Interview with comedian Aaron Simmonds

"A good week on the circuit, you’ll gig 5 times for 20 minutes. That’s just over an hour and a half total on stage and probably 15-30 hours in the car. At the fringe, you do an hour every single day, minimum."

Interview with comedian Aaron Simmonds

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hello, I am Aaron Simmonds I am a comedian with cerebral palsy with too many Marvel posters in my flat for a person who is 33 years old.

How would you describe your show?

It’s a stand up show from a guy who cannot stand up doing a show all about standing up.

What is your favourite part of your show?

There’s a part of the show where I talk about questioning my sexuality, which I’ve never talked about on stage before. So naturally that’s been an interesting thing for me personally to figure out. The conclusion that I’ve come to is sucking a dick is basically the same as having a Calippo.

If your show had a theme song, what would it be and why?

Walk this Way – Run DMC and Aerosmith. A) it’s a banger. And B) the show is really about doing things the way you want to and not being told what you can or can’t do.

What is one thing you hope audiences will take away from your show?

How much they fancy a Calippo. 

If you could add a surprise celebrity cameo to your show, who would it be and why?

Jason Mamoa. I think he’d really like Calippos. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

It’s the single best way to get better at comedy. A good week on the circuit, you’ll gig 5 times for 20 minutes. That’s just over an hour and a half total on stage and probably 15-30 hours in the car. At the fringe, you do an hour every single day, minimum. Also, my favourite thing ever happened last year. A young woman said that her birthday present was to come see me as was the case in 2019. When people actively choose to see you as they know that they like what you do, nothing compares to that. 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

The hills.

What is one thing you would change about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

The hills.

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

I personally think that these things for me haven’t made a huge difference to me in terms of becoming a performer. Being disabled and therefore being on the outside looking in certainly skewed the way I look at life like a lot of comedians have for various different reasons. I think ultimately the biggest influence I had was, as unfunny as it is, the unconditional support from my parents. Knowing I could fail at something meant that I went for it without worrying about the ramifications. 

What is your favourite thing about performing for a live audience?

Anything can happen. See below.

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you while performing?

https://twitter.com/russellhoward/status/1437461071372054529?lang=en

What's the most challenging or unconventional venue you've ever performed in, and how did it impact the overall experience?

The obvious answer would be anywhere with stairs. But during my first run at the fringe I was performing in a church (I’m Jewish) that had a food stall right outside that would blast out music everyday during my show. Annoyingly never at the same time. It did not make the overall experience better.

Is there a piece of feedback you've received from an audience member or critic after a performance that’s stuck with you? 

Every person that has said that I should refer to it as “sit down comedy”. 

What is your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh when you're not performing? How do you relax and look after your mental health?

Last year, I decided to live outside the city and drive in every day. It did wonders for me to feel like I could choose when I was in the festival and when I wasn’t. But Edinburgh is not a time for relaxing. You can relax in September. But I will have to look after myself this year as I know that my show will be much more physically taxing than anything I’ve ever done before.

Is there a show you’re excited to see when you’re up there?

Alice Fraser: Twist. I saw it in preview but it’s so good I’m going to see it again.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking about taking a show up to Edinburgh? If you’ve never been before, what would you say has been (potentially) the most useful?

Only go to the festival if you want to get better at comedy or whatever your act is. If you are going in order to “be discovered” or any of the other uncontrollable reasons that people go the fringe, you’re going to be sad, disappointed and out of pocket. If your mindset is to get better, then the money you’re spending is worth it.

When and where can people see your show?

Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker 2 at 4.25pm 2nd- 28th (not 14th) (come early in the run, I’ll be fucked by the end)

And where can people find you online?

@RollingComedian

Header Image Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Author

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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