ED2014 Comedy ED2014 Interviews ED2014 Week3 Edition

Dan Clark: Brings him selfie back to the Fringe

By | Published on Wednesday 20 August 2014

Dan Clark

Edinburgh veteran Dan Clark hasn’t done a full run at the Fringe for seven years, and it’s got to be said, we missed him. Still, we don’t blame him. He’s been busy, of course; distracted. Not least by work on his TV series ‘How Not To Live Your Life’. But when we heard he’d be back at the Festival this year, we were pleased, and a little surprised. And keen to find out more about his new show, why he is back at the Fringe this year, and whether or not he takes a good selfie.

CM: What is your show about this year? Does it have a specific theme?
DC: My show is mostly about having been single for almost twelve years and what it’s like being a bachelor at 38. Hence the title ‘Me, My Selfie and I’. Although I now wish I had named it after one of my jokes where I confess to having written a book called ‘12 Years A Slag’. The show is also about how I still don’t feel like I’m a real grown up. When my dad was thirty eight he was a proper adult. He had three kids, a house and a proper moustache. I’m still nowhere near getting those things. Especially the tache. And there’s a little bit about death and mortality. But not in a depressing way.

CM: You put the fairly recently coined word ‘selfie’ in the title. We here at ThreeWeeks aren’t overly fond of this neologism. Is it one that you have embraced?
DC: I don’t think selfies are a modern thing on a psychological level. We just didn’t have the technology to do them before. It was too much of a pain and potential money loss to do a selfie with the old film cameras. Can you imagine? Taking a picture of yourself and then saying “well I hope that turns out well in two weeks when I pick up my photos from Boots”. Though in the old days of hard-copy photos, if someone gave you their snaps from a holiday you’d also been on, you’d flip through them all and only really stop and look properly at the photos you were in. We’ve always been self obsessed. We just couldn’t do it as easily before.

CM: Do you take a good selfie?
DC: Is there a skill in it? I’ve taken the odd selfie yeah. Not sure if I’m good at them. I’m not great at artificially smiling in photos. So I always look moody. By the way, is a selfie with another person still a selfie? Surely selfie means by your self?

CM: Hmm, good question. Not sure. Do you think the trend for constantly posting selfies on social media is going to bring about the end of the world as we know it?
DC: No. But in years to come younger generations will ask their parents why they always went on holidays by themselves.

CM: You mentioned the show includes a bit on death and mortality. But you are known for having an upbeat style. Will you be dealing with these topics in an upbeat way?
DC: I’m not interested in deliberately making an audience feel awkward. But I do like to talk about things which are personal and confessional and maybe sometimes a bit dark. But all my reviews always make a point of saying there’s a warmth to my shows. So hopefully people still find the material funny and engaging, even if I talk about death and loneliness.

CM: When we spoke to you in London a year or so ago, you said you couldn’t see yourself returning to the Fringe for a full run. What made you change your mind?
DC: Ha. Amazing. Can’t believe you remember that. I haven’t done the full run for seven years. I was last here for a short run of three nights in 2011. Yes, I did say I wouldn’t do the full run ever again. What changed? Hmm. I hadn’t done stand-up in quite a while. I fell out of love with it. I was literally on the verge of quitting. But I did a gig in March as a favour to a friend and it was amazing. I’d forgotten how much I loved and missed it. I made some enquiries to The Pleasance about doing a short run but the only spaces available were for the whole month. I told myself it would be good for me to do it, as it would force me to write a proper new hour show, which I hadn’t done in three years, partly due to TV stuff. And doing the full run does mean you get the show in such great shape if you wanna tour it after.

CM: How has the run been so far? Have you slipped back easily into the Fringe routine?
DC: I’m loving my shows up here so much. But it’s still gruelling doing the full month. Nowhere else in the entertainment business do you feel quite as in competition with so many other things. That part bothers me. But it’s an incredible festival unlike any other. Also, and probably most importantly, I don’t drink like I used to. I was a bit of a party animal. I drank a lot. Now I’m home every night by 12.30am. It’s making the run much easier and shows much better. Wish I’d known that in my twenties!

CM: What are your future plans for this show?
DC: Maybe tour the UK? I’m very proud of this show. I think I’d like to do it in other countries too.

CM: You also have a Channel 4 project on the horizon, don’t you…? Can you tell us about that?
DC: I can’t say too much as it’s still early stages. We shot a pilot in the spring. It’s an idea I had with Julia Davis, of ‘Nighty Night’ and ‘Hunderby’ fame, for her to star in. Although I didn’t end up writing it with her. She co-wrote it with Nick Mohammed who came on board very early on and it was clear they had great chemistry and similar writing styles. They love to improvise and workshop a lot. It’s different to how I write. Nick’s also in the show and brilliant in it. I directed it. Which is something I’m doing more of now.

‘Dan Clark: Me, My Selfie And I’ was performed at the Pleasance Dome at Edinburgh Festival 2014.

Photo: David P Scott