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Interview: Rosie Jones on her Edinburgh debut hour Fifteen Minutes

This comedian is destined for a lot more than 15 minutes of fame.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe - Rosie Jones: Fifteen Minutes review
Rosie Jones

Rosie Jones was born to do comedy. Naturally funny, her years as a TV researcher behind the scenes as a seasoned joke-writer for panel-show comedians has propelled her stand-up career with a professional ease that exceeds her two years in the game.

Her ability to own the audience and create continued surprise with her punchlines shows a craft for words and meticulous approach to comedy that makes her a rising star. Now, taking her first debut hour into the Edinburgh limelight, the magic of the annual fringe festival will be all the better for her hotly anticipated show.

I was keen to hear more about the inspiration behind Fifteen Minutes alongside delving deeper into the realities of day-to-day life as a fully-fledged comic. The theme of identities runs through this show like a stick of rock, as Rosie, who has cerebral palsy, explores how she found her way into comedy. And, when the sky is the limit for this talented comedian, what more needs to be done to ensure all comedy venues cater for people with disabilities both on and off the stage?

Why is the show called 15 minutes?

I joke at the start of the show that my show is called Fifteen Minutes because I have 15 minutes of material but it takes an hour for me to say it, however the actual meaning is that 15 minutes is the length of time I wasn’t breathing when I was born, that led me on the path to becoming a comedian. I don’t think I would be a comedian without my disability, and it has made me who I am.

What message are you keen to get through with this work?

I really want to get the message across to audiences who come and see my show that they absolutely should not look at me and make assumptions. I don’t want them to presume I’m at a disadvantage, pity or feel sorry for me, as the chances are that I’m cleverer than them and DEFINITELY funnier.

Doing a month of shows in Edinburgh must be pretty draining. How important is it to get a show out the door year-on-year?

Edinburgh is so important for comics as it is so intense and the only place you can go to really test and develop your work over and over again. I did a 40 minute show there last year for the first time and it really was a baptism of fire. I was doing several gigs a day and it was exhausting. However, as a comic, being there is so important. In the 28 days I grew so much as a comic and as a person. And this year, there’s something about performing a whole hour show that makes you a more experienced comedian, it’s really invaluable. Plus, having ‘Edinburgh’ as a deadline is great to crack out another hour’s show. I need a deadline!

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a stand-up comedian?

Why are you doing it? You’ll never make other people laugh as much as you make yourself laugh.

What’s been your experience of comedy clubs ensuring their venues are accessible to all and what needs to change?

I’m lucky that I can get into most venues but I can’t believe how many venues still aren’t wheelchair accessible. One of the worst offenders is the Comedy Store in London, such a big brand but not accessible. They did have a stair lift but it just wasn’t enough for the sheer numbers of people in wheelchairs that wanted to attend as audience members. Accessibility isn’t just about providing a solution that isn’t fit for purpose.

It’s hard because obviously in my act I am constantly pushing the message that I don’t need help and I’m not a victim and I am in control, then you’ll have a disjointed situation due to poor venue provisions where there is a massive step up to the stage and the MC has to give me a hand to get onto it. It’s just not acceptable and it shouldn’t be happening. Provisions need to be made, even simple things like hand rails can make a huge difference and can be easily installed.

You’re also a brilliant actor, are you still doing comedy and acting? What else have you got going on at the moment?

I’m in a great position where I can do comedy and acting (Rosie appeared in the last series of Silent Witness). I’ve got a few things coming out towards the end of the year and I’m writing a sit-com. There’s a lot of development in place so we’ll see what happens!

Title: Rosie Jones: Fifteen minutes Venue: Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance This  Dates: August 1 – 12, 14-26 August  Time: 8:30pm Duration: 1 Hour Entry: £6-£10 (2for1 6-7 Aug)

To book tickets visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rosie-jones-fifteen-minutes and follow Rosie on Twitter @JosieRones

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