Andrew Watts discusses being a dad, comedy course and how to build a chap.

Tell us about your Fringe show

It’s a show about being a dad – and how it changes you.  You start thinking about what sort of person you want your child to be, and what sort of person you are.  I got the idea when I was talking to another comedian about how my wife and I wanted to bring our son up; and he said, “So basically, you don’t want him to need to be a stand-up”.

Best thing about the Fringe?

It’s an intensive three-week course in comedy – it’s like a comedy university.  At the end of it, you’re a much better comic.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

It’s an intensive, three-week course in comedy.  At the end of it, you’re an exhausted husk of a comic.

How many years have you been coming to the Fringe?

I first came up in 2005, as a punter.  I saw some great shows, and some rubbish – and when I was complaining about the rubbish on the train home, my girlfriend challenged me to try and do better myself.  I was next up in 2006, to perform in So You Think You’re Funny, and I’ve been up every year since then, except in 2013, when my wife selfishly had a baby.

Favourite Fringe venue?

I love the Counting House – which is why I’m doing my show there.  The rooms are intimate, it’s not too busy or too quiet – and it feels like a real comedy venue, rather than a student bar which has taken comics hostage.

Best Fringe memory?

Five years ago, the Fringe coincided with the Ashes, and an Aussie mate of mine and I did a show about cricket.  The final Australian wicket fell half way through our last show, and I had to go on stage and announce it to a room full of cricket fans. It was the biggest cheer I shall ever get on stage.

Best heckle?

I’ve just come back from the New Zealand Comedy Festival. Kiwi hecklers are strange – they heckle in agreement with you:  “You’re right, bro”.  It takes a bit of getting used to, but it's sweet.

Craziest on stage experience?

I did a set in a gay bar in Soho called Village – I was the token heterosexual (“The only straight in Village”), but I told the (entirely gay) audience that I wasn’t ashamed, that I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses…  And the pianist started playing (of course there was a pianist) and so I had to sing the rest of the song.  Because I'm the sort of heterosexual man who knows ALL the words to "I am what I am"...

What’s on your rider?

Because most gigs are in pubs and clubs, you get used to having a beer when you arrive; but I’ve been doing theatre gigs recently, where they give you tea.  So much better!  My rider is now a nice cup of tea.  Maybe a Penguin if I’m feeling really diva-ish.

How do you wind down after a show?

It used to be drinking in the Library bar until the sun came up – now I’ve got a family, it’s so nice to go home to our family flat and close the door on all that nonsense.

What do you love about Scotland?

Scottish breakfasts. The full English is but a pale imitation.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

Often I’m in London, late at night, and I think to myself, I’d love to buy some tartan merchandise, shortbread and a CD of bagpipe music.   But you can’t do that in London. In Edinburgh you’re never more than six feet away from a shop that sells nothing else.

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

When I come up to Scotland, I stock up on Scottish money.  Then, when I’m back in London, I offer to buy rounds in pubs, so I look generous, and then look baffled when they refuse to take it.  Then I growl, “But it’s legal tender!” and, with great subtlety, avoid my round.

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

Funny ones!  I'm not being flippant: at the Edinburgh festival, you have two types of people in the audience: comedy nerds, who want to stroke their chins and ponder your originality; and Scots, who want to laugh.  It's good to have the locals to remind everyone that comedy's supposed to be funny.

Favourite joke?

I think of this Milton Jones gag every time I eat a Scotch Egg:  “Incredible to think, isn’t it, that every single Scotsman started off as a Scotch egg.  Cold and gingery.”

Andrew Watts will perform at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House from August 6-16 and 18-30.