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Phil Green: Four Weddings And A Breakdown

By | Published on Monday 3 July 2023

As someone who is old enough to have been an adult when the internet became a mainstream thing – and as the mother of Gen Zs – I am somewhat fascinated by the way that different generations have responded to the internet, and how they interact with it.

Which is one of the reasons why I was immediately intrigued when I heard about Phil Green’s 2023 edfringe show ‘Four Weddings And A Breakdown’, which looks at that topic in the context of the internet’s impact on his own mental health. 

It’s the follow up to his sell out 2022 Edinburgh debut ‘90s Boy – Blair, The Lovegun And Me’, and I’m expecting very good things from it.

Not least because Green has been nominated for awards, reached the finals in comedy competitions, and written and appeared on BBC Radio 4, despite being a relative newcomer. 

I spoke to him to find out more. 

CM: Can you begin by giving us an idea of what to expect from ‘Four Weddings And A Breakdown’? What’s it all about? Though to be fair the title is a pretty good clue! 
PG: Yeah, the title is pretty literal. It’s the story of how I went to four weddings from four different generations last year and it compares the different life philosophies of each generation.

Being part of a little micro-generation myself – in between Gen X and millennials – I explore how the arrival of the internet, and in particular social media, halfway through life impacted this generation, and how it helps explain my own breakdown about ten years ago.

CM: What made you want to create a show tackling this topic/themes? Why did you think it would work as a set?
PG: I touched a little on this theme in my debut show last year and found it to be something that really resonated with audiences no matter what age they were, so I wanted to explore this a bit further.

I think it works because people my generation or older relate, and for younger generations they see these traits in their parents or other older people they know.

CM: Do you think of the internet as a bad thing?  
PG: No, not at all. There are negative aspects of the online world, of course, but overall it is an amazing thing.

The show is more my observations of what happens when you don’t grow up with the internet, but it suddenly arrives at a key time and challenges your entire philosophy on life, and the internal conflict that can create.

CM: How does it feel to be sharing such personal stuff?  
PG: Initially it was a bit daunting, but once I started doing previews I had many audience members coming up to me after shows telling me how much they could connect with what I was talking about.

The show is still very silly and fun, but I feel the more personal the story, the more the audiences want to hear it.

CM: You’ve been to the Fringe before, of course – what made you want to go back? What do you love and/or hate about it?  
PG: I love the buzz of walking down the Royal Mile seeing performers from all over the world promoting their shows, there really is no other festival like it in that respect.

Also, the opportunity to see so many of my friends’ shows, but also to discover new people. I am a bit of a comedy nerd so I love that aspect of it.

It can be exhausting though. I was very fortunate last year to be working with Soho Theatre Labs on developing my first show and they really stressed the importance of looking after your mental health as a performer.

So I made a real effort to get out of the city with my dog – my emotional support – every few days.

CM:  What advice would you give to a first time performer headed for the Festival?  
PG: If you’re not yet doing your first show but thinking about it, go up and just see stuff all over town. I think the success of a show is as much about the room, time and location as it is about the content, so do your research beforehand. When you do put on a show, flyer like hell and really learn how to sell it. Also, Red Bull doesn’t cure hangovers. It just delays the pain. Trust me.

CM:  What will you do in Edinburgh when you are not performing? What recommendations would you have for others?  
PG: Apart from walking my dog, I will just go see stuff. I would really recommend Louise Atkinson, Kuan-Wen Huang and Kathryn Mather’s shows, they are all debuting this year.

Also, if you want to see something totally bonkers and hilarious, yet surprisingly touching, checkout Stephen Catling.

I also love sketch duo Grubby Little Mitts, they are a wonderful mix of satire-sitcom-surreal material.

CM:  Can we talk a bit about your career now? How did you end up performing comedy? Was it something you always wanted to do?  
PG: I always loved comedy from a very young age but never had the confidence to actually do it. Then a few years ago one of my best friends very suddenly split up with his partner and wanted to do a comedy course to take his mind off things, so I agreed to do it with him.

It culminated in a showcase performance which went well for both of us. He ended up quitting after his second gig though, but I had the bug. I loved the feeling of making people laugh, so carried on and now, here I am!

CM:  What have been the highlights of your career thus far?  
PG: Getting nominated for the Amused Moose Comedy Award in 2022 was pretty cool, but probably selling out Soho Theatre this year.

It was my favourite performance of my debut show. It was on a Friday night and the atmosphere was just amazing.

I also fulfilled a dream to perform at The Bedford in Balham, a place where I first watched live comedy as a punter nearly 20 years ago.

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future? 
PG: If this show does well I’d like it to have a life beyond Edinburgh. I’d also like to write something for radio or TV that explores the show’s themes further.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this? 
PG: I’ll take little break in September, but am going to New York later this year to gig there, which I am very excited about.

I’d like to gig more in other countries so hopefully, if this goes well, I’ll feel more confident about doing this.  

Phil Green performed ‘Four Weddings And A Breakdown’ at PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth at Edinburgh Festival 2023.

LINKS: www.philgreencomedy.com | twitter.com/philgreencomedy