ED2013 Comedy ED2013 Interviews ED2013 Week0 Edition

Patrick Monahan: Cakes and hugging

By | Published on Monday 8 July 2013

Patrick Monahan

Just under twelve months ago we gave this man one of our esteemed Editors’ Awards in recognition of him being so damned good, something numerous ThreeWeeks reviewers have testified to over the years. So needless to say, the sight of Edinburgh veteran Patrick Monahan heading Fringe-wards once more makes us very happy indeed. Especially when he’s standing in the centre of a large cake.

CM: You’ve been coming to Edinburgh for years. Most people (not us, obv, we’ve been here for eighteen years) might think it would get boring. What keeps you coming back?
PM: I love it. I wouldn’t miss Edinburgh for the world (well, maybe just the once, if they had a cake eating festival in Glasgow at the same time). Once you’re at the Festival, and in amongst the buzz doing your show, it becomes a part of you; you’re living and breathing it every day. And while, when the month is over, you’re somewhat relieved, after eleven months away from it you’re craving to be back – it’s an addiction, really!

CM: For the three or so people who haven’t seen one of your shows yet, can you describe the style of comedy you do?
PM: Ha ha – it’s hard really, cos I don’t really know what I do, apart from talk, tell stories and give out hugs before the show, during the show, and after the show. Oh, and there’s also a bit of dancing too.

CM: What made you want to become a comedian, and what has made you stick at it?
PM: The fact that I can get paid for talking. I always wanted to do a job that involved talking, and I always wanted a job that involved people, and if possible one that involved not having to get up too early. It was either become a comedian or work in a 24-hour petrol station.

CM: You were born in Iran with an Irish dad, but grew up in Teeside, which sounds like it might make for an interesting childhood. Has your upbringing given you fuel for comedy?
PM: I didn’t really get a choice, did I, with a background like that? My dad’s Irish, my mum’s Iranian, and I was born in Ahwaz in Iran and grew up in Teesside in the Northeast of England, speaking Farsi and English. People always told me that with that background I could only be a comedian or a secret agent. I chose stand-up cos I couldn’t keep a secret.

CM: You seem to have done quite a lot of TV appearances of late. How does it compare to live performance?
PM: I love doing TV. It can be a great laugh and lovely experience, but I also love to do live stand-up shows!

CM: And talking of the telly, you won the TV talent contest ‘Show Me The Funny’ back in 2011. Did it have a significant impact on your career?
PM: It was fun doing it, though it was definitely more a reality show than a stand-up show, which to be honest I didn’t mind at all. I enjoy messing about, seeing people on the streets and chatting to them.

The show was trying to be ‘X-Factor’ for comics, which is impossible, really, because comics aren’t like singers. You can’t take someone who’s only been doing stand-up for six months and, if they win, expect them to perform hour and a half shows on tour and then release an hour-long DVD.

It’s lucky that I had been doing stand up for ten years before doing that series. I would have had a heart attack if they asked me to record an hour-long DVD a decade ago, whereas now I could record three separate one hour DVDs and not lose a night’s sleep!

CM: You’ve done lots of children’s shows in the past. Are child audiences easier or harder to play to than grown up ones?
PM: Kids’ shows can be easier than adult shows, cos they don’t need to be drunk to laugh! Also, kids want to get involved even before being asked, which is great, whereas with adult shows you can ask an audience if anyone’s ever had the same experience as you when telling a story, and no one will dare put their hand up. Ask a room full of kids if “like me, they’ve ever been to the moon on their BMX, when you were just meant to be going to the corner shop to get some milk” and the whole room puts their hand up and wants to tell you their story and what type of bike they have.

CM: So your show’s called ‘Cake Charmer’ this year. What is your favourite cake? And what drink would you choose to accompany it?
PM: I love cherry bakewells, but I also love lemon slices, Victoria sponge cake, coconut cake, carrot cake, fudge cake and chocolate cake with ice cream. It’s probably easier to list the cakes I don’t like. There is no cake I don’t like. Except for maybe cake with loads of raisins in. Or mouldy cake. I don’t drink alcohol, so I’d probably have to have a glass of milk or a cup of tea with the cake, depending on what time of day it is.

CM: If you wanted a cake during the Festival, which Edinburgh patisserie would you most likely visit?
PM: It would probably have to be the closest one, cos when you want cake, you want cake, there’s no time to waste in these situations.

CM: Which other comedians’ shows do you plan to take in this August?
PM: I’m looking forward to catching any international comedians popping to the Festival who you can’t normally see on the comedy circuit. I’m also looking forward to seeing ‘Hedluv & Passum’ in the Gilded Balloon, who I got to work with at the Happyness Festival in Inverness this year – they’re a pair of comedy hip hop rappers from Devon and brilliant fun.

CM: And finally, what about after the Festival. Any new exciting projects lined up?
PM: I’m hoping to write a book on hugging, and to teach the world to perfect the perfect hug. I also hope to eat lots of cake and have a lie-in after the Festival. Well, for three days, before I start taking the show on a national tour. Big hugs and happy cake eating!

‘Patrick Monahan Cake Charmer’ was performed at Gilded Balloon Teviot at Edinburgh Festival 2013.

LINKS: www.patrickmonahan.co.uk | twitter.com/patrickjmonahan