Teddy Jamieson meets four women co­me­di­ans light­ing up the Fringe


MON­DAY morn­ing af­ter the first week­end of the Fringe. There will be hang­overs. Surely? Ac­tu­ally, no. At 11am four co­me­di­ans troop into the Wal­dorf As­to­ria Cale­do­nian in Ed­in­burgh bright-eyed and al­co­hol-free.

“I’m Ir­ish so I drink ev­ery day,” says Cather­ine Bo­hart, “but I’m per­form­ing so I’ve not had any more than three drinks any given evening, which I think makes me a hero.”

“If you had asked me 10 years ago, prob­a­bly about 50,” ad­mits In­grid Oliver when asked about her in­take of units of al­co­hol so far, “but gen­uinely I had one glass of wine in the first week. I’ve grown up. It’s re­ally bor­ing. I’m go­ing to have to go out at some point.”

Not right now though. This morn­ing there’s just cof­fee and crois­sants and con­ver­sa­tion.

Here’s the deal. We’ve got four co­me­di­ans to­gether, one each from Scot­land, Eng­land, Wales and Ire­land to talk about the Fringe and to ask stupid ques­tions. You know the kind of thing. Does com­edy have a na­tion­al­ity? Is the pa­tri­archy still a thing? And what’s the best ser­vice sta­tion in Bri­tain? (Jo Caulfield has the right an­swer. It’s Te­bay.)

But where are our man­ners? Some in­tro­duc­tions. From the left we have Bo­hart, 29, from Dublin, who is on her third Fringe. Jay Laf­ferty is from Greenock. This is her 13th year in Ed­in­burgh, but it’s her first solo show. She ran out of ex­cuses for not go­ing it alone, she says.

Lon­doner Oliver is best known as one half of com­edy duo Wat­son and Oliver with Lorna Wat­son, but this year she is fly­ing solo with a scripted char­ac­ter show called Speech! (“It’s very dif­fer­ent. I miss hav­ing other peo­ple around,” she ad­mits.)

And Caulfield is here to rep­re­sent Wales, although she grew up in Eng­land, has North­ern Ir­ish par­ents and now lives in Leith and so could pinch-hit for all four home na­tions. “But in foot­ball I al­ways sup­port Wales,” she says. Which is good enough for us.

Ev­ery­thing is go­ing fine for all four this Fringe. So far. But it’s early and there are no guar­an­tees in stand-up. That, they say, is the fun of it.

“You can have a great gig, feel like a god, get on the Tube and won­der why ev­ery­one doesn’t know who you are,” says Bo­hart. “And the next day you can die on your hole and that’s my favourite thing about it.”

It was Ber­tolt Brecht, of course, who once said: “He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news.” But re­ally that kind of at­ti­tude isn’t go­ing to get you a 10-minute slot at the Plea­sance.

So shall we get started? JAY LAF­FERTY: “Funny is funny no mat­ter where you’re from. A lot of peo­ple when I’m fly­er­ing say: ‘Oh, I don’t want to come in case I don’t un­der­stand you.’ “I say: ‘Do you un­der­stand me just now?’ “They’re like: ‘Yeah.’ “‘Well, you’ll un­der­stand me then.’”

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