Comedy Newbie Q&A: Patrick Spicer

Attribution/author:Article by: Brian Donaldson
Publish date: 5 August 2022

Article Type:by:

The Edinburgh Fringe is right on top of us now, and here we throw some questions at a comedy debutant

Taking the Q&A on with good grace is Patrick Spicer

Picture: James Deacon

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been ever been given from a seasoned comic? 

That the audience don’t actually know a joke hasn’t worked, or where your punchline was supposed to be, and you can just keep right on going as if nothing happened until they laugh. Up until that point I felt a strange compulsion to point out to the audience exactly what had gone wrong and how it had made me feel. I managed to stop short of hand-written apology notes but only just. 

And what has proved to be the least useful? 

Pick the toughest member of the audience and headbutt them to win the fearful admiration of the crowd (it actually just creates a really tense vibe). Either that or being told that the comedy industry would never take someone with a Hotmail account seriously. As if Netflix would be about to commission a huge new special then stop and think ‘but do our audience connect with Hotmail users?’

Is there one thing that keeps cropping up when people talk to you about Edinburgh in August? 

I think it’s more or less all the same stuff that crops up every year except this year with a super cute viral subtext; do you think there’ll be audience [or will they all have or fear covid]?, is your show ready [have you had covid recently enough]?, hey I can’t taste my sandwich! [I currently have covid].

What’s your favourite word that begins in ‘e’? 

‘Excrement’. It sounds like scientists came up with it because the word ‘poo’ was too silly and they needed something science-y that makes you feel sick to say. I also have a disgusting story in my show about a ridiculous test a bum doctor had me do that I’m still convinced was part of an unreleased episode of Punk’d

‘Sam Campbell should be celebrated as a sort of national holiday’

Is there one act you absolutely HAVE to see in August?

Sam Campbell. Seeing his show in 2019 was the most I have laughed in any one-hour period of my life. Everything he does is just so surprising and creative and uniquely funny and I think he should be celebrated as a sort of national holiday. 

Picture yourself in early September: what would constitute a successful Fringe for you? 

Genuinely if I’ve gotten better as a comedian and I can talk about more interesting, honest things in a sillier way then I’ll be really happy. If people have written about my show and they haven’t called me a snivelling fraud or a grotesque prick that would also be great. All jokes aside, I’ll be satisfied with massive and immediate global fame.  

What percentage of your early stand-up performances is likely to appear in your Fringe debut? 

0%. When I started I did a sort of character that wasn’t really a character and was generally confusing for everyone involved including me. I would pretend I thought things I didn’t think and then stare incredulously at the crowd for very long silences. At the time, I thought silence was a very powerful thing for a brand-new comedian to consciously use rather than something that would obviously have happened either way. 

Which other new comedian do you feel a special kinship with? And do you reckon it’s reciprocated? 

Neil O’Rourke and I did a split hour in 2018 called Cool Dude Island and each night we would claim to be the co-Presidents of Cool Dude Island and welcome audiences on to the ‘island’ as our newest citizens. We share an unbreakable bond forged in total confusion at having done that and, of course, in being the Presidents of Cool Dude Island. 

Which side of your family do you get your funny bones from? 

Thankfully everyone on both sides of my family has bones, but my mum’s side are Irish so they’re funny in an Irish singing and telling stories sort of way. My dad’s side are Maltese so they’re funny in an eating Pastizzi and shouting at each other about the history of bus franchises in Malta kind of way (if you’re Maltese this is VERY funny).

What will you do to keep fit and healthy (relatively speaking) during August? 

Last Fringe I brought running shoes with me and ran on the 3rd of August, and then did not run again until May the following year. This year I’ve bought a gym membership for the month so I guess I will be doing a full month of workouts on August 3rd. 

Which word of six letters or more will crop up the most in your Edinburgh show?


Patrick Spicer: Who’s This All Of A Sudden?, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, until 28 August, 6.20pm.

Join our newsletter