Show: Melissa Stephens: Hot Dogs & Tears Venue Assembly Rooms Time: 7.40pm Dates: 4th – 27th August (except 15th) Photograph: Dean Chekvala Links: Instagram Website Tickets
Tell me about your 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, Hot Dogs & Tears.
Ever since I started doing stand up, the jokes that got the most laughs were always things about my cringe worthy family, the wild South, and my bizarre perception and actions. It’s like watching someone trip and fall, making eye contact with them and trying to suppress laughter until you know how the person feels. I’m the person falling and laughing, don’t worry.
How difficult is it to portray real life events that are deeply personal to you on stage? Have others that feature in Hot Dogs & Tears seen the show?
It’s very difficult. I worry about it a lot. Some of my family have seen my stand up online that featured jokes that helped shape the structure of Hot Dogs & Tears. I remember one Thanksgiving, one of my cousins had watched it and they told my siblings and then everyone went into another room to watch it while I waited. They got a kick out of it which was a relief. I think I was more nervous for them to not find me funny.
The main people I am worried about haven’t watched anything of mine and I took everything off line. It’s why this is a live only experience, which to be honest is how I think all stand up should be. It’s a shared experience at that moment. Maybe that will change or maybe that will make me cool and more people will come see me because it’s an event to be had. Maybe my next show I would be more open to taping since it’s not as much about my family. The saying write like everyones dead doesn’t bring me much comfort.
It says here that you’re a ‘reformed redneck’. What did the redneck version of Melissa Stephens look like? Was it a gradual transformation or did you wake up one morning changed?
Gosh, the redneck version of me thought cow tipping was funny… Gradual transformation that happened slowly over many years.
You’re a comedian, actor, writer, and director. But which comes first and why?
Comedian. I’m not really an actor anymore so I take that one off. I think a comedian is a writer and director. It encompasses the whole for me. Plus I’ll do anything for a laugh, my husband also says I laugh at my own jokes all the time.
Finally, ask and answer a question of your own.
How do you like your hotdogs?
Boiled, microwaved, or on a grill. In a bun that is hot, with ketchup and yellow mustard only. One is never enough and two makes me too full. And a sausage is not a hot dog.