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Ivo Graham

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Words: Caroline Whitham

First question: with three shows across the Fringe this year, are you actively trying to destroy your physical and mental health or will that be just an inevitable side effect?

During a recent burst of brief and chaotic self-reflection, I toyed with the idea that my mental health often heads south faster when I haven’t got enough going on, so therefore maybe busy = good? However, it does very much feel like the pendulum is going to swing too far in the opposite direction this Fringe. 

Your main gig, Organised Fun, promises more of your signature chaotic crowd interaction. Do you thrive on the risks that audience interaction creates?

While I must stress that I am proud of my written stand-up, and also that my improvisational instincts often lead me down the most miserable of cul de sacs, I do broadly think that overall yes I’m at the “thriving on risk” end of the spectrum. Other comics take their risks with their material, by leading their audience on an intrepid journey into unchartered stand-up territory. Not for me thanks! Can my journey be to Tesco? What crisps do you want?

By total contrast, Graham in the Green sounds like a pretty intimate show. As a work in progress, can you tell us anything about your inspiration and how a small audience helps with the creative process?

It’s explicitly billed as “theatre”, “storytelling”, and “not funny”, so I feel I’m pretty well insured on that front. As for the size audience, less people to disappoint with work in progress = less anxious work in progress = usually better work in progress, really. Simple as that. At least down to about 15 people, then we’re heading for “so few it’s awkward again” territory.

Finally, DJ Battles pits guest comedians’ playlists against each other in an epic showdown of great and not so great tunes. What’s your favourite face off from previous sessions?

The meticulous musical minds of Rhys James and Celya AB basically workshopped this whole thing en route back from Suffolk last month, and it was midway through Rhys’s stunning choice of Estelle’s “American Boy” (ft. Kanye West!!) that I thought “we might be onto something here.” (NB: we might not be).

Is there anything in particular you look forward to whenever you’re planning your Edinburgh stay? Any city highlights?

I’m sharing a two-bed with my beloved Alfie Brown for the fourth Fringe in a row and the tussle over who gets the single room and who gets the double (often switched midway through depending on which of the combined five children are in town) always gets things off to an exceedingly genteel start.

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to seeing?

Josh Weller’s Age Against The Machine couldn’t be much more up my street by the sounds of things.

Any advice for first-time visitors?

Piemaker on South Bridge has picked me up from so many hangovers and prevented or at least buttressed against so many more. If it’s 5pm and you’re about to watch/do four shows with Pint But Not Food gaps in between each, get a couple of Fiery Cheese Dogs NOW. And then sack off the first show and go and eat them in the Meadows.

Ivo Graham: Organised Fun
Pleasance Courtyard – Beyond
2-27 Aug

Graham in the Green
Pleasance Courtyard – The Green
17-25, 27 Aug

Comedians’ DJ Battles
Assembly Studios – Underground
4, 11, 20, 27 Aug


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