Having been nominated for the Best Newcomer award, Maisie Adam is making her return to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this Summer so we spoke to the Yorkshire comedian about the festival, talking about her epilepsy and incessant talkers.
1. So you’re back in Edinburgh in a few weeks for the Fringe Festival, what are you looking forward to most about going back?
“God, with you saying a few weeks, you’re really putting the pressure on! You know, I’m really looking forward to seeing some of my other friends shows. I’ve just seen the programme for one of the other venues and just seeing so many of your mates on there with their shows is really nice. That’s what I really like and also, going to see their show takes your mind off your show as well because all you’re thinking about is your show so, to see what they’ve been working on is really nice.”
2. You were nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2018, how different do you approach the Festival given your success up there?
“It’s really strange because I kind of entered this festival thinking the pressure is on because of having such a good year last year and then I spoke to Olga who was also nominated and we had a chat about it and she made me realise that there is actually a little bit less pressure because when you’re a newcomer everyone is wondering if you will get nominated for the Award and what you’ve got to say for yourself and, now I’ve done that, I feel I can relax a little bit more. I’m looking forward to that pressure not being on me as a newcomer and just enjoying it a bit more.”
3. What can you tell us about your new show?
“[laughs] Well, not too much just yet which will be super-irritating from your point but basically about when I was in Year Eight I was with all my friends on the school computers messing about googling each other and I googled my name and something came up about me that was really quite shocking from years ago that I don’t remember being part of. There was a BBC News Report and everything and I was looking at it with my friends and it was really awkward. I had no recollection of it, the more I looked into it, the more fascinated I became with it because it was a massive story at the time and there was lot of opinions about it. It also happened at a time when the internet was becoming a commonplace thing and it was so much easier for people to share their opinions about news stories. That’s only grown with the growth of social media and on our ability to give our two pennies worth on everything so quickly.
It’s kind of become about that and how quickly we are to jump on a bandwagon or get on our high horse and not really forgive people for making certain mistakes and saying that we would never put a foot wrong. It’s about that and I think we are living in a strange time at the moment and it’s only got worse since I discovered this thing about me. I want to talk about that in my show and how we all make mistakes and we should all be allowed to learn from them and grow from them whilst, at the same time, taking some responsibility. That makes it sound like a massive TED Talk but there should be some good jokes in there as well.”
4. You must be happy with the way your career is going, what got you started ?
“I’d graduated from Uni and I really wanted to be an actor but I didn’t have an agent or anything like that. I was working in those temporary pop-up bars at The Yorkshire Show and stuff like that. I just really craved being creative and getting on stage again but it’s really hard to do that when you’re waiting for the phone to ring and you haven’t even got a foot in the door. I’ve always loved comedy and I saw a local Fringe festival up in Ilkley was doing a call out for local artists to do anything – spoken word, a play, anything. I said I’d give stand-up comedy a go as I’ve always liked it and so submitted an application and they came back and gave me an hour long slot which I thought was normal. I did that, bloody loved it and decided I didn’t want to do anything else. I started gigging wherever I could, entered “So You Think You’re Funny?” because somebody told me that was the biggest newcomer competition and another way of getting seen. I entered that to see how far I could get and somehow ended up winning it. From there I’ve been signed, been able to get lots of lovely gigs and it’s been amazing really!”
5. You seem quite comfortable talking about your epilepsy on stage. Did you find that difficult to do at first ?
“Yeah, at first I did, but it’s also the only way I’ve really talked about it offstage as well with a sense of humour and I think it helps because it makes it more approachable and accessible to talk about and not seem like it’s such a heavy subject. Also, I’m very at peace with it so, amongst me and my family, we’re always laughing about it and joking about it and treating it with a light-heartedness. I started to talk about it onstage and realised it was something that might not be relatable to everyone but the circumstances I talked about where it popped up were at least funny and I could make them relatable because the circumstances were things like a house party which everybody has but I have a different angle on. It became quite interesting then I just had to inject the jokes in and, while I don’t want to say theraputic, it was nice to talk about it a lot more openly than I had and to so many people as well. I had a lot of people come up to me at Edinburgh and tell me it was nice and refreshing to hear it spoken about it in a way that wasn’t so heavy or a charity or a fundraiser.”
6. You relocated from Yorkshire to Brighton a few years ago, what do you miss most about Yorkshire?
“Ooh, good question! I really miss the Dales. I miss all of that. We always go on a walk around Bolton Abbey at Christmas because I still do Christmas back up North with my family. I really love Leeds as a city. I love it when I come back and can gig there. I quite miss my village because my Gran lives around the corner and I miss that small village community vibe which was great growing up in but it’s difficult when you’re trying to do comedy and you’re living in a village that looks like Emmerdale Farm [laughs]. Brighton has a little more going on.”
7. Apart from Edinburgh what do you have lined-up for the rest of the year ?
“I’m hoping to go on a little tour afterwards with this new show. I’m hoping to get a little bit of TV exposure. There is a few things lined-up which I’m not allowed to talk about just yet. What’s been great this year is that I’ve been able to go out as tour support for some bigger comedians and that’s been really lovely because it’s not only put me in front of new audiences but it’s also been a great learning curve to see bigger acts and learn from them and see how they do things and how they’ve crafted their show. They’ve also just been lovely supportive mentors as well and I just sit at the back of the venue and watch the structure of their shows and the interaction and delivery – you learn so much from it.”
8. Curveball question now. Would you rather be stuck on a desert island alone or with someone who talks incessantly ?
“Oh god.. alone [laughs]. I’m so good in my own company, I go to the cinema on my own, all sorts. I’m doing Latitude this year and I’m doing it on my own because my best friend who usually comes with me can’t come. I love my own company. If I turn up to a gig in a different part of the country, I’ll go off for a few hours and have a coffee on my own. Sitting with someone who talks incessantly is the worst thing in the world. I’m full on imagining it now and I can’t stand it. It’s like if you’re going to talk, say something interesting otherwise lets just sit in silence.”
9. You’re already a veteran at Edinburgh now, what advice would you give to an Edinburgh virgin?
“Well, I do remember all of the advice I was given last year, some of it I took, some of it I didn’t. From that I’d say definitely go and see other shows. I was told not to but that’s absolute rubbish, go and see as much as you can. You’re there for a month, go and see as much as you can. Who can say they get to go to the biggest Arts festival for a month for their job? Yes, you can moan about the cost but go and see as much as you can, see people you admire, see people who you know, watch them do their work, go to see something you would never normally go to see, take a punt on something like a magic show. Just enjoy it, don’t think about it as something to get an award or good reviews at, just going and enjoy it!.”
10. Finally, away from comedy, do you have any other plans for the rest of the year?
“Ooh, well, me and my boyfriend want to go to Octoberfest just to wear Leiderhosen I think [laughs]. To be honest though, I’m so focussed on Edinburgh that after that I’d like to go on a mini-tour or a tour support with someone bigger but I just continue to plan on working really hard at a job I’m really lucky to have.”
For more info on Maisie’s show read about it here