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Fringe Q&As: David Kaufman of The Cleek

David Kaufman of The Cleek chats to HeraldScotland about being a Harvard student, drinking Irn Bru and a funny taxi driver called Iain.

Tell us about your Fringe show

The Cleek is a fun mix of improv and sketch comedy. There's something for everyone: satire, silliness, great writing and the chance to influence everything that happens in the show - even the order of the show is determined entirely by the audience.

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

Exhausting.

Best live act seen at Fringe?

Sammy J was really great. As was Red B**tard, The Voices in Your Head, Baby Wants Candy... I think Red B**tard probably takes the cake as it's just so different, and that's what you come to the Fringe to see.

Best thing about the Fringe?

The spontaneity. Especially with all the free shows - you can just pop into a venue 5-10 minutes before a show and see something probably very good and definitely different from anything else.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

Take your pick among: long lines (or "queues" as they're known here), poorly-maintained bathrooms (or "toilets" as they're known here) and bad weather (or "a normal day" as it's known here).

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

At the end of the summer I'll actually go back to my other life as a student at Harvard. At the moment, I'm only a performer when I'm not studying.

What do your family think of your show?

They haven't made the trip from Washington DC to see it, but that's a good thing as I get the sense they think I'm on my way to becoming a huge star because I'm performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. As long as they stay away, they'll never realise how many other people's parents think the same thing.

How do you combat pre-gig nerves?

I always get nervous but once I'm onstage it goes. If I try to combat it, it doesn't work, so I've learnt to just ride it out - the nausea, the self-doubt, the questioning of all my life choices... I probably couldn't perform without going through all that first!

Worst on stage experience?

I was in an improv show back home in the States as part of a 24-hour improv festival. During our hour onstage there were only three people in the crowd. One of them was my girlfriend and the other two were asleep. It's the first time she'd seen me do improv and the whole room was just dead. It was excruciating.

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

Improv tends not to get many heckles, which is lucky. I like to think if I did, I'd have a very clever response rather than just clamming up, throwing my mimed props at them and running out the door.

What do you love about Scotland?

Last year I spent a few weeks backpacking in the Highlands which was magnificent and beautiful. I really appreciated the Scottish hospitality, too.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

I'm a sucker for old castle-looking buildings.

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

Putting on a Scottish accent for one of the characters in our show. Offstage, drinking Irn Bru and eating a deep-fried Mars Bar, which was delicious.

Who's your favourite Scottish comedian?

My taxi driver was pretty funny. I think his name was Iain.

Favourite joke?

How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?

Well, I would tell you, but it's a really obscure number, you've probably never heard of it, and even if you had, you probably wouldn't understand it, so...

The Cleek will be performing will be performing at Just the Tonic at The Mash House until 24th August. For more information visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/cleek

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