Scott Gibson takes Life After Death on tour
This year's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer reflects on his glorious August and playing on the London Underground
Scott Gibson made comedy history this August when he and Richard Gadd scooped a double Scottish victory at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Glasgow's Gibson won the Best Newcomer gong for Life After Death, a universally-admired set about his recent medical mishaps. Here he answers a few questions about his successful Fringe, storytelling and a curious underground gig
So, to put it mildly, August was something of a success for you. Back in July, what was your aim for the Fringe?
My aim for the Fringe in July was to survive the Fringe. Well, if I'm honest, the real aim was to try and have a laugh, hang out with some friends and hopefully get as many people to see me as possible. I didn't really have any clue what to do about press etc so thankfully the guys at the Gilded Balloon helped me out from day one with all that. The only thing I asked was that I was trying to get someone from Soho Theatre in London to see me, as it has always been a dream to play there. So the plan, if you can call it that, was to get them in to see the show which hopefully they would like and sometime down the line they may invite me down. But obviously things went better than I could ever have imagined.
What do you think the judges saw in your show to give you the nod?
I don't know to be honest, you would have to ask them that. I hope they saw a bit of talent in me, maybe an ability to tell a story, hold their attention: I don't know. It's a difficult one to answer as you work on your show, run it through, tighten it up for the hour and then hope it's received well. Some people may like it, some may not. But you have to run it out for 28 or so shows so you need to make sure you like it and more importantly are proud of it.
What was the first thought that went through your head when you heard your name being read out?
Shock, total shock. I remember it being so quick as well. They started the ceremony, and I thought to myself, there will be a bit of bumf at the start, thank this person, thank that person etc but no. They just went, 'the Nominees for Best Newcomer are …' and I thought 'Christ OK, here we go'. When Sofie [Hagen] read out my name I just couldn't believe it. I thought I was going to faint for a second, my head fell in to my hands and I heard a huge cheer go up around me. It was so surreal and so so strange. People started to move so I could get up to the stage; I can remember saying 'thank you' a lot, and being shocked by the weight of the award. I said something, thanked who I could remember and then walked back. Crazy stuff.
Has it changed your life at all?
Yes and no. Yes, in that I now have a manager, I have some fantastic opportunities coming up and it's certainly made me focus a lot more than I have before on my comedy. But it hasn't changed me as a person or my comedy or what I want to do with my career. It's an incredible achievement and if there is a thing as the 'perfect Fringe Debut', I was pretty close to it. The fact I'm the first Scotsman to win Best Newcomer is cool; I'll admit when I found that out, I did think to myself, 'get in son!'
How did you get involved in a gig with Tony Law on the London Underground and what's your abiding memory of how it went?
The guys from lastminute.com got in touch ahead of my Lyric Theatre gigs [Mon 24 & 31 Oct] as they had an idea for a 'unique' way to promote the shows. At first I thought it was going to be a gig in a tube station, so they would build a stage etc and we would do a show for commuters. When we had a meeting to discuss the details I realised then that it wasn't only just in the station it would also be in the carriage! So that was a shock, but as I knew I would have the legend Tony Law with me I thought: 'what is the worst that can happen?' Maybe stabbed, but we were willing to take that chance. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. We made it as fun as we could, some people got on board, others not so much. But remember these people were real commuters so they were only in the carriage for a few stops. But yeah, we had fun.
Do hospitals ever make an appearance in your nightmares?
Thankfully not, no. Although after the Fringe, I did have to go to the hospital with food poisoning and was getting stick on Twitter from people asking if I was away to write another show. But no, no nightmares; and no nightmares about hospitals.
A certain Frankie Boyle said you were a 'gifted storyteller'. Which upcoming and veteran comics would you pass that accolade on to?
Carl Donnelly, Gary Little and Raymond Mearns are some of the best storytelling comics in the country and you should check them out any chance you get.
Scott Gibson: Life After Death is at The Stand, Glasgow, Wed 26 Oct; Soho Theatre, London, Tue 20 Dec–Sat 14 Jan.