An Open Letter and Invitation to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Madam,

It recently came to my attention that when you awarded Nica Burns an OBE for services to entertainment, your brief conversation resulted in you registering your surprise that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the Fringe) had existed for more than 20 years.

I feel quite certain that you went home immediately to research the largest arts festival in the world and discovered that it actually came into existence in 1947, as a response to the Edinburgh International Festival, and has flourished ever since.  Indeed, just last year, the Fringe was said to generate some £141million for the local economy.

I’ve seen your wonderful crown and palace and shan’t assume that you will necessarily be able to appreciate the enormity of this, so for purposes of clarity, let me state that for your typical Edinburgh resident in Dumbiedykes, £141million is A LOT of money.

It struck me that though in recent years I’ve seen images of David Hasselhoff, Ricky Gervais and Miriam Margolyes enjoying all that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer, I have never seen a photograph of your Majesty in a festival beer garden. Nor have I ever read a ‘fun’ Herald diary piece about you inadvertently falling asleep during a production of Hedda Gabler in a hotel loft.

Then it struck me.

As your humble servant, it is my duty to ensure that you experience the first and best Fringe Festival the world has to offer.  Particularly as it happens annually in your land.  So I put this to you:

I am currently producing The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  It’s exactly as it sounds and aims to raise money for the wonderful charity by showcasing a veritable smorgasbord of light entertainment.

It’s on a school night – Monday 12th August to be precise – but as you’ll no doubt be aware, in Edinburgh in August, there’s no such thing as a weekend.

Madam, I would like to invite you and the Duke of Edinburgh to the show to experience fourteen of the best comedic acts that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer.

As luck would have it, the Gala is being staged in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, a venue synonymous with high quality events and very much used to welcoming global dignitaries and their security cartel.

I do not want to assume that you will be available to attend, and as such I have not included any tickets with this correspondence.  Instead, inspired by the classic film Never Been Kissed, I have reserved two seats for you in the middle of the auditorium and will wait by them until 21:25 on August 12th, hoping that you can find it in your heart of hearts to show up.

Please, your Majesty, be a very wealthy Michael Varnan to my oddly shaped Drew Barrymore.

Of course, the Fringe is not all about comedy; there’s a massive programme of dance, theatre, music and visual arts to choose from too. If you do come to Edinburgh, the day after the gala I’m sure I can hook you up with some tickets for one of the many student productions.  Just let me know in advance.

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty of it all.

I know you have a wonderful home in Edinburgh; indeed, two years ago you invited me to your garden party.  Alas I was somewhat in the huff with you and didn’t attend due to your rewarding famous homophobe Brian Souter with an OBE – but I’m ready to move on, if you are.

If you would like the full Fringe experience, I would be more than happy to welcome you into my home to stay for a couple of nights.  As it’s you, you and the Duke can have the room with the en-suite, though you will need to share a kitchen with the cast of Briefs and Corey Feldman.

I can guarantee that if you make the trip to Edinburgh, you will not regret it.  Indeed, many of the people on the bill have also performed at the Royal Variety Performance, including our wonderful host The Boy with Tape on his Face, and don’t even pretend you won’t absolutely lose your shit when Caroline Rhea from Sabrina the Teenage Witch comes on stage.  She is truly one of the greatest comediennes out there.

Tickets are normally £20, though I’m happy to cover the cost if you throw a ring or bracelet into the Macmillan bucket at the end.

So there we are.

If you would like to attend the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s on Monday 12 August 2013 from 21:30 at Venue150@EICC.

I very much hope to see you there.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant.

Barry Hetherington

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Mad About The Boy

The Boy with Tape on his Face will host this year’s Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We first became aware of the Boy with Tape on his Face in February 2010.  We were in Adelaide enjoying the sun and catching up with long lost and newly aquainted relatives during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Having no time to plough through their fairly hefty programme we decided to ask around.  What’s the big show this year?  What’s the must have ticket?  What should we see before we head back to Edinburgh?  Every single time, the respondent was emphatic.

“The Boy with Tape on his Face”.

Difficult to describe without demeaning his talent by implicating him with mimes, clowns and street performers, the truth is this: Tape Face Boy is the perfect amalgam of all three disciplines.

Indeed, in the Bosco Tent within the Garden of Unearthly Delights that evening, we were delighted to witness the bringing together of the very best of these genres into a rock solid fifty-five minute show while also winning favour with the new in-laws by getting them a sneak peek of the next big thing.

