Edinburgh Fringe: Angus Dunican interview

Inspired by collecting stories for a eulogy, in his new Fringe show The Vanity Project Angus Dunican examines the evolution of our public selves and how our circle of friends can choose to thwart or support our attempts to try on different versions of ourselves. Charismatic and assured, Angus’s playful take on the myths we build throughout our adulthood will make you see your relationships in a new light. AAA caught up with Angus for a chat earlier this week.

How has your Fringe been so far?

Really great, thanks! People have come – that’s new!

Tell us about the show you’re in…

It’s called ‘The Vanity Project’. It’s about self-projection and personal mythology.  It’s about how we put ourselves across, how we try to co-opt people into our little stories and how it’s kind of arrogant to think that there’s such a thing as ‘you’ in the first place. Really bankable weekend material like that.  It’s also (in no particular order) about liars, school, anxiety, VHS tapes, Tuesday and whales.

What’s the audience reaction been like?

 Amazing! Yesterday was one of the best gigs of my life.

When did you realise you were funny?

I didn’t have that X-Men moment of discovering my power (still waiting on that), I just aspired to be from the get-go. Kurt Vonnegut has this thing about being a younger brother and how the only way into the conversation with the older kids and the grown-ups at dinner is to be funny. I think that’s about right. I often feel very funny around certain people but then preposterously unfunny around others. I’m still not sure I’m funny to be honest.  I perform this fairly vigorous test to see if I’m still funny each day. I call it ‘doing my show’.

Were you the class clown?

I don’t think so. Maybe I was the class weirdo? Children tend to laugh in a very tribal kind of way and class clowns are usually the kids that are good at rabble rousing and (sometimes) pointing at the weirdos. If I was the class anything then I was the class wildcard; sometimes funny, sometimes over-sensitive, sometimes clever and sometimes just a day-dreaming no hoper.

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

Yes, but doesn’t mean they always should. Taboo breaking is a great strength of comedy but some comics gun for it too hard and employ it in the way that children employ new swear words.  They became these little, transgressive magic spells.

Was there a comedian who inspired you?

Too many to mention but the people whose rhythms I find myself lapsing into the most are story tellers like Mike Birbiglia, Tommy Tiernan and Victoria Wood

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

Anything the Free Association are doing and the ACMS. I also really enjoyed Jonny Pelham’s show.

What’s on your hit-list to see?

Larry Dean

Elf Lyons

Rachel Parris

Garret Millerick

Lucy Frederick

Jamali Maddix

Bridget Christie

Bilal Zafar

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

You know when you’ve been for a massive swim and you’ve fought against the current a little and you’re knackered and you’ve collapsed on your front on the beach? You know you’re just letting your bones drink the heat of the sun-warmed rocks beneath you and you keep letting out these little whimpering sighs of relief? That, but in my room with tea.

Can you recommend a bar or restaurant in Edinburgh?

I’ve always liked The Last Drop and I had great veggie curry at Kalpna the other night.

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

A seagull eating my flyer – raw!

Sell your show in no more than ten words….

If there’s someone you’ve never quite figured out, listen closely.

Angus Dunican: The Vanity Project, Gilded Balloon at the Counting House (Venue 170), 4.15, until 28 Aug, www.edfringe.com

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