Andrew Collins

Liam Lonegran 09/09/2009

Liam Lonegran caught up with veteran journalist and casualty of NME's acid house years (+ one half of the Herring and Collins podcast alongside Richard Herring)....Andrew Collins. at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

Do you believe in Brian Logan's hypothesis that Richard Herring and Brendan Burns are waving in a ''New Offensive''?

No. Comedy has been offensive for years. If he means that some comedians are daring to question the rules set down during the 80s then yes, some of them are, but this is just playing with taboos, which is what comedy is there for. You can't generalise. And you can't lump comics in together, as they are all subtly different in their approach. Sean Hughes had a go at Stephen Fry in his act this year, and that gets gasps from the audience, but he's not attacking Fry for anything other than his professional choices, so it's not nasty, just surprising.

Who (comedically & theatrically) has triumphed so far?

Comedically, my favourite show apart from Hitler Moustache, has been Sarah Millican's Typical Woman. I didn't see her first Edinburgh show, so have nothing to compare it to, but she is a delight: chatty and personable, but with gritty, truthful stuff to impart. I adored Daniel Kitson, but his show was a bit too long, so he lost points, despite his actual genius. Theatrically, it was Edwyn Collins at the Assembly Hall, a truly moving evening that shows that recovery from a stroke can occur in surprising ways.

Who (comedically & theatically) has been left in a ditch covered in petrol?

I have seen nothing that I actively disliked. But then again, I have taken no risks, and only seen shows by people I know, people I have already seen, or people everybody else likes.

Are the bigger names snatching the show?

Well, Ricky Gervais's one-off show Science, which I didn't see, seemed to draw lukewarm reviews from critics - although I suspect the fans loved it - so in many ways it's harder for the big names, as expectation is higher, and there's a slight sense of resentment from comics who do the full three weeks and suffer for their art. I bumped into Jarred Christmas, who had flown in to do a couple of shows, presumably capitalising on his success in the Pot Noodle adverts, and he was totally upfront about it, calling it "the gentleman's Edinburgh."

Name 4 fledgling comedians who penetrated the Edinburgh ozone and rose above the shit.

None of these are really fledgling, but I had never seen them before, so they fledged for me: Michael Legge and Johnny Candon, with bags of energy and homoerotic tension in their King Of Everything sketch show; Jamie Kilstein, a sharp and brilliant leftwing American stand-up; and I also liked Nick Doody, on the same Free Fringe bill, who does politics from a British perspective. I am not exactly the sort of punter who "discovers" comedians - I follow where other opinion-formers lead.

Any notable rivalries at this years 'fest?

Not that I saw, unless you count all the explicit and veiled Mark Watson jokes, because he's done an advert. This doesn't worry me. I like pear cider.

Best example of vulgarity at this years event?

Richard Herring's offer, at one of our podcast gigs, to wank into his own hand and get the audience to lick it up, in reference to the fact that, in one review, have-a-go hero John Smeaton was reported to have had "the audience eating out of his hand."

Any celebrated heckles?

An uncelebrated heckle, again at one of our podcast shows: Richard asked people to cheer if they thought I should kill myself, on stage, and one solitary man cheered.

On a scale of ''raincloud in the ball-pit'' and ''Knickers on the trampoline'' much have you enjoyed Edinburgh?

I loved it, except when it rained sideways across the Pleasance Courtyard and sent plastic glasses and flyers asunder. It was great to be performing as well as consuming. It's the kind of place where, if you're not performing, you wish you were. And two great baked potatoes from the Tempting Tattie: cheese and mango chutney.