Amelia Bayler: 'What if I ate two Snickers bars instead?'
- Brian Donaldson
- 11 November 2019
This rising star on the Scottish comedy circuit talks pre-show nibbles and being heckled by her dad
Writer and producer of comedy 'bangers about anxiety and snacks', Amelia Bayler performs regularly at experimental comedy nights Chunks and Project X. In this Q&A, she tells us about receiving advice from Will Smith (sort of) and the time she won, to her own amazement, a comedian rap battle.
Can you tell us about the moment when you thought, 'stand-up is for me'?
I think it was the moment right after Marjolein Robertson and I did a comedy marathon on the top deck of Bob's BlundaBus at Kelburn Garden Party. It was like the comedy equivalent of two DJs doing a B2B set. We then went to see Leftfield and I was completely sober but fuelled by adrenaline. Amazing!
Do you have any pre-show rituals you can tell us about?
At the Fringe I would walk from my accommodation to the Royal Mile to flyer for my show Emotional Bangers whilst listening to this song called 'Hot Cop' by Village People. After flyering and right before my gig I would eat two Rice Krispies Squares bars. They're delish. It's weird because it kind of became my ritual out of nowhere. I started to think, 'what's gonna happen if I don't do these things?! What if I ate two Snickers bars instead?!' (I mean, I would die because I have a nut allergy).
How do you handle hecklers?
My own dad heckled me at my Fringe show! So I said 'stop heckling me dad, you mad cunt'. He's told all his friends and colleagues, haha. I'm mainly a musical comedian so sometimes if people are chatting or doing something annoying when I'm onstage I can sort of subtly slip some sly digs into the lyrics. Like I've got this song called 'What's the Vibe?!' and I could just change the words and be like, 'this guy's annoying … what's the vibe?!'
Where do you draw the line when it comes to 'offensive comedy'?
I don't watch offensive comedy and personally I don't think I'm an offensive comedian (apart from calling my dad a 'mad cunt'). I keep losing at comedian rap battles where you're supposed to rip into your opponent. I only won once because I spent an embarrassing amount of time writing and rehearsing a rap with a section which went, 'I say chicken, you say bake: chicken bake, chicken bake!'
What's the one thing (good or bad) you remember about your very first stand-up gig?
This wasn't stand-up but I performed my first ever comedy song at high school. It was called 'McVities Fittaes' and it was a banger!
What's the best piece of advice you've received from another comedian so far?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. Their song 'Boom! Shake The Room' has this lyric: 'my life is a cage but on stage I'm free!' Will Smith didn't give me that piece of advice directly but I've been thinking about that lyric a lot recently.
You're curating your own 'legends of comedy' line-up: who are the bill's top three acts?
The Delightful Sausage, Lucy Pearman and Pat Cahill. Their Fringe shows at Monkey Barrel totally blew me away this year! So visually amazing and hilarious.
Which comedian's memoir would you recommend to someone, and why?
This isn't a memoir but my friend Gabriel Featherstone, who I perform with regularly at alt comedy nights Chunks and Project X, loaned me this book about a 90s experimental comedy night called Cluub Zarathustra. It's called You Are Nothing by Robert Wringham. My fave bit is where he describes Stewart Lee mispronouncing Doritos as 'Dorritoss'. Definitely worth a read!
Rose Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 14 Nov, 5 Dec; Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh, Tue 26 Nov, Mon 9 Dec; The Stand, Glasgow (Kids Club Christmas Special), Sat 14 Dec; The Stand, Edinburgh, Mon 13 Jan; The Stand, Glasgow (Red Raw), Tue 14 Jan.