The. Next. Big. Thing.  Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe this phrase is bandied around like hair colour.  Anyone with a 5 star review can be it.  The next big discovery.  The one to bank on.  The person for whom all other successes will be measured against (in that financial year at least).

Remember last year’s next big thing?  No, we didn’t think so.  But like the gaffer tape across his mouth, this time it stuck.  And good god is it sticky.

Since leaving the Boy with Tape on his Face finishing off his Adelaide run amid a bidding war from Edinburgh’s Big 4 and a barrage of incredible reviews his star has done nothing but rise.

He’s toured the world, enjoyed three massive hit shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stole the shows at last year’s Royal Variety Performance and BBC Comedy Prom while bagging himself a BBC3 Pilot as part of the Comedy Kitchen platform, and like Gaga has her Little Monsters and Beiber has Beliebers, the Boy has a growing army of Silent Ones.

And all without uttering a single word.

We are delighted that this year he’ll be hosting the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  But how will he do it without speaking?  We guess you’ll have to buy a ticket to find out.

For those of you that seen the show last year, you’ll be aware that there is a very real chance that at this point in the evening you may well end up being ‘the show’.  But how does he charm punters onto his stage so easily?  Here he explains to Time Out London:

‘I treat them a wee bit like dolls,’ he says, audience participation at a Tape Face gig is never humiliating. ‘If there’s too much responsibility on an audience member there’s too much pressure for them to fail whereas if you give them the tiniest amount of responsibility, the moment they achieve it and the audience goes crazy, they feel like a star.’ Whether they’re forming a makeshift Jackson 5 or being transformed into a human puppet, this gentle approach comes from years of seeing ‘audience members treated badly’, he says. ‘I want them leave the stage a hero.’

Preparation is currently underway for his show ‘More Tape’ at the Pleasance Courtyard and we were lucky enough to steal him away to answer a few very important questions

What is your actual name?

The Boy with Tape on His Face

And exactly how old are you?

Not sure. Still Boy not Tape Man.

How would you describe your job?

Stand up comedian who doesn’t talk

And what is your involvement going to be at The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support? 

I will be performing comedy antics at the event and introducing guests.

We’re sure you get asked this all the time but who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor? 

Everybody thinks I should like Charlie Chaplin but I prefer Buster Keaton

Well, the Guardian did refer to you as a latterday Buster Keaton.  What’s your favourite comedy moment from the past few years?

I once saw a magician get locked into a mailbag and not get out. Longest yet funniest fifteen minutes of my life.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh? 

Being the owner of two bald cats and a dachshund

And who is your secret celebrity crush?

The guy from the Go Compare commercials, I would crush him with a shipping container and be given a medal.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Laughter is the best medicine for everything in Life.

Not five, but a perfect summary of why the Big C exists.

The Big Comedy Gala is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It takes place on Monday 12 August 2013 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £20 (subject to booking fee)

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

You can also buy tickets for The Boy with Tape on his Face: More Tape here.

Life’s Survival Bible

It’s been a couple of days since all of our wonderful acts kicked the show in the clunge, and what an incredible night it was.

While we’re waiting for the final tally, what better way to occupy yourself than to getting to know some of the acts better.

Phil Walker, Steve Shanyaski and of course our wonderful host for the night Roy.

You’ll know by now that we’re the very stickler for taste and only ever settle for the very best.  With that in mind, you’d have to be very special to grace our stage for both our galas so far (and yes, we’ll mention it once more – he smells like a fecking angel).

Ladies and gentlemen and inbetweenies, if you were at either of the shows you’ve already seen what this guy can do in 7 minutes.  Why not let him pleasure your laugh holes for a full hour.

We give you Steve Shanyaski.

Age: 35

Occupation: Stand Up Comedian

What is your involvement in The BigC?

I performed in the first Big Comedy Gala in 2011 and also last Monday’s gig.

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Eddie Izzard was the act I watched when I was younger and thought, “That’s just like what we talk about?”.  I was inspired from that moment to try comedy.  All I had to do then was get a series of menial jobs so depressing that it forced me to have a quarter-life crisis, and eventually overcome stage-fright.

Favourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

Julie Walter’s waitress in the “2 Soups” sketch.  It kills me every time.  The pain and tension of eventuality in it – in fact, I’m going to watch it again on Youtube now… Done… “Ready to order?”… Brilliant!  Either that, or the absurd Monty Python “Fish-Slapping Dance”.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

Tough question this. A lot of my comedy material is born from frustration and anger, so anything that makes me angry will eventually make me laugh – except debt.  Debt, and Piers Morgan.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Michaela Strachan – always will be.  She had a few naughty years when she was working with her Granddad on “Hitman & Her”, but now she’s calmed down and settled into hiking and topography – and still looks great in cess-covered gaiters and full-body Gore-Tex, which is a difficult look to pull off?!

In five words, why should people support The Big Comedy Gala?

Charity GOOD… not supporting = BAD!

Steve Shanyaski’s show Life’s Survival Bible plays Pleasance Couryard every night until the 26th (inclusive) at 11pm.  Tickets can be bought on edfringe.com or at the venue.

Final Big C line-up announced – see you Monday!

ROY WALKER
GEORGE WENDT
JOSIE LONG
SUSAN CALMAN
NICK HELM
FRISKY & MANNISH
TOM STADE
FASCINATING AIDA
DAN NIGHTINGALE
STEVE SHANYASKI
JOE LYCETT
THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE

We’re thrilled to announce the final line-up for the Big Comedy Gala, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, with George Wendt kicking off the show this coming Monday evening by introducing our fabulous host, Roy Walker.

Wendt, who played Norm in Cheers and who is also known for appearances in The Simpsons and Family Guy, is in Edinburgh for Re-Animator The Musical at Assembly George Square this August.

Roy Walker and George Wendt head up an all star line-up at Venue150@EICC on Monday 13 August, including 2011 Fosters’ Comedy Award Nominee Nick Helm; BBC Radio 4 regular Susan Calman; Tom Stade; Cheap Flights YouTube sensation Fascinating Aida; Josie Long; Fringe favourite The Boy With Tape On His Face; and comedy newcomer Joe Lycett.

Those of you who joined us last August at for the inaugural Big Comedy Gala  – also at Venue150@EICC – will be pleased to hear that we raised £18,433, all of which went directly to Macmillan Cancer Support. This year our goal is to raise £20,000.

You can book tickets now by calling 0131 226 0000 or 0844 847 1639 or buy online: www.venue150.com or www.edfringe.com / www.bigcomedygala.com. Tickets: £22 (subject to booking fee).

You can also find the Big C on Twitter (@bigcomedygala), and Facebook (facebook.com/bigcomedygala or search for big comedy gala).

Please share this message with your friends, family and on social media!

The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012, at 21:30 (2hrs). Box Office: 0844 847 1639 or 0131 226 0000.

Josie Long joins the Big C line-up

Josie Long joins the Big C line-up

We’re excited to the point of leakage to announce today that the writer of teen TV sensation Skins, Josie Long, will be joining the line-up at the 2012 Big Comedy Gala!

Long has been a Fringe favourite since winning the Comedy Award for Best Newcomer in 2006 and has since enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Beeb, appearing on BBC2 show The Bubble, hosting BBC6’s Saturday Morning show with Andrew Collins, and giving a memorable guest appearance on Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

At the age of 17, she won the BBC New Comedy Award and is known to many from her appearances on Channel Four’s 8 out of 10 Cats. As well as writing for Skins, Josie appeared in Series 1 and 2 as the careers advisor.

She will join a star-studded line-up at the Macmillan fundraiser, including: Roy Walker (host), George Wendt (intro), Susan Calman, Nick Helm, Nina Conti, Tom Stade, Fascinating Aida, Joe Lycett, Dan Nightingale, Steve Shanyaski and The Boy with Tape on his Face.

For more information, interview requests or images, please contact Miriam Attwood on 07825 642225 or email press@bigcomedygala.com.

You can also find the Big C on Twitter (@bigcomedygala), and Facebook (facebook.com/bigcomedygala or search for big comedy gala).

The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012, at 21:30 (2hrs). Box Office: 0844 847 1639 or 0131 226 0000. Buy online: www.venue150.com or www.edfringe.com / www.bigcomedygala.com. Tickets: £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

Q & A with Susan Calman

Susan Calman

Susan Calman

Following on from our announcement last week that Susan Calman has joined our Big Comedy Gala line-up, here’s a wee cheeky Q & A with Susan for your pleasure!

What is your involvement in the Big Comedy Gala?

