Performer: Charlie V Martin Photograph by: Rebecca Need-Menear Show: Charlie V Martin: The 24/7 Club Venue: C Royale, (studio 3) Promoter: Indie Online: Box Office Facebook Website
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
It’s a character comedy show in which I play historical figures with the same birthday as me (the 24th July). It’s got some stand-up, improv and puppets. It’s a bit about history, a bit about mental health but generally a very silly show.
Tell me about your first gig.
My first comedy gig was with my uni improv group Blind Mirth in 2008 in a church hall supporting an acapella group. Rocknroll.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I go to the loo about five times. Any performer who says they don’t do that is lying.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
My best review referred to me as “a real Renaissance woman” who was funny in every style. My worst review (for the same show) was 2 stars and said that my props looked handmade (they were) and a bit naff but that was probably the point (it was) and said you’ll only like it if you could bear to see a shakespearean character reduced to a block of cheese with googley eyes… Well lots of people are very fine with that! (It was Gloucester from my 10 minute rendition of King Lear). I think it also criticised my Italian accent for being comical. In a comedy show.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
Yes, you kind of have to but I’ll try not to dwell.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
They feel like a necessary evil for me at this stage. I can’t afford a promotor or PR so I have to sift reviews and use stars to sell my show. I think a lot of reviewers at Edinburgh are too young. I see a lot of good, original shows get bad reviews because it doesn’t match what they’ve been taught. I also think a lot of them don’t appreciate this is a FRINGE festival with 5 min get ins. It’s not the National. Every reviewer should have to try to put on a show themselves! It also seems like a lot of them want free tickets to big names that already get enough reviewers while lots of small shows struggle…
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
Ugh. I tried to ignore this to be honest. It was stupid, it wasn’t funny or clever. Actually, was he even trying to be ironic? I get that it’s about free speech but I’ve got too many battles to fight. I’d have preferred to see that attention given to the female comedians being sued or threatened for talking about their exes.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
Not necessarily for comedy but certain comedians maybe. Yet another reason for more diversity. If you’re going to do something that might be offensive then it better be funny and know you have the audience’s trust – and be comfortable with the idea that some people might think it’s funny for the wrong reasons.
Have you ever gone too far?
There have been some sketches I’ve written or been part of that I look back at and cringe about. I regret upsetting people because we maybe we weren’t mature enough to handle it right or get the trust first.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
I do a character which is Napoleon giving life advice. I come on stage in a newspaper hat, stand still and ask the audience if they have anything troubling them in their lives and in a deadpan French accent give them very rational advice. One of the first times I did this was to a full, Saturday night house at Hoopla, the Miller. I got a couple of well, not quite heckles but, guys trying to be clever, and I sent them up. It was early on in me doing solo stuff and while I love performing with others it felt good to know I could not just hold my own but take control and get a whole room onside with a very silly idea.