Nat Luurtsema Nat Luurtsema

EFGs: Nat Luurtsema, Chris Ramsey, John Robins

Published on July 23rd, 2010 | Jonny Abrams

Edinburgh Fringe Grillings

Nat Luurtsema

First up on the hypothetical Rocksucker couch is former Funny Women finalist and Chortle Best Newcomer nominee Nat Luurtsema

What have been your best and worst experiences of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

I’ve got very fond memories of my 8-person sketch group last year and our miniscule backstage area. Though I did get swine flu and my germs danced through the tiny air that we all breathed and into everyone else. And one year I went blind and called a friend in a panic: “I’m blind! I’m by a bin! Can you find me?” The answer was “Yes”, and “Eventually”.

Which is your favourite Fringe venue? And why?

The Joker Dome, because it is my venue this year. Love the one you’re with, advised The Isley Brothers.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen at the Festival?

Last summer, I saw a man in London carrying a fully dressed female dummy around, claiming, with a lot of volume and aggression, that it was his wife. Two months later I bumped into him and his mute floppy wife on the Royal Mile and realised his mental illness was on a national tour.

What’s the best heckle you’ve ever heard?

A girl silently threw up while I was on. It was Freshers Week. I didn’t take it as a critique. I only realised what had happened afterwards as she was surrounded by heroically polite people who all pretended it hadn’t happened.

If you could invent your own sport, what would it entail?

A three-legged race with twenty competitors tied together by the legs with bacon. The race takes place in the woods in the height of summer so the bacon gets increasingly stretchy and appealing to wild animals. Plus all competitors armed to the teeth. The rule is: If you can carry it, you can hit people with it.

Are there any other acts you look forward to seeing during the Festival?

Tom Craine, Elis James, Mike Wozniak and Henry Paker and loads more. There are so many shows I want to see, I must remember to go to my own every day.

Who is the Lionel Messi of comedy (ie modern day great)? And who is the Pele of comedy (ie all time great)?

Daniel Kitson is Messi, and Alan Bennett is my Pele…according to my Comedy Subutteo. I play them 4-4-2 with a dried pea for a ball.

Can you tell us anything about your Edinburgh show and where/when we can see you?

It’s called In My Head I’m a Hero, its at the Joker Dome at 3:45pm and it’s about my mess of a life and my love of disaster. I’m very excited about it.

For more information, please visit www.natluurtsema.com

Chris Ramsey

Next up on our comfy couch of comedy is emerging Geordie joker and indefatigable innovator of fire fightball (oh yes) Chris Ramsey, as Rocksucker’s Edinburgh Fringe Grillings continue unabated in their relentless quest for answers from those who shall be performing there throughout August…

What have been your best and worst experiences of the Fringe?

For me, the weather controls whether or not I have a nice day. I’ve got quite long hair and I straighten it to make it look nice but, as soon as I walk out into the damp air of Edinburgh, it curls back. If it’s raining and warm, everyone comes into the venues all sweaty and wet and, although it’s nice when it’s hot but it gets boiling in the venues. It all depends on the weather, really. The only day when I was really miserable last year was when it was hammering down with rain. I think I might have seasonal affective disorder.

What’s your favourite Fringe venue?

It has to be the Pleasance Cabaret Bar, which I did last year with the Avalon Comedy Zone. It’s got quite a bit of history – Frank Skinner won the Perrier Award in there. I watched John Bishop and Russell Kane in there last year. It’s a really nice venue and the one that Edinburgh University uses.

Best place in Edinburgh to go for a drink? And for a bite to eat?

Brass Monkey on South Bridge is really cool – it’s a normal pub at the front but I went to go to the toilet at the back and everyone was lounging around on bean bags and cushions! The Pleasance Dome is good if you want to see loads of famous comedians, although you need a pass for the upstairs bar. We saw Charlie Brooker in there last year – I didn’t say anything but some absolute arsehole shouted out his name, so he turned around and walked straight back out! Food-wise, there’s a sushi place at the bottom of Rose Street, sort of opposite the castle behind Princes Street. I can’t remember the name of it (Google-savvy Rocksucker says: Oishii, perhaps?) but it’s the greatest sushi place I’ve ever been. I hadn’t tried sushi until a mate took me there last year and I’ve spent the entire year since trying to find somewhere that matches it. I haven’t found one so I’m looking forward to going back and rekindling my love for it.

What’s the best heckle you’ve ever heard?