I’m performing at the Big Gala Comedy.

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Difficult to name one but I think Joyce Grenfell would be my pick.

Favourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

When I saw French and Saunders live in Edinburgh in the early 90’s: I’ve never forgotten how wonderful they were.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

Almost everything. I try to laugh almost all the time.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Can’t say. I’m just married; I’d like it to last a year.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Funny night for wonderful cause.

You heard what the lady said, guys; a funny night for a wonderful cause! So with less than two weeks to go, get your tickets now if you haven’t already bought them!

The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012, at 21:30 (2hrs). Box Office: 0844 847 1639 or 0131 226 0000. Buy online: www.venue150.com or www.edfringe.com / www.bigcomedygala.com. Tickets: £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

You can also find the Big C on Twitter (@bigcomedygala), and Facebook (facebook.com/bigcomedygala or search for big comedy gala).

BBC Radio 4 regular Susan Calman joins Big Comedy Gala celebrity line-up!

Susan Calman joins the Big C

Susan Calman, the star of Rab C Nesbitt, BBC Three’s Dead Boss, Have I Got News For You, and Channel 4’s Ugly Kid, as well as being a regular on Radio 4 (The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Vote Now) and Radio Scotland (Funny Friends), today announces she’s joining the all-star line-up at the 2012 Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

From Glasgow, Calman gave up a lucrative career in corporate law to become a comedian and has proved herself one of the fastest rising stars in comedy. She reached the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Awards and So You Think You’re Funny in 2005, she was also a finalist in Funny Women in 2006.

The feisty Glaswegian went on to become resident compere at Glasgow’s famous comedy club, The Stand, and has been awarded Best New Comedian at the Scottish Variety Awards as well as a Scottish BAFTA.

Calman will join a star-studded line-up at the Macmillan fundraiser, including: Roy Walker (host), George Wendt, Nick Helm, Nina Conti, Tom Stade, Fascinating Aida, Joe Lycett, Dan Nightingale, Steve Shanyaski and The Boy with Tape on his Face.

For more information, interview requests or images, please contact Miriam Attwood on 07825 642225 or email press@bigcomedygala.com.

You can also find the Big C on Twitter (@bigcomedygala), and Facebook (facebook.com/bigcomedygala or search for big comedy gala).

The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012, at 21:30 (2hrs). Box Office: 0844 847 1639 or 0131 226 0000. Buy online: www.venue150.com or www.edfringe.com / www.bigcomedygala.com. Tickets: £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is in its second year. The sell-out 2011 event raised £18,433.08 for Macmillan Cancer Support and featured Ed Byrne, Rich Fulcher, Fred MacAulay, Sarah Millican, Danny Bhoy, Frisky & Mannish and Roy Walker.

Say What You C

With a little under 4 weeks to go until the big night, we felt it was about time we profiled our wonderful host Roy Walker.

Roy travelled to Edinburgh last August to perform at the very first Big Comedy Gala.  Limited to just 5 minutes per act, he took to the stage with his unique brand of deadpan and won every single member of the audience over.

This year, we’re delighted that he’s agreed to take the reigns of the show and guide you through our evening of top-flight entertainment.

The following article was first published in the Scotsman on Saturday 26 July 2008, shortly before Roy performed for his first time on the Edinburgh Fringe. 

GOODBYE MR CHIPS

ROY WALKER has just had an intimation of mortality. “I woke up this morning and thought to myself: ‘Is it possible I could have a heart attack?’ So I jumped out of bed, did some exercises, and passed on the extra sausage.” The cause of the veteran comedian’s anxiety is his Festival Fringe debut on his 68th birthday and the anniversary of his sacking as host of Catchphrase. “I can’t sleep because I’m so excited about Edinburgh,” he says in the softest Belfast voice.

A few years ago, Walker was on the verge of quitting the old country. “I fancied the West Indies: nice jobs on cruise ships and sunshine for my creaking bones.” But then Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles – who seemed to regard Walker’s dismissal as the injustice of the age – dreamed up Car Park Catchphrase for his breakfast show, using original quiz snippets. Now Walker is cool, a cult hero to students. “To be selling out universities and hearing 3,000 kids chant ‘Roy Walker! Roy Walker!’ football-style – incredible,” he says.

