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Fringe Q&As: Tom Allen

Tom Allen speaks to HeraldScotland about Edinburgh restaurant The Outsider, Burntisland, and dressing in Victorian clothing as a teenager to disguise being gay.

Tell us about your Fringe show

It's my first stand up hour in four years and it's about not worrying about what people think of you and how I dressed up in Victorian clothing as a teenager to disguise the fact that I was gay (a flawed plan). I've been doing stand up for nearly ten years now so a lot of work has gone into this show. I'm very proud of it.

Best thing about the Fringe?

Getting to challenge yourself and push yourself to try new things onstage. And the smell of malt in the evenings. And seeing so many great comedians in one place. Who also smell of malt.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

There's no worst thing - it's challenging when you're being harsh on yourself, comparing yourself to other people but that's part of being here - learning to deal with that.

How many years have you been coming to the Fringe?

This is my seventh show. I first came to the fringe in 2005.

Favourite Fringe venue?

The Stand of course! I'm on at Stand 5 which is a new perfectly formed room and I love it. Like an elegant boudoir. Tommy and everyone at The Stand run their organisation like a family and as a performer that feels great. It's very supportive.

Best Fringe memory?

Seeing US comic Maria Bamford in 2006. So inspiring.

Best heckle?

"You're gay!" "…err yes, I do know…"

Craziest on stage experience?

Singing Kelis' 'My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard' with Axis of Awesome accompanying me.

What's on your rider?

Ha…rider!

How do you wind down after a show?

It varies - I'm usually pretty exhausted so I like to eat with friends and watch RuPaul's Drag Race.

What do you love about Scotland?

Loads of things - the people are always so warm to me. And the men. They're always so cold to me - which is actually what I love.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

I have a lot of memories here - I guess because I've been coming up here for a while now and the festival has taught me so much. It's almost like the things I've done stay here then every time I come back they all return - it feels strangely like home. Oh and there's my favourite restaurant The Outsider.

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

Visited my friend's family in Burntisland - such lovely people.

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

Funny ones. I think there are very few shortcuts in comedy, you have to work hard to get the material good and you have to perform it well. Scottish audiences, in my experience, have always been open and supportive but they're discerning too. They have the best comedians in the world to choose from.

15 Favourite joke?

What do you get if you catch two thieves? A pair of knickers. (Courtesy of The Two Ronnies, in the mid 1980s, when I was about 4.)

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