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Quick Quiz: Carl Donnelly

By | Published on Sunday 13 August 2017

This August the Edinburgh Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we have asked a plethora of performers about their personal Fringe experiences. Today comedian Carl Donnelly.

TW: What was your first ever experience of the Edinburgh Fringe?
CD: I came up in 2004 for the first time. I wasn’t a performer, I just came up and watched shows. It was in the build up to me starting stand-up. I still didn’t have the guts to do it, but was watching loads of it to help me build up the courage. I was blown away by the fact there were so many shows to choose from all day every day.

TW: What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen performed at the Fringe?
CD: I’ve seen so many good shows it’s almost impossible to pick one, but I’d say Tony Law’s show I saw that first year I visited the Fringe was a game changer. It was a perfect example of why the Fringe is so amazing. I watched Tony do such a bizarre hour of surreal comedy in a hot sweaty cave and realised that there is nowhere on earth that can match the Fringe for experiences like that.

TW: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen performed at the Fringe – so bad it was good? 
CD: I won’t name him, but a very good friend of mine pulled an all-nighter late last Fringe and drank his way through to the afternoon of his show. He was in such a mess. We got him showered and sent him to his venue and then obviously snuck into the back to watch the car crash unfold. He’s an exceptional comedian, but on this day we watched him mumble his way through 40 mins – the show was meant to be an hour – while buckets of sweat poured off of him. At one point he told the audience he’d been swimming that afternoon hence his puffy eyes. I loved it.

TW: Which of the Fringe shows you performed in do you most fondly remember – and why?
CD: My show of 2015 – ‘Bad Man Tings’ – was the one that I came away from the festival feeling the best about in recent times. I shared some things in that show that I had genuinely struggled with most of my life, and as the festival went on I felt better and better about them. I think it was a show that had a cathartic feel to it, but also got the balance right and stayed fun for the whole show.

TW: Name a Fringe performer – past or present – who you’d like to join on stage?
CD: Phil Kay is someone who lives and breathes this festival so much and is such a legend of the Fringe that I’d have to pick him. He is so exciting to watch that I imagine being onstage with him would be as funny as being in the audience.

TW: Other than performing and seeing shows, what is your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh during August?
CD: Eat all the food. Edinburgh is really growing into one of the best cities for vegans in the UK. Glasgow is widely regarded as the best, so I think there is an element of competition spurring Edinburgh on. Every year I get here there are a bunch of new vegan establishments for me to try.

Carl Donnelly performed ‘The Nutter On The Bus’ at Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus at Edinburgh Festival 2017.