’s all about eating healthily, staying off the booze, practicing yoga and having a positive mental attitude. So all in all I’m buggered.
Food and/or drink – what do you take to keep you going through the madness?
I find that drinking six pints of lager a night and living on toast, kebabs and the occasional well-hung burger mixed with six Beroccas is the way forward.
London’s taken some of the hype with the Olympics this year – what do you think is the best way for Edinburgh to grab it back?
The Olympics? Boring! So a couple of people have learned to ride a horse really well and a few blokes can run faster than is absolutely necessary. Most sensible people agreed to stop running at 11.
I think Edinburgh can win back some of the hype by having random medal ceremonies in the middle of the Royal Mile for 'best flyering technique,’ ‘most ridiculous show name’ and ‘fewest audience numbers.’ It’s about time some of us long-time losers had a chance at winning.
What’s your favourite part of the Edinburgh festivals?
Apart from performing my hilarious show it has to be the oysters. Now, for those of you who don’t like them or have never tried them, Scotland has the best oysters in the world!
Four or five years ago there were two lads who’d wander round the Pleasance Courtyard cracking open oysters for the drunken masses, last year they were by the Assembly Gardens. Wherever they are this year, I will track them down, find them and I will eat their oysters. That wasn’t supposed to sound really sinister…
What would be your biggest piece of advice to any performers coming to Edinburgh for the first time?
My three ‘advices’ would be 1) Pace yourself. Don’t go hell for leather in the first week because by week three you’ll be a dribbling wreck. 2) Don’t read reviews. If you love your show, who cares what the press are saying good or bad? If you need quotes get your producer or a friend you trust to pull out quotes and stars for you. 3) Avoid that one person you know who will stop you in the street and talk at you for 20 minutes about how well they’re doing. If that does happen stop them by saying, “Love to chat but I’ve got to do some filming for the Culture Show!”
Whoever else are you most excited to see in Edinburgh this year?
When I’m at the Fringe I like to see shows that are a bit different. My favourite show last year was The Two Wrongies; it was funny, brave, dark and completely divided the audience, everything an Edinburgh show should be. This year, I’m really looking forward to seeing Daniel Kitson’s new show, I can highly recommend Dr Brown an incredible physical performer, Markus Birdman who has a moving show about surviving a stroke, and Suzi Ruffell and Grainne Maguire who are names to watch out for.
What’s been your most memorable festival experience?
I’d like to tell you it was watching Jerry Springer the Opera, improvising Cloud Cuckoo Land with Russell Brand and Trevor Lock or playing pool with Les Dennis but I’d be lying. It was actually this amazing oyster I had back in 2006…
Any favourite Scottish word/phrase?
“Yer bum's oot the windae” – I hear it a lot. I think it means you’re great or something…
What would be your best tip for any punters coming to their first Fringe?
Do all of us performers a massive favour and don’t go and see seven shows in a day. By the fifth show whatever you’re watching you’ll be thinking, “WHY DOES THIS WOMAN KEEP TALKING? THIS SEAT IS SO UNCOMFORTABLE! THIS SHOW IS TERRIBLE!” It’s not, you’re tired, now go to bed and start again in the morning.
And finally, when/where/how can we see your show?
My show is at 19.35 in the Upstairs Room at Just the Tonic Caves 2nd-26th August (not the 14th). (Ticket information here.)