It’s easy to be cynical about old show-bizzers on the Fringe; there are so many. Michael Barrymore, Les Dennis – they used to be on ITV and now their game is eye-ron-ee. But Walker has had post-modernity thrust upon him and is genuinely surprised by this turn of events. In fact, he could be just about the most genuine (ex)-wearer of a shiny suit and flaunter of a cheesy grin there’s ever been.

We meet in a London bar. He’s just done breakfast telly; after me it’s Jonathan Ross. His press officer waves around a hectic itinerary. He barely has enough time to hyperventilate and his forthcoming autobiography may have to be delayed. He wants it out for this Christmas; the press officer reassures him that next Christmas will be fine. But Walker wonders if this autumn in his career might not be over by winter 2009. You should take nothing for granted in comedy, and he likens it to boxing. There have been more than a few punches below the belt.

His reminiscences about Belfast at the time of the Troubles certainly put the odd heckle into perspective. By day, he ran a fruit shop; by night he was the compre at the Talk of the Town club, everyone’s ideas of a grand evening out. That was until two men confronted him, stuck a Browning pistol in his face and demanded to know: “Are you married to a Fenian?”

“Protestants and Catholics drank together in the Talk of the Town – integration happened in front of my eyes every night,” he says. “As a Protestant myself, I had lots of Catholic friends – the Army had been full of them. Bob Hope said you should never admit to anything and that day I didn’t. But then I was told: ‘We’re giving everyone 24 hours – that’s you and them Fenian lovers across the street.’

“I got one of the cards I’d used for the apple prices and on the back I wrote: ‘The owner of this shop served Queen and country for six years’. I stuck it in the window, closed up and walked down the Woodstock Road for the last time.”

The shop had been a kind of annexe to the club with the likes of George Best and Guy Mitchell even taking turns behind the counter. But the terrorists were true to their word and firebombed it. Walker and his wife Jean couldn’t even say their goodbyes because houses were being torched close to where their three children were sleeping.

Walker fled to the mainland, desperate for work. “I’d been ‘Mr Belfast’ but in Sunderland I had to wait by the phone at nine o’clock hoping that some other poor comic had been paid off after his first act. That seven quid got me my digs.” Once he raced round Manchester in a beat-up Ford Prefect and played five gigs in a night. “The last one was at Stalybridge Celtic Social Club; Bernard Manning had just come off and he didn’t think I’d be able to follow him.” Walker not only did that, he followed him on to The Comedians, the show that brought clubland humour to the TV masses.

Manning and Frank Carson were top dogs and could afford the best lounge suits; it was shabby velveteen for the rest. “Bernard and Frank were bullies but everyone hated each other – it was worse than chorus girls – and you had to be careful not to let another comic see your idiot cards or he’d ruin your act.” By then, dizzily, Walker was earning £50 a night.

Bob Monkhouse best summed up his comedy: “A well-dressed gent with thick greying hair and a polite air, Walker’s soft Ulster voice, his lack of aggression, the composed expression hiding a gentle smile, his amazing pauses which defied interruption, somehow overawing and silencing hecklers…” His act used to be based almost entirely round married life, but when Jean died of cancer in 1988, he had to throw a lot of gags away. “That was tough; I couldn’t be bothered with comedy for a long time.”

He also used to bait the crowds. Everyone did in the gloriously politically incorrect Seventies, but the style didn’t suit him. He thinks he’s only ever sworn once on stage. So what gets him angry? “Our soldiers dying in Afghanistan, Tony Blair buying another house…” Walker’s youngest son Phil is currently in Afghanistan, entertaining the troops. The oldest son Mark is also a comic, while their sister Joanna is an actress. Did he warn his boys about the perils of comedy? “No, because they wouldn’t have listened. I never did. My dad died before I got to know him; my mum wanted me to stay a choirboy.”

As a lad, Walker went to work at 12 to bring a few extra pennies into the house, so a stint on the Fringe competing against younger, supposedly cleverer comics doesn’t faze him – despite the odd early morning dose of the collywobbles.

His show will cover his entire career, including those 14 years of Catchphrase (“Say what you see … it’s good but it’s not the right one”), so there’s no shortage of great material. His only real dilemma is whether or not he should break the habit of a lifetime and swear.

He laughs: “I always get mistaken for Tom O’Connor and he dines out on that. Once I got stopped by a whole family in an airport. The mother said she loved my act because I didn’t use bad language, but she thought I was that man O’Connor. I told her I wasn’t and in front of her kids she said: ‘Well, who the feck are you then?’

