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Fringe Q&As: Chelsea Manders

Canadian comedian Chelsea Manders talks to HeraldScotland about plaid push-up bras, imagining the audience naked and putting her dad on the naughty chair.

Tell us about your Fringe show

DON'T TELL MY DAD is about how I overcame my supportive, middle-class upbringing to become the disturbed woman I am today. It includes poignant stories and original songs about relatable issues like cannibalism, existential babies, plaguey princesses and polygamy. Reviews from my previews this summer have said: "The funniest comedian in Toronto… This show has "hit" written all over it." - CREW Magazine. "Sharp, smart, wickedly funny, song-filled satire of all things that take place along the road on the quest for 'authenticity'." - Ottawa Tonite. "Wonderfully depraved and incredibly funny...her singing voice is fantastic." - Mooney on Theatre. "But you'll go to law school in September, right?" - my mum.

How does it feel to be playing the Fringe for the first time?

Every single adjective at various different times, but mostly thrilling and terrifying. I've done the Canadian Fringe circuit for years, and the Edinburgh Fringe is spoken of like the Holy Grail of All Fringes. When I asked them about it, Edinburgh Fringe veterans go silent, shake slightly, and say in hushed tones, "never again, but maybe next year."

Best live act seen at Fringe?

I've never been to the Edinburgh Fringe... but I would have sacrificed my future happiness, at least one future child and definitely my dog to see Flight of the Conchords, Bo Burnham or Tim Minchin's first performances there.

Best thing about the Fringe?

The friendly, loving atmosphere and debaucherous, anarchic chaos. You may see the most brilliant show you have ever seen and can never see again for fear of breaking that moment of pure perfection, or a show so awful you have to see it again, and again, and again, and enjoy the pain like poking a bruise of flossing your teeth while drunk.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

So far, nothing! I really, truly can't wait to be there, and escape the creditors back in Canada.

If you were not a performer/comedian what would you be doing?

Wallowing in a yawning chasm of self-pity. Oh, but if I wasn't a performer/comedian, well then probably a children's entertainer. I've written lots of great kids songs that make them cry. I've heard that there's no greater gift to a parent than a crying child pondering the relevance of their existence.

What do your family think of your show?

They love it. Except my dad, who is banned from seeing it. But he's busy doing important things like playing Windows 95 solitaire on his computer.

How do you combat pre-gig nerves?

I picture my imminent death...and the audience naked....sometimes together.

Worst on stage experience?

When I sang a song in a legit folk music festival about a crack-whore fighting a Nun. The crack-whore won.

How do you recover from a hefty heckle? Do you have a set of stock replies?

In the past, I've had a naughty chair. I had to put a couple of drunks in it once. It was weird, though, because they liked it way too much - especially because they were my parents.

What do you love about Scotland?

The castles. The history. The people. The accents. It's the best place in the world! And I swear all that is true if you buy tickets to my show.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

I've been there once before, though not during the fest. I don't remember much about it but after two weeks my eyes started to be able to focus again and I could finally walk in a straight line.

What's the most Scottish thing you've done?

I went to this Scottish Pub in Toronto called the Tilted Kilt, and learned that the costume of Scotland is a plaid push-up bra and a kilt that ends just below the buttocks. I drank two pitchers of Tennents. I yelled and cried a lot about my lost lumberjack ancestry.

Who's your favourite Scottish comedian?

Janey Godley. Her obscenities are poetic.

Favourite joke?

"I believe it is peace for our time... Go home and get a nice, quiet sleep." -- Neville Chamberlin, September 30, 1938.

Chelsea Manders will be performing her debut hour 'Don't Tell My Dad' from 30th July - 25th August for tickets go to www.edfringe.com

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