ED2022 Comedy ED2022 Interviews

Paul McCaffrey: We Go Again

By | Published on Monday 8 August 2022

You’ll all no doubt be aware of the work of Fringe veteran Paul McCaffrey, who returns to Edinburgh this year with his latest show ‘We Go Again’.

That’s likely from his past Fringe shows, but also possibly his award wins, including Latitude New Act Of The Year and London Paper New Act Of The Year, or his appearances on TV and radio, or maybe his hit podcast ‘So What’s Upset You Now?’

We are always glad to see him back and are keen to see what he has up his sleeve this year – and it seems it’s a set covering themes of hope and (thwarted) glory, which sounds promising. I arranged a chat to find out more about Paul, his relationship with the Fringe and his future plans. 

CM: Can you start by telling us about your 2022 show? Does it have any particular theme to it? 
PM: Hello! It’s a stand-up show that I’m really enjoying performing and it has an ending which is probably the most fun part: I won’t go into detail as it will ruin the surprise, but it’s to do with me dreaming of being a rock star and a definite case of careful what you wish for.

The loose theme of the show is hope, disappointment and thwarted glory. It’s got some big routines in it and people have been really enjoying it so far. 

CM: How do you go about putting together an hour show? What’s the creative process involved?
PM: I tend to start off doing ten minute spots at new material nights and work up to longer sets of 20 to 30 minutes before previewing starts, so it’s a long process of building it up gradually.

I tend to keep it separate from my club gigs and then hopefully after the Fringe I can start putting the stuff from my show into my regular gigs.

Luckily I’ve had the ending of this show for a while and so I was kind of working backwards from there this time round. As soon as the event in question happened I thought “well that’s the ending of my Edinburgh show sorted”. 

CM: You’ve done quite a few Edinburgh shows now – what makes you keep coming back? 
PM: Hahaha! That is a question I usually ask myself on day two of the Festival: “Why the hell have I come back here?” Edinburgh can be emotionally draining and mentally challenging for lots of reasons but it has made me a better comedian, every time I’ve done it, and for that reason it is very worthwhile.

I don’t think I’ll do it next year as it’s become very costly, but I’m really happy to be here this year as it’s the first one back after the pandemic. 

CM: What do you like most about being at the Fringe? 
PM: I love the city of Edinburgh, it’s an incredible place and I never get tired of it. I also enjoy sharing a flat with the brilliant Matt Forde every year, we get to live like students for a month and there is a lot of laughter in the flat.

Plus there are lots of nice restaurants that I like to visit, and it’s always nice to bump into comedians that you don’t often see. There is an energy and a vibe in Edinburgh at this time of year unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else in the world. 

CM: Can you tell us about a favourite edfringe memory? 
PM: I don’t think anything will ever beat the first time I came. I really didn’t know what to expect and the scale of it absolutely blew my mind, it really is extraordinary. I’d just started doing comedy and it was like coming to comedy Disneyland, shows everywhere, it was overwhelming in a good way.

I never would have believed that I would one day be doing my own solo shows when I first came up.

CM: And now can we talk about life outside the Festival? Can you tell us about how and why you got into comedy? Was working in the entertainment industry something you always wanted to do? 
PM: When you see my show, I think it’s clear that I always wanted to be a rock and roll star, haha! I have always been told I was funny from school days, annoying but funny. I don’t think it really came as too much of a surprise to anyone to find out I was trying stand-up, I’ve kind of been doing it all my life

CM: You’ve been doing some TV and radio in recent times. How do they compare to performing in live venues?
PM: I’ve been very lucky to do a small amount of TV and radio, but it’s certainly something I’d like to do more of. Obviously live comedy is best, and when it goes well there is no better feeling in the world, but it’s very exciting to do TV stuff, and it’s kind of cool that your friends and family get to see you on TV – it feels like you’ve achieved something. 

CM: Can you tell us about your podcast and what to expect from it? 
PM: Two blokes moaning for fifteen minutes, haha! That’s pretty much it, but people seem to really like it. I do it with Seann Walsh, who I’ve known for fifteen years – feels like thirty! – and we really enjoy doing it. Check it out, it’s called ‘What’s Upset You Now?’

CM: What would you say have been the highlights of your career thus far? 
PM: Doing ‘Live At The Apollo’ was a dream come true. I’ve also been extremely lucky to support both Sean Lock and Kevin Bridges on their UK tours, playing in theatres and arenas, which was unreal. I loved Sean and he was so nice to me – that was a very special time – and Kevin is just incredible.

Playing in the arenas is something I’ll never forget: we played in Dublin the night before U2! We went as we had a night off and I was glad I saw them after I’d done it, as I think it may have psyched me out otherwise. 

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future? 
PM: I’d like to act more. I have a couple of scripted ideas that I go back to now and again that I hope to one day get going. I think I could be good in a sitcom but we’ll see… You never know eh. 

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?

Paul McCaffrey performed ‘We Go Again’ at Underbelly Cowgate at Edinburgh Festival 2022.

LINKS: paulmccaffrey.com | twitter.com/paulmccaffreys