"I treat the audience like I treated kids on my first day in a new school" Idle chit-chat with Alison Spittle
If you don't know Alison Spittle then you're probably not Irish. In her homeland she's been all over the telly. Bringing her new show to the Fringe, she's looking to make more people laugh. We had a chat to find out more about the Irish laughmeister, and more importantly, to find out whether she loves or loathes Mrs Brown's Boys.
Hey Alison, how the devil are you?
I’m good. It’s rained in Ireland for the first time in two weeks and I’ve missed it. I greedily sniffed in that fresh rain on hot pavement and vegetation smell. The world became my very own vape and I enjoyed the air. I then walked down an alleyway and smelled excrement, so that’s tarnished my excitement.
What have you been up to today?
Well first off, I had a shower. I met a comedian friend for coffee and we did a bit of a writing session. I love adding tags to jokes and getting other perspectives on my stuff. I tried my first ever bowl of gazpacho, I like Bloody Marys so I’m open to the idea of having cold tomato liquids. This however was like cold watery salsa. It reminded me of pretending to get sick in a tv show. I had to do eight takes of holding cold carrot and coriander soup n my mouth and spitting it out on demand.
In the end I felt so ill, I actually vomited on a cameraman. That was my last take. Gosh, I feel a bit sick typing this.
Your, shall we say colourful, website has no bio for you, so, please tell us about yourself?
Yes, did you notice the christ face Mouse key? Apparently the flashing gives people headaches. I might tone it down. My bio is on Wikipedia, I’m still not sure who put that up. They got my secondary school wrong. My grand aunt in Lincolnshire now introduces me to her friends as “my niece from Wikipedia”. I was born in London and flittered about between London, Ireland and Germany and eventually settled in a small village in the middle of Ireland when I was eight. I do stand up comedy, wrote and acted in a sitcom in Ireland, you wouldn’t of heard of it.
Describe your comedy style.
Conversational, hopefully not cruel. I treat the audience like I treated kids on my first day in a new school. C’mon people I don’t have much time. Let’s be friends quick.
Tell us what you can about your show for the Fringe, ‘Worrier Princess’ in two sentences?
It’s a show about getting what I wanted and realising I needed help.
Just one sentence. Snappy. How many times have you been to the Fringe, and what’s your best memory?
I’ve been maybe about six times. My Grandparents were quite proactive, I think I saw a college production of the Wizard of Oz when I was about ten? My granddad told me he saw Mr Bean when he was starting out and fell asleep. I was very impressed at his ability to sleep in any situation.
You’ve got your own TV show in Ireland, can you tell us about it?
It’s called Nowhere Fast. It’s about Angela (I play her), She says a very rude thing in to a live mic at a radio station. She has to move back with her family and reconnect with her old friends and convince her mum she’s not suicidal and get a job.
What are your thoughts on that most famous of Irish TV shows, ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’?
It brings my family pure unadulterated joy and much like my step father, I gave it a chance and respect it for how happy it makes my mum. Plus the real Mrs Brown was a big lefty and I lived in a part of Dublin she represented as a politician and they all love her.
Podcasts, they’re a new thing for me, and people love them. What can you tell us about yours?
Mine is an interview style podcast done very loosly in front of a live audience. I interview mostly comedians or people in public life in Ireland who have a sense of humour.
What’s your favourite episode so far?
Probably the episode where I interview Shawna Scott, she owns a bespoke sex shop and we discuss what would be a bad material to make a sex toy out of.
Love Island. Tell me why it’s not the worst thing on television?
Because it’s humanity at it’s basest form. I like to watch it and despair at the world while being slightly aroused.
You’re a big user of Twitter, so is it a place for genuine discussion and debate by well informed individuals or a smorgasbord of vile humans arguing with each other?
It’s neither. It’s an all you can eat buffet of attention. I graze on it all day. I’ve discovered that Neville Southall is an angel.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
When Emma Thompson came backstage at the Palladium after a 'Guilty Feminist' gig. I looked at her and said to myself “she must be aware she looks very like Emma Thompson, Oh jesus it’s her” and then I looked away from her like I would look away from the sun. She’s a lovely human being.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve gigged?
A teen suicide prevention gig. The audience were eight hundred fifteen-year-olds and reduced me to tears by the end of it.
What other comedian is worth checking out?
Mat Ewins, he made me laugh until I was in pain. Rosie Jones is hilarious and has a great story in her show this year. I saw Catherine Bohart’s first hour, she will win an award I’d say.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What did you google during this interview? I googled the word for the smell of earth after rain. Petrichor.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Not often, I’m a tea drinker, I like a glob of milk and the teabag given a good squeeze.
Alison's show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot at 5:15pm every day of the festival. Tickets are on sale now.
To find out more about Alison you can (prepare your eyes!) visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.