Show: Dave Chawner: Underdog Venue: Laughing Horse @ City Cafe Time: 8pm Dates: 4th - 28th August Show: Dave Chawner: Mental Venue: Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire Time: 5pm Dates: 4th - 28th August Photographer: Rowan Morgan Links: Dave’s Profile and Social Media
Hi Dave. Tell me about your 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, Underdog.
It’s basically a thinly veiled excuse for me to speak to people with cute dogs while I’m flyering! I highly recommend it, the whole ruse has worked like a charm. However, I’ve sort of had to build a premise around it. Working with Steve Bennett’s Chortle, who’s helped direct me, I’ve created a show all about dogs, defeat and determination which is basically a way of me coming to terms with my status angst.
Tell me about your other 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, Mental
It’s a show all about mental health (rather than mental illness). 1 in 4 people have mental illness but 4 in 4 have mental health. I worry that whenever we talk about mental health people zone out and think it’s all depressing with shocking stats. This show uses humour to celebrate good mental health sensitively using comedy in order to help those who might be a bit wobbly in the upstairs department and to help entertain and educate those who are lucky enough to have never had any issues.
Tell me about Comedy For Coping
Comedy For Coping is a new initiative I’ve created. It’s a 6 week online comedy course aimed at people with experience of mental health problems. It teaches stand up as a method of recovery from mental health problems in order to build participants confidence, develop communication skills and strengthen connection with other people to combat loneliness and literally provide a platform for them to stand up for themselves.
The course has already been funded by Derbyshire County Council, The British Academy and NHS Wales.I’ve been working with expert input from Kings College London, University Of Nottingham & University Of Kent and already have a few exciting developments coming with Youtube and NHS England.
Tell me about your book, Weight Expectations
It’s all about my experience of developing anorexia as a teenager. I didn’t realise I had anorexia, and even when I did I didn’t have the words to describe it. The book gives an anorexic perspective sensitively using comic delivery, to set out practical tips, personal anecdotes and uplifting playlists to give hope to anyone in a similar situation, and provides insight into what life with mental illness is like.
Why have you again chosen to perform as part of Alex Petty’s Free Festival?
Because he beats me and chains me to a wall in his garage from September to May. After that time, he lets me out and see the light for a month while I do The Brighton Fringe and then he bundles me in the back of a panelled van and takes me to the Scottish Capital…but also, I love the free model. I think it is better for performers, better for audiences and is a better, fairer and more sustainable way of doing comedy. But, what do I know, I spend most of my year chained to a wall in a garage in Twickenham!