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Fringe Q&As: Jonny Awsum

Jonny Awsum speaks to HeraldScotland about Royal Marines, breweries and Wetherspoons mystery customer tests.

Tell us about your Fringe show

It's a feel-good hour of Awsum musical comedy. One reviewer very kindly said that if you don't leave the show with a smile on your face then laughing just isn't for you. So far the run has gone better than even I could have hoped - we are selling out and have had a stack of four and five star reviews.

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

It's a thrill to be part of something so big and it makes me laugh when I walk past one of my posters or see my face up on the screens at the Gilded Balloon. It's a real reward for the work I've put into crafting the show for the last 12 months.

Best live act seen at Fringe?

Mark Simmons, he's an incredible one liner comedian. He's about to support Seann Walsh on tour so he's on his way up.

Best thing about the Fringe?

The atmosphere. The crowds here generate a level of excitement and expectation that makes everybody raise their game. It's like the Olympic crowds roaring athletes on to set personal best times. When there's a great atmosphere in the room the act will perform better and so everybody wins.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

Waiting for the first few reviews to come out - no matter how well the show has done in preview you just have no idea what the critics will make of it.

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

Probably not something involving customer service as I am one of the few people to score 0 out of 10 on the Wetherspoons Mystery Customer Test.

What do your family think of your show?

They are very supportive and in fact my Dad came up from Derby as a surprise on one of the first nights of the run. I came out to start the show and there he was sat in the front row! I told the audience, we all laughed and then it was fine.

How do you combat pre-gig nerves?

I have so much to do before the show starts like sound checking my guitar and music that I don't get a lot of time to let nerves in. I just focus on getting everything ready and then I go for it.

Worst on stage experience?

I did some armed forces shows recently, and one night I played to a big group of Royal Marines who had made a pact not to laugh or even smile for my first song. It was hard playing to so many stony faces but then I realised it was a joke and after a good laugh I carried on and they were brilliant fun.

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

I think acts in general get fewer heckles than people think as most people are along for a good time. But my guitar is loaded with a few heckler tunes if I ever need them.

What do you love about Scotland?

The people. My show is about bringing the audience with me so that we can all have a great time together, and the Scottish people I've had into my show have been amazing at coming on board. They are up for a laugh, they don't take themselves too seriously and they always deliver anything I ask them.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

It's like a beautiful computer 'platform game' what with all the different levels when you are walking around. Yes, it's the perfect backdrop for a new Manic Miner game, Miner Willy and the Fringe. Might throw up some strange results when people Google it mind you.

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

I played a show in a tent at the Born in the Borders brewery in Jedburgh. It's like a one stop shop for everything that gets made in the Borders - wonderful produce in a beautiful setting.

Who's your favourite Scottish comedian?

Larry Dean - I gigged with him last night and he knocked it out the park, go see him immediately.

See Jonny Awsum - Sexy Noises at the Gilded Balloon: Balcony during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 30th July - 24th August. For tickets visit www.gildedballoon.co.uk.

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