The Glasgow Guardian has a chat with Amelia Bayler, ahead of her first full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Amelia Bayler has been on the comedy circuit for quite some time and is – with what seems like at least one gig per night – one of the hardest working comedians out there. This year she steps it up a notch and is performing her first full run at the Edinburgh Fringe. I caught one of the previews of her show Emotional Bangers at Mango's Sauchiehall Street and had a quick chat.
GG: Hi Amelia! So what can we expect from your upcoming show at the Fringe?
“The show is so fun and silly I can’t wait to perform it. It’s basically musical comedy but inspired by pop and dance music. Some of my song titles include: 'Addicted to Ice Cream’, ‘Fuckboyz’ and ‘What’s The Vibe?!’”
GG: Can you tell us about the moment when you thought "comedy is what I want to do with my life"?
“Most of my family are actors / comedians, so I fell into it very naturally; although, I remember very clearly the first time that I wrote a comedy song. I was 15 and the song was called ‘McVitties Fittaes’ and I knew from there. I think I’m at a good point now because I do what I truly want to do... after a few detours. I’ve always wanted to go for a kind of grotesque popstar vibe. And I am so happy I get to go on stage and dance and sing and play around. It’s honestly what I’ve wanted to do since, like, forever. My first ever tape as a kid was Aqua's Aquarium. LIFE CHANGING ALBUM.”
GG: What makes a great comic? What are you trying to achieve with your act?
“I love seeing people who are totally in the moment and able to riff with the crowd: it really makes me cry with laughter! I love it when I can just feel the beauty of live comedy as an audience member and as a performer. Personally, what I always want to achieve is, I just want to have fun and make other people have fun too.”
GG: Comedy has exploded at the Fringe in recent years. Why do you think people are so drawn to comedy (over, say, theatre)?
“Life is hard. We all want to escape from reality and laughing is the best way of doing that sometimes!”
GG: Music plays a big part in your act. Where did the idea for Emotional Bangers come from?
“I love emotional bangers - where you feel a mixture of elation and deep emotions. Think, like, Tiesto - Adagio for Strings. Absolute banger. So I wanted to apply that to comedy. I mean nobody is gonna have goosebumps in my show, but I do talk about existential dread whilst dancing around.”
GG: What is the comedy landscape like at the moment in Glasgow?
“It’s pretty cool right now in Scotland, in general. There are loads of supportive places to perform! I’m super grateful that I got into doing comedy when I did. We are lucky. My personal fave night is Project X at Monkey Barrel in Edinburgh, where we get the chance to play around in such a cool venue.”
GG: Is the Fringe crowd different from playing in Glasgow? To what extent is your show different to what you would usually do in Glasgow?
“I like being able to experiment a bit more at the Fringe as it is a longer show. I might even do a costume change half way through!”
GG: You speak about addiction in your show and you recently celebrated one year sober. How has getting sober affected your comedy act?
“Giving up booze totally changed my whole vibe with comedy. Before, I would always drink at gigs; so I was kind of hazy afterwards and couldn’t learn from my mistakes. Now I’m much clearer about things. Although I can’t numb out in general anymore (except by eating several bags of Drumstick Squashies and watching It’s Always Sunny). But, I’ve sacrificed one thing and what I’ve received is way better. When I’m on-stage now I feel truly in the moment and alive rather than thinking about having a post-show drink. It’s really priceless. I love it!"
While the show is promoted as fun and ridiculous by the comedian herself – and yes, she does sing about ice cream a lot – just behind the madness are astute observations that are pertinent to our times. Addiction, compulsive eating and the total and utter grimness of modern dating are all discussed with extremely sharp wit… Before going back to playing the piano on her Slazenger tracksuit trousers.
Amelia has a presence and energy that made me laugh the full way through, but the words spoken also made me really think. I left the show with the belly ache that can be expected after a comedy show, but also with a thought that I have far too often: man is it hard to be a young woman finding her way in this world sometimes!
But at least we can have a laugh about it.
Amelia Bayler's show Emotional Bangers runs at this year's Edinburgh Fringe from the 1st to 26th August (excluding 14th). Tickets can be bought here.
You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and online at ameliabayler.com and @ameliabayler.