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Fringe Q&As: Laurence Clark

Laurence Clark talks to HeraldScotland about Doctor Who, Timmy from South Park, and moments of instant regret.

Tell us about your Fringe show

My show this year is called Moments of Instant Regret. I guess most people will have experienced moments where they've said or done the wrong thing and instantly regretted it. So this show is essentially about how much of an arsehole I can be, which is doing wonders for my ego! In the past my material has focussed on how other people can sometimes treat me unfairly, but this show looks at how I sometimes respond disproportionately. I'm really excited to be taking it to Edinburgh as this show is much more personal than anything I've done before.

Best thing about the Fringe?

I love the atmosphere and getting to perform my show in the same place every night for four weeks.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

Having to leave my wife and kids for so long. It's going to be especially hard on my 3 year old son Jamie this year as he tends to have a little paddy if he comes home from nursery and I'm not there. They're coming up for a week but the Fringe tends not to be a very child-friendly place as licensing laws prevent you going to many of the venues.

How many years have you been coming to the Fringe?

This will be my eighth Fringe show so I'm an old hand.

Favourite Fringe venue?

It's got to be the Assembly! Every year I struggle to find a decent wheelchair accessible venue.

Most memorable fringe experience?

A couple of years ago I was a finalist at the BBC/ 2Entertain/ AmusedMoose Edinburgh Laughter Awards. As there was no ramp to the stage, I thought it best get lifted onto the stage beforehand and hide behind the back curtain and projector screen. Unfortunately we forgot to tell the MC Rob Beckett that he needed to move the screen and pull back the curtain to let me out, so I was stuck there until the technician realised what was happening and rescued me. It wasn't the smoothest start to my set!

Best heckle?

On the whole I haven't had many hecklers. I had someone in my show at Leicester Comedy Festival who just kept shouting "Timmy" (from South Park) at me. At first I tried to engage him but he just carried on so eventually I ignored him. As heckles go, it was a bit of a comedy dead-end!

Craziest on stage experience?

My first show at Edinburgh Fringe, 'The All-Star Charity Show', was basically sent up the old-fashioned telethons for disabled people. As a disabled comic, I presented appeals on behalf of the celebrities who used to front them, in the same patronising, sentimental way that they'd used when doing disability charity appeals. One particular performance was met with stone-cold silence for the entire hour, punctuated only by polite applause every so often. Maybe they thought they were watching a piece of performance art or something? I was absolutely perplexed, as the show had gone down exceedingly well up until this point. By the end I was so distraught that I was just about ready to quit comedy for good. Then I took a peek at my departing audience, discovering that every single person there had been from overseas - French, Japanese, Italian etc. As I eavesdropped on their conversations, not one of them was speaking a word of English. They probably hadn't laughed because they'd never even heard of the likes of Terry Wogan, Esther Rantzen and Gaby Roslin. I felt envious! A few weeks later I was sent a copy of a French disability magazine with a review of that night's show in it. I dread to think what it said - I never bothered getting it translated!

What's on your rider?

A ramp, a projector screen and a pint at the end.

How do you wind down after a show?

By watching crap TV till the early hours of the morning.

What do you love about Scotland?

That it has so far produced three Doctor Whos. I live in Liverpool which can only claim to have produced two.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

On the whole Edinburgh Fringe has been good to me over the years, as it's enabled me to make a name for myself without playing lots of comedy clubs which are mostly inaccessible. Edinburgh audiences are fantastic as you get a discerning comedy audience who are not afraid to try new things.

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

Made a waiter cry by not leaving a tip.

What kind of jokes do a Scottish crowd seem to respond to?

Over the years I've sussed out that jokes about Glaswegians go down well with Edinburgh audiences.

My shows tend to be more around storytelling than one-liners. Because I have cerebral palsy, I always like to break the ice with audiences by starting with saying that I'm not pissed and if anyone is struggling to follow me then it's tough s**t as there's not a lot I can do about it!

Laurence Clark's new show 'Moments of Instant Regret' will be at the Assembly George Square from 30th July - 24th August for tickets go to www.edfringe.com

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