Edinburgh Festival / Day 4: Side View

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The Independent Culture
DONNA MCPHAIL'S FESTIVAL

'It's a marathon up here. The shows become the least exhausting part of it. You have no time to iron your clothes. If you're a bloke, you can go on in the T-shirt you've slept in for the past three days, without shaving and people will find it funny. If you're a woman, then you need looking after. People just say, 'What a trollop.' So you really have to be on top of it.

'The really hard work in Edinburgh is all the socialising, which is raised to an art form here. Comics are incredibly boring people with no sense of humour and nothing to talk about except themselves. It's a competition to see who can say 'I' longer and louder than anybody else. The British are socially inadequate. We're even happy to get work on Radio 5, as long as it's not in the morning.

'If a show is going well, it's fun. But tonight it fell apart a bit in the middle. The technicians were talking and I could hear every word, which really put me off. They did it two nights in a row, so I had to stop and tell them off.

'There are some pieces that are written especially for men, to tell them what women get up to. Last year I talked about women's behaviour in toilets and the crotch snaps in body suits. And there's the Femidom piece: it's the only one in the show that I did last year too. To me not doing it would be like Elton John not doing 'Rocket Man'. I think men appreciate it, although they always need nudging from the women they are with who are laughing.

'Tonight I had a peek at the audience on my way for a pee before I went on and thought, 'God, they're old. What are they doing here?' I hope they enjoyed it, but I think they probably find me quite rude. I do swear a lot.'

Donna McPhail was talking to Roberta Mock.

Donna McPhail can be seen at the Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate (031-226 2151). 8pm, to 27 Aug.

(Photograph omitted)

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