I talk about the best ‘social heckle’ in my show – it was when an open top coach with ‘American Youth Theatre’ written on the side was going along the Royal Mile and they were all out on the top shouting out things about America, stuff like, “Yeah, USA theatre is the best!” So this really drunk, possibly homeless Scottish guy shouts out, “THERE’S…NO…OIL…HERE! SO F*** OFF!” The best heckle I ever heard in a comedy club was at a club in Newcastle called The Hyena – I’m performing there next weekend before I go to Edinburgh. I was compering there once and there were two other comedians performing. The first one had struggled mightily – not because he was a bad comic – so I had to go back on and whip the crowd back into shape. I got the second comedian on and the fire alarm started. When it stopped, everyone sort of banded together and shouted stuff like “come on mate!” to help the comedian overcome adversity. Thirty seconds of no laughter later, some guy at the back went, “Put the fire alarm back on!” I’m not going to say who it was but it was a big TV name.

If you could invent your own sport, what would it entail?

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl last year, I bought this retro, yellow Pittsburgh Steelers t-shirt which I’ve worn in a couple of publicity shots. I didn’t know anything about American football but the guy in the shop started striking up a conversation with me about it. I had to sort of wing it. But I didn’t realise that they were in thefinal that evening and, as I left the shop, he said something like, “Are you going to watch it, then?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. After the game, me and my mate/fellow comedian Jason Cook invented a game called Fire Fightball. It was like the Super Bowl except it was in a cage, there was no referee, the ball was on fire and I think everyone was naked. It would be a health and safety nightmare.

Which acts are you looking forward to watching at the Festival?

Jason Cook, Russell Kane and Jimmy McGee. I’d also like to go and see some sketch groups.

Who is the Lionel Messi (ie modern day great) of comedy? And the Pele (ie all time great)?

For me, the all-time great has to be Billy Connolly, without a doubt. I watched him growing up and I love him. The modern day great would probably have to be Daniel Kitson, I reckon, although I don’t know if he’d like being put in that category. Stewart Lee would be up there, too. Jason Cook would be the Paul Scholes of comedy – consistently good but not massively on the radar, not in your face and in the papers all the time. See, I know a little bit about football!

Finally, can you tell us anything about your show? Where and when can we see you perform?

The show is called Aggro-Phobic. It’s on at the Hut in the Pleasance Courtyard at 8.30, every night from the 4th to the 30th. It’s about how I tense up if someone approaches me in the street, because I always assume that they’re going to give me aggro, and why I shouldn’t be so closed off about it. I could have called it Chris Ramsey Doesn’t Fancy Getting the Sh*t Kicked Out of Him.

For more information, please visit www.chrisramseycomedy.com

John Robins

Winner of Best Debut Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival, John Robins returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a brand new show, Nomadic Revery, celebrating the wonky and naïve in a world where we grow up too quickly. Rocksucker managed to peg him down, prop his eyelids open with matchsticks and force him to undergo our patented Edinburgh Fringe Grilling…

What have been your best and worst experiences of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

The best experience was my show last year, Skinny Love. Just taking something up I was really proud of and getting great feedback, that was such a great feeling. In terms of individual moments, seeing Phil Kay at Late n Live in 2005 totally changed what I thought comedy was about and how I approached it, my whole philosophy really. On the other end of the scale, in 2008 I had a nightmare day. Things were going badly with my then girlfriend and two drunk guys started on me while I was consoling her. I ended up starting my show with Carl Donnelly crying under a predator mask. Only in Edinburgh!

Which is your favourite Fringe venue? And why?

Well I’ll say the Tron, where I’m at. I do think it’s the best venue for stand up. It’s intimate, has a bar and crucially has air con! It’s the closest thing to playing in a proper stand up venue. That said, The Stand would be my dream venue to perform in.

What’s the best watering hole in Edinburgh? And the best place for a bite to eat?

I’m not telling you! Once you’ve found your nice place to drink and get some peace you have to keep it a secret! Though the food in the caves is great and very cheap.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen at the Festival?

The inside of a predator mask through tears.

What’s the best heckle you’ve ever heard?

When I was doing one of my very first gigs in a pub in Cardiff. A girl at the front said (mistakenly) that I looked like Brad Pitt. The silence that followed as I preened myself like a peacock was broken by a deep Welsh voice from the back shouting “Brad Pitt? Arm pit, more like”. Classic.

Are there any other acts you look forward to seeing during the Festival?

Loads. I’m going to try and see more than I usually do. I’d like to see Daniel Kitson, Phil Kay, Henry Paker, Elis James, Jon Richardson, Tim Vine and many, many more.

Who is the Lionel Messi of comedy (ie modern day great)? And who is the Pele of comedy (ie all time great)?

Well, Daniel Kitson’s obviously the Messi charcter. What I love is how that’s pretty much universally accepted. Pele-wise I’d have to say Peter Cook. Phil Kay is Ronnie O’Sullivan. But who’s Senna? Faldo? Le Tissier?!

Can you tell us anything about your Edinburgh show and where/when we can see you?

It’s called Nomadic Reveryand it’s smashing. You can see it at 6.20pm at The Tron (5th-16th & 18th-29th August). It has a bar, it has air con and it has excellent walk-on music!

For more information on John Robins, please visit www.johnrobins.net

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.