Fringe interview: Barry Ferns

Barry Loves You is an hour of entertainment on what it is like to be the human being Barry Ferns living life in the 21st century.

AAA caught up with Barry for a chat in between his Edinburgh Fringes shows.

How has your Fringe been so far?

It has been mostly dry. But a challenge (when is anything worthwhile not a challenge?). One of the biggest challenges of the Fringe is that you never really know the performance space until you get to festival. So you can be building a show that doesn’t work in the space you have. That’s what happened. The first five days involved my re-writing the show!

Tell us about the show you’re in…

It’s called Barry Loves You. It is a lot like love – parts delightful, parts intimate, part hopeful, part delusional.

What’s the audience reaction been like?

People have been very complimentary – in fact, I’ve not had a negative comment yet! One family came back a second time and bought other people with them – probably the biggest compliment you can get as a comedy performer!

When did you realise you were funny?

I always doubt I’m funny – but I have ALWAYS tried. One of my earliest memories is trying to memorise jokes from a joke book and talking them into a Walkman/recorder I had under the covers by torchlight.

Were you the class clown?

The tragedy was that for years I wasn’t funny. Just the annoying kid at school trying so hard to be funny and failing. I guess I was a clown, but not in a complimentary sense. Clowns are always failing, I was always failing. Then when I was 14 I went on holiday and met some people and they found me funny. When I came back to school I was funny suddenly. I’d gotten confidence maybe. After that I was a less tragic class clown.

Can comedians get away with saying things no one else can?

I think you can say more if you are funny. Even off stage, if you tell someone the truth with a smile, you can often get away with it. For example imagine someone with a scowl saying “If you do that again, I’ll have to sack you” and someone with a smile, astounded by their behaviour saying the same sentence. It gets the message across in a much clearer, less threatening way – probably in a way that can be heard too.

Was there a comedian who inspired you?

I was inspired by so so many comedians. As a young teenager, Rob Newman and Harry Hill, Eddie Izzard and Jack Dee. As a late teenager, Bill Hicks was a big influence and mentor.

Are there any other shows on this year’s you’d recommend?

Yes – Nick Elleray’s It’s Been Emotional and Masud Milas’ Abides Also Micky Overmans’ Role Model an The Pleasance.

What’s on your hit-list to see?

Ben Target’s Splosh and Lavender Menace at Summerhall.

What do you like to do in Edinburgh on your day off?

I go to the Isle Of Bute and imagine I’m cast away. It’s a few hours away but it allows me to re-callibrate and continue afresh the day afterwards.

Can you recommend a bar or restaurant in Edinburgh?

Yes! Mother India is great. Amazing food. Amazing.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen this year?

A pony in someone’s show. I wasn’t expecting a pony to come out. And it did. Totally stole the show.

Sell your show in no more than ten words….

“Personal, marvellous, storytelling, I did not want to end”

Barry Ferns: Barry Loves You, Just the Tonic at The Tron, 9pm, until 26 August,

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