Twisted Edge Comedy / by Esaf Commitee

Andrea Tweedie met up with Andrew Sims from Twisted Edge Comedy to chat about opportunities, hecklers and finding confidence in others.

What are you bringing to ESAF this year?

What I am bringing is Twisted Edge Comedy which is a company that was set up by myself and James Hughes last year. We did some late night showcases back at the Fringe which was something like 2am starts until 3am. It was absolutely chaos but it was a good learning experience of putting on stand-up gigs but from then on it kind of petered out and nothing was really done about it. I then got a couple of people asking if I'd do stand-up workshops for them. These were all my friends and performer people that I knew, usually on my course. They were all asking if I would do a workshop because I had done workshop things on sketch and performed in sketch groups for quite a while. I then realised it makes the most sense to do an art form that is not actually very accessible to most people.

Then I realised it was perfect for ESAF. It really helps three types of people. Potential comedians, so people who genuinely want to do stand-up comedy or any other type of comedy. Secondly it helps young actors, performers, directors, young producers or anyone in industry who want to understand comedy to a certain extent. The third type of people are people who are not really comedians or not really performers either, they just come along and they do their stuff and they play around with things and they can really help themselves. It can help if they have anxiety and they have confidence issues or even if they are just lonely. Even if they just want to get out of the house or out of their flat and want to spend a night to be funny with people in a room. The kind of community we have created with people within the workshops has led to a very safe environment for everyone. Even if you don't think you're funny you'll still enjoy it. I will find the funniest in you! I don't teach stand up that is a very important thing I facilitate a workshop so people can be encourage to be creative.

Can you describe your work in 4 words?

Progressive, stand-up, workshops and free.

How do you prepare people for hecklers?

It's all about confidence building that I have used within my workshops. At the showcase every now and again and then there's a heckle but it is a nice heckle but the audience are mostly family and friends. They all dealt with it perfectly. There was an issue with the mic stand where the mic stand actually came out like it actually came out in half and one of my participants Nick came out and stared at it and it was one of the funniest things of the night. He dealt with it perfectly he could have gone ‘‘oh no’’ and panicked but that wouldn't have been funny. Dealing with hecklers is entirely up to the performer. I have performed in front of stag dos; it's really interesting because I was always in  a weaker spot because I look like a boy. I look younger and because I look like a child they thought they would ‘eat this guy for breakfast’. To delay that thought and to get rid of that thought in their heads, for two minutes I would dance and I would straddle the stag and all his mates would cheer and go mental for it. Then as soon as I started my set and actually started speaking they had all the respect for me and so did rest audience because I dealt with it.

What do you want the participants to gain from this workshop?

I want them to gain confidence. That's kind of the most important thing because everything else is the effect of that. You can't give someone confidence but you can give them a platform to find it.