Wednesday, 5 July 2017

How I Won Best Dramaturgy: Ben Fogg @ Edfringe 2017

Ben Fogg’s debut stand up show ‘How I Won Best Newcomer 2017’ will be at the Pleasance Courtyard – Below for the month of August for tickets go to

What was the inspiration for this performance?

When I was 19 years old I changed the face of light entertainment. I was the youngest ever associate producer in US television history. I had an assistant, an apartment in New York and a six-figure salary and yet I gave it all up to become a comic. My show is about why that decision was 140% correct.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

In comedy, tone and intention are everything. When jokes appear written down, meaning often gets mangled. Conversely, in a live performance, I can say or do ridiculous things which an audience will read as deliberately comic. My show this year deals with contemporary notions of success, adulthood and why I’m better than everyone else. You should come.

How did you become interested in making performance?

The first time I made a joke I was six years old. My parents had friends over for dinner and I dropped a razor-sharp riff about Arthur Scargill using an ice cream cone as a microphone. I noticed that adults suddenly treated me with an admiration and respect that had been sorely lacking beforehand. That was the first metaphorical step on my journey to the becoming the comic genius I am today. That cone should be found, framed and sold to a museum.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

As soon as I thought up the title I knew I wanted to smash through conventional joke telling to a place where the truth becomes ridiculous. I come from film, so I use a bit of video on stage but even more in the writing process. I’m constantly recording and editing the thing together as I go keeping only the moments that feel funny and true. Essentially my debut album is a ‘Greatest Hits’. By the time the festival starts I estimate I’ll have seen over 38 hours of my own face. It’s been a delightful time.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I’m not just a skilled stand-up. I trained in long form improv at the IO theatre in Chicago. As a result, previous shows have been carefully crafted chaos-trains that didn’t even begin on the rails. My publicist has made it abundantly clear that no one respects that kind of maverick improvising, so this year I’ve actually done a lot of writing.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Epiphany upon epiphany until they’re crying out for less self-knowledge. This show is an autobiography, a sermon and a pool party rolled into one. Prepare to lean about me (and yourselves) while soaking wet.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I’m allowing myself one wanky answer. I want to create a dissonance between the ‘live’ stand-up element of the show and the filmed/projected content. The screen acts as a window into my life that I would never normally allow open. The information divulged on film runs as a commentary on the live action, forcing the audience to evaluate performer and performance on terms other than those that I apparently intend. Basically, the videos make me look a prat and it’s funny.

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