Performer: Mel Byron Photograph by: Anon Show: Old Movies Saved My Life Venue: theSpace@JurysInn Promoter: Indie
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
I’ve been a fan of old movies since childhood. I grew up in a very small town, with nothing to do except watch the telly. My show tells how I learnt all about life from watching old movies day after day. Everyone else I knew was sneaking into the pub, under age, but I was glued to Cary Grant. It’s an homage to those movies and also a good-natured roast, because some of them are very silly. I still love them, though.
Tell me about your first gig.
Would it surprise you if I said nobody laughed? At least it showed me how much I had to learn.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I listen to operetta. And write down key words from my set to imprint them on my brain.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
An audience member once saw me in the toilet, pointed to me, and said to her friend ‘Now, she was very good.’ Well, I was chuffed. I’ve never hung round the loos long enough to hear the bad things they say, but I’ve had a few people not make eye contact in the queue.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
Yes, of course. How will I know what quotes to staple onto my flyers, if I don’t? I love stapling.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
They’ve got a job to do, same as the rest of us.
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
Whether laws were broken, I’m not qualified to say, but common decency and humanity were given a proper kicking.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
So much of comedy is founded on the demeaning of someone, often ourselves. It’s an uncomfortable medium, but, yes, some things are totally unsuitable. The Holocaust is an obvious one, along with rape, putting down women generally, and racism.
Have you ever gone too far?
Not on stage, I don’t think. But in real life, I have proper foot-in-mouth and am forever saying sorry.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
I first flirted with comedy more than 20 years ago, then gave up and did a proper job. So, when I did my first gig two years ago, after a VERY long break, to a packed room at Angel Comedy and got the big laughs, it was such a boost to know I could still do it. More grey hair, but still rocking it.