In 2012, Tiff Stevenson was awarded Stutter’s Spirit of the Fringe. In 2013 she had an operation on her tongue, drank Everyday Vodka and spent too much time arguing on forums. In Optimist, her new show for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Tiff explores the possibility of optimism…
“The clue is in the title really, it’s about optimism or lack thereof… when I’ve had too much or not enough. I had a bit of a horrible anus – as the queen calls it – in 2013. It’s not just about me though, it’s also about the NHS, Kardashians, Inner critics, Everyday Vodka and parents.”
When did you first decide that you wanted to stand up and make people laugh, and how did you get started?
“I’ve always wanted to convey my ideas whether it’s through writing, abstract art or capoeira. I am art. Funny art.
“People have said I was funny at school but I remember it more as being sarcastic and asking too many questions. Or do I?”
You’ve also done a fair bit of TV and radio work. Do you prefer TV, radio or performing to live audiences – and why?
“Live is fantastic, the feedback is instant and anything can happen in the room. TV and radio are great as it’s collaborative and you get to see what other funny people bring to the table so that’s a joy too. I like them all for different reasons book me for everything.”
What advice would you give to your seventeen year old self?
“Don’t go out with that pizza delivery boy.”
If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“Joan Rivers, Maria Bamford, Roisin Conaty, Kathleen Madigan, Stuart Black, Nish Kumar, James Acaster, Rich Hall, Andy Zaltzman, Mark Thomas, Louie CK.
“If it’s pure fantasy and I could have reanimated corpses then George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers.
“Obviously those are my top drawer and there are loads of others who I enjoy and lots of exciting new voices coming through. It’s great time for stand up.”