Interview with comedian Nic Sampson

New Zealand comedian Nic Sampson is heading up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time this August. We talk about his expectations, his show, and why he wanted to get into comedy. 

Interview with comedian Nic Sampson

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Yes, hello my name is Nic, how are you? I am a comedian and writer and actor from New Zealand. You may have seen me in BBC Three/HBO Max’s Starstruck, or UKTV Drama’s The Brokenwood Mysteries, or if you’re also from New Zealand then we probably went to school together or something!

How would you describe your show?

My show is a comedy show that tells the true story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon that took place in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s widely considered to be the most disastrous marathon in Olympic history. I tell the story of the marathon as well as playing the characters involved in the race. It’s a very fun show I think, it’s energetic and silly and look I just really go for it out there!

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

More than anything I just love handing out flyers.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

I haven’t done it before so I can’t really say. But more than any other festival this is certainly the one where people tell me I’m going to lose the most money…

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

As a kid I wanted to be a magician, I put on a magic show at school but got made fun of. In hindsight, thank God because otherwise I might be an adult magician. Bullying works!

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career? 

Growing up in New Zealand we had hardly any local comedies, so my sense of humour was heavily influenced by British sitcoms and The Simpsons (I’m a bit of a cultural outsider in that sense). When I started out there were very few opportunities to actually make money doing comedy, and Auckland still only has one full time comedy club! But in the last ten years the industry has grown so much, and now New Zealand is bloody rammed with incredible comics and makes some of the funniest stuff around. It’s very cool to see! 

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

Probably watching Thomas the Tank Engine, especially that one episode where a train is too proud to do his job. So, the Fat Controller bricks him up inside a tunnel, to gather dust for eternity but never ever die. Formative stuff!

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

Probably just a normal engineering job aboard the International Space Station.

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now? 

I make sure to include a lot of jokes about Zoom in everything I write!

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

This year I finally found

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’? 

No, in fact it would be helpful to get cancelled because it seems like a sure-fire path to getting a Netflix special and a sell-out nationwide tour.  

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

The Beatles during the recording of the Get Back documentary. I’d help the lads when they were stuck writing the songs because I’d already know how they go.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Haven’t been yet so can’t really say. Don’t do a comedy show about the 1904 Olympic Marathon because I couldn’t handle the competition.

When and where can people see your show?


August 3-28

Pleasance Courtyard – The Cellar

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

Twitter: @nicsampson

Instagram: @nicthesampson

See Nic Sampson: Marathon, 1904 at the Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-28 August. For more information and tickets visit or


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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