Interview with Maisie Adam

Maisie Adam talks to Voice about her upcoming debut Edinburgh Fringe show Vague.

Interview with Maisie Adam

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
I’m Maisie, I’m 24 and from a tiny village just outside Leeds. I’ve been doing stand-up comedy for just over a year and a half, and in August I’m doing my debut Edinburgh show.

Tell us about your show?
My show is called Vague, and it’s about my experiences of navigating my teens and adolescence, with nostalgic tales and reflections of those defining moments I think most people can remember, however my perspective is all whilst dealing with being diagnosed as Epilepsy at age 14. It starts there, and I bring the audience right up to the present, hopefully making them laugh along the way.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and is it different from other festivals?
It’s the bloody Edinburgh Festival Fringe! People come from all over the world to perform here, and I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to have an entire run of shows there. I’m so excited it’s ridiculous – I’m going to try and see as many other shows as possible – I’ve noted when and where everyone else is so I can try and see them all at some point.  

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?
I trained as an actor, and I always thought that was what I wanted to be. However I soon realised that as much as I enjoyed it, whatever project you were working on relies on so many other people to pull their weight for it to be a success. I’ve always had a strong work ethic for things I’m passionate about, and I found myself often turning up to rehearsals on-time, knowing my lines, and with an enthusiasm to work but I was often the only one. Or even with the best group of actors, if a script is rubbish or the director is making a hash of it, there’s only so much you can do. With stand-up comedy, it’s all on you. If no one laughs, there’s only one reason and it’s because your joke isn’t funny or you even if it is, you didn’t deliver it right, or get the crowd on-side for it. I like that responsibility; it means you never get complacent - and from a more egotistical point of view - when it goes right it’s you that reaps the rewards of your hard work. Having people laugh at something you wrote is, for me, the best feeling in the world.

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?
No. I know a lot of people are of the opinion that comedians are supposed to be social commentators and make light of whatever is going on in the world, and I agree to a certain extent. Of course, we should be up-to-date with what’s going on in the world – if anything, it does often provide great new material – but I don’t feel a pressure to fill that role. It’s up to every individual to stay in tune with the world, and also some topics are not for me to comment on. I can only draw from my experiences if I’m going to comment on a certain topic, which means sometimes it’s not always for me to give my two pennies worth. But if I have got something to say on a matter, I’m going to say it!

Equally, do you feel there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?
I think we’ve become more open and aware to other people and their perspectives, which is a good thing. I think we’re listening more – not enough – but we’re listening to other people more and therefore becoming a little bit less blinkered in our world view. Things like Twitter – for all of its’ flaws – I think is great because you see that not everyone shares your view of things, or has had your experience. I’d say that has affected my work in that I’m more aware that we all have different experiences; not everyone has had the same upbringing, social life, outlook etc. and that’s a positive thing. It reminds me to be as inclusive as possible in my comedy.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?
Relentless pursuit of dream job.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?
Well, I’m very lucky in that I won a run of shows at the Fringe as part of the prize for winning So You Think You’re Funny, so I haven’t done it the way most people are doing it. However I would say to remember that this is YOUR show, no one else’s, so don’t try and fit it to someone else’s mould. It’s such an investment of time, effort and money, you need to do what you want to do, otherwise it’s pointless and loses its’ uniqueness.

And what advice do you wish you’d been given when entering the industry?
To never doubt yourself. When I first started, I was relentless in pursuing stand-up as a career and as I went on, I had a few moments where I thought “this isn’t working” or “maybe I’m not good enough” but that achieves absolutely nothing. If you’re not good enough, keep going until you are good enough – that’s the most important thing; to just keep going. It can be easy to make excuses if something isn’t working or to have a pity party if you have a bad gig, but it doesn’t achieve anything and certainly does you no favours.

When and where can people see your show?
I’ll be in the Gilded Balloon’s Wee Room, in Teviot House, every day of the fringe at 4.30pm.

And where can people find, follow and like you online?
I’m on Twitter @MaisieAdam, Instagram @maisieadam, and my Facebook page is Maisie Adam Comedy.

Header Image Credit: Steve Ullathorne


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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