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Jarlath Regan: You’ll never guess who was at the show last night…

By | Published on Thursday 18 August 2016

Jarlath Regan

So, have you been doing any celebrity spotting while wandering around the Festival this year? Trying your best to look all nonchalant as you realise there’s a star standing in front of you in the queue for the Cow, or busy entertaining the table next to your’s in the Courtyard, or possibly sitting in the front row expecting to be entertained by your show.
After comedian Jarlath Regan told us his ‘Paxman story’, we asked him to go and find some similar tales of mid-show celebrity encounters from other Fringe performers…

When Hugh Grant tried to attend Eddie Pepitone’s show at the Festival that time, the storm of publicity it created was the turning point in the American comedian’s sell-out run.

But the reality of having an A-list celebrity attend your show can go one of two ways. If the performance goes well, the endorsement from a well-known name can help a comic immeasurably. But if things go spectacularly badly, having a famous person in attendance can only make matters worse.

My mid-show celebrity encounter involved a certain TV presenter and news man. I didn’t know why the room had gone silent. I had just done a joke about Jeremy Paxman that usually works. Then I saw his HUGE face staring back at me from the third row.  He’s a terrifying man when he gives you that disapproving look and his head is as big as a pumpkin. I still get a shiver up my spine when I see him do that look on TV.

This got me thinking, what on-stage celebrity encounters do other Fringe stand-ups most remember…

Comedian: Bec Hill | Celebrity: Pete Doherty
“I did a gig to eight people once and Pete Doherty happened to be one of them. I’d like to think he heard about my whimsy and specifically came to see me, but I think he just rocked up to see what the noise was. I really couldn’t tell if he enjoyed it or not. That’s the thing with people who always look high and confused. It’s very hard to read how happy you’re making them!”

Comedian: Blind Boy Boat Club – The Rubber Bandits | Celebrity: James Murphy (LCD Sound System)
“James Murphy from LCD Sound System came to see us and a drunken fan jumped on his back and started shouting ‘you’re losing your edge’ before being pulled off him. And bizarrely David Lee Roth once called in to a New York radio show requesting one of our prank calls.”

Comedian: Luke Benson | Celebrity: Cheryl Baker
“I was once introduced by Cheryl Baker. She told the harrowing foundation story of her Newcastle-based charity for head injuries and coma victims and then, as if part of the same sentence, she said ‘also from Newcastle here’s your comedian Luke Benson’. It went alright but I can’t hear ‘Making Your Mind Up’ without shuddering”.

Comedian: Romesh Ranganathan | Celebrity: The Kaiser Chiefs
“I was doing a bit of stand up about Man City football club and it completely died on its arse in front of the band the Kaiser Chiefs. After the show, they couldn’t even look me in the eye. Horrible.”

Comedian: Damian Clark | Celebrity: Charlotte Church
“I wish I could say it was horrendous but she was lovely and thanks to her extra lung capacity, her laughs were louder than everyone elses!”

Comedian: Trevor Browne | Celebrity: Name Withheld (A Scottish Politician)
“I had a politician – I am afraid to say who – come to my show and during it she was writing constantly. After the gig she came up and handed me a letter which was a play-by-play critique of the show and how much she hated me. The letter read hilariously as it was being written during the show in present tense, so it had quotes like ‘I’ve never witnessed such misogyny’, ‘God I hate this tripe’, and ‘You are bursting out of that jacket'”.

Comedian: Tony Law | Celebrity: Jeremy Clarkson
“He just stared me down for an hour”.

‘Jarlath Regan – Arseways’ was performed at Just The Tonic at The Tron at Edinburgh Festival 2016.

Photo by Steve Ullathorne