His second F-word gag relates to a piece of old Belfast graffiti – underneath ‘No Popery here’, someone had scrawled ‘Lucky feckin’ Pope’ – and this is the cue for more reminiscing. “When I walked away from my shop, I had a lump in my throat. But when I turned round for one last look, I laughed. I couldn’t see my sign-off – only a board from the previous day: ‘Salad days are here again.’

For Roy Walker, who’s since had a hometown street named after him, they’re still here.

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is Roy’s only Edinburgh gig this year.  It’s on the 13th August at Venue150@EICC and you can buy tickets here:

The Big C Tickets

Mad About The Boy

We first became aware of the Boy with Tape on his Face in February 2010.  We were in Adelaide enjoying the sun and catching up with long lost and newly aquainted relatives during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Having no time to plough through their fairly hefty programme we decided to ask around.  What’s the big show this year?  What’s the must have ticket?  What should we see before we head back to Edinburgh?  Every single time, the respondent was emphatic.

“The Boy with Tape on his Face”.

Difficult to describe without demeaning his talent by implicating him with mimes, clowns and street performers, the truth is this: Tape Face Boy is the perfect amalgam of all three disciplines.

Indeed, in the Bosco Tent within the Garden of Unearthly Delights that evening, we were delighted to witness the bringing together of the very best of these genres into a rock solid fifty-five minute show while also winning favour with the new in-laws by getting them a sneak peek of the next big thing.

The. Next. Big. Thing.  Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe this phrase is bandied around like hair colour.  Anyone with a 5 star review can be it.  The next big discovery.  The one to bank on.  The person for whom all other successes will be measured against (in that financial year at least).

Remember last year’s next big thing?  No, we didn’t think so.  But like the gaffer tape across his mouth, this time it stuck.  And good god is it sticky.

Since leaving the Boy with Tape on his Face finishing off his Adelaide run amid a bidding war from Edinburgh’s Big 4 and a barrage of incredible reviews his star has done nothing but rise.

He’s toured the world, enjoyed two massive hit shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stole the shows at last year’s Royal Variety Performance and BBC Comedy Prom while bagging himself a BBC3 Pilot as part of the Comedy Kitchen platform, and like Gaga has her Little Monsters and Beiber has Beliebers, the Boy has a growing army of Silent Ones.

And all without uttering a single word.

Last year we were delighted that he agreed to perform as part of the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and once more, we are delighted that on the evening of the 13th August, he’ll be coming off the Pleasance stage, piling into a taxi and taking on the closing slot of our show.

For those of you that seen the show last year, you’ll be aware that there is a very real chance that at this point in the evening you may well end up being ‘the show’.  But how does he charm punters onto his stage so easily?  Here he explains to Time Out London:

‘I treat them a wee bit like dolls,’ he says, audience participation at a Tape Face gig is never humiliating. ‘If there’s too much responsibility on an audience member there’s too much pressure for them to fail whereas if you give them the tiniest amount of responsibility, the moment they achieve it and the audience goes crazy, they feel like a star.’ Whether they’re forming a makeshift Jackson 5 or being transformed into a human puppet, this gentle approach comes from years of seeing ‘audience members treated badly’, he says. ‘I want them leave the stage a hero.’

Preparation is currently underway for his brand new show ‘More Tape’ at the Pleasance Courtyard and we were lucky enough to steal him away to answer a few very important questions

What is your actual name?

The Boy with Tape on His Face

And exactly how old are you?

Not sure. Still Boy not Tape Man.

How would you describe your job?

Stand up comedian who doesn’t talk

And what is your involvement going to be at The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support? 

I will be performing comedy antics at the event

We’re sure you get asked this all the time but who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor? 

Everybody thinks I should like Charlie Chaplin but I prefer Buster Keaton

Well, the Guardian did refer to you as a latterday Buster Keaton.  What’s your favourite comedy moment from the past few years?

I once saw a magician get locked into a mailbag and not get out. Longest yet funniest fifteen minutes of my life.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh? 

Being the owner of two bald cats and a dachshund

And who is your secret celebrity crush?

The guy from the Go Compare commercials, I would crush him with a shipping container and be given a medal.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Laughter is the best medicine for everything in Life.

Not five, but a perfect summary of why the Big C exists.

The Big Comedy Gala is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It takes place on Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

You can also buy tickets for The Boy with Tape on his Face: More Tape here: