Performer: Patrick Monahan Photograph by: Steve Ullathorne Show: #GOALS Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot Promoter: Vivienne Smith Mgmt Ltd
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
Every year I write a brand-new show and this year it’s called #Goals. It’s about aspirations and how some young people look at being on ‘Love Island’ as an aspirational achievement, whereas you could just marry someone better than yourself to make you a better person. I look at the real-life ups and downs of this.
Tell me about your first gig.
My first gig was a 5-minute open spot, which ended up with me still being on stage after 7 mins and being flashed at to come off! To be honest it felt like I had only been on stage for 30 seconds. And it still always feels like that cos it’s so much fun!
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
Not so many rituals now, but in the old days I used to constantly do up my trainer shoelaces cos I worried they might come undone. And I always liked to have a quick look at the audience and the venue from the side or the back of the room, just so that I knew what to expect. That’s why I always used to come on stage from the back of the room.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
Luckily, I never have time to read reviews during the festival! I’m too busy running around doing shows or reading over my notes for my show to be reading the papers and reviews. I wish I had that sort of time and luxury!
But my publicist Johanna Martin is brilliant, she will send me snippets of reviews, usually just the stars and a quote of the review to use. I can tell if it’s a good or bad review if she doesn’t include the stars with the quote, then I can guess the reviewer wasn’t that keen on the overall show. Luckily (touch wood) the reviews so far have all been decent. The only time I saw a bad one it said “he comes on stage almost with the words “please like me” scribbled all over his face” which might be true cos I can’t think of a time I would walk on stage not wanting the audience to like me!
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
I wish I had the time to. I used to go up to Edinburgh with about 4 books to read over the month. I never read a single page of any of them! Every year I still take a book up with me, thinking I’ll have time during the day to read. That time has never come and so far no books have ever been read during my Edinburgh fringe run.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
I don’t mind reviewers at all. I’ve met loads of reviewers up at the festival and nearly all of them have been nice pleasant people to chat to!
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?
I’m not a judge, criminal lawyer or police officer. My job is to entertain people, which I do in my way, which is none offensive, light hearted entertainment. I could never speak or judge the action of other comedians, I could only ever explain why I do or say certain things on stage. I would never want to cause any offence to anyone myself. Comedy is about bringing people together, not segregating. It’s about building bridges between communities not putting up walls.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
Anything can be made funny. But to make that topic funny, no matter how dark it is, you need to be from that experience or that background. I talk about Irish/ Iranian experiences and immigration because I’m an Irish Iranian immigrant from Iran. I don’t talk about being an immigrant from Sweden because I don’t know what it’s like coming from Sweden. So yes, you can talk about anything you like, but if you want people to be relaxed and laugh along with you, talk about the experiences you know. That’s normally a helpful rule.
Have you ever gone too far?
Not intentionally. The only person I would ever make feel uncomfortable at a show would be myself on stage. There is no point making someone in the audience feel uncomfortable as that person has paid from their hard earned wages to see you. They’ve invested their time to come and see you. Why would you want to make their time seeing you painful? It doesn’t make sense, unless they’ve booked to see a dominatrix but bought the wrong ticket.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
There are no clear rules or secrets to great comedy, but one thing for certain is that you’re only as good as your next gig. I’ve been lucky enough to play some lovely big venues like the Edinburgh Playhouse and the Hammersmith Apollo, amazing venues full of thousands of people. It’s been great, but I’ve also played small venues and they have been some of the best and most memorable nights of all. When you can see every face in the audience laughing and smiling back at you, that’s when you know you’ve done a great job and the audience goes home happy. Many people work in jobs where people buy their products, their clothes, use their apps or appliances that make their lives easier. My job is to make everyone’s life happier. And when they’re happy, I’m buzzing!