Steve Coogan reveals plans to stage Fringe comeback

Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan has revealed he wants to return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a new show – nearly 30 years after he shot to fame at the event.

Saturday, 29th August 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Saturday, 29th August 2020, 9:24 am
Steve Coogan has spoken of his ambitions to bring a brand new show to the Fringe for the first time in nearly 30 years. Picture: Jamie McCarthy
Steve Coogan has spoken of his ambitions to bring a brand new show to the Fringe for the first time in nearly 30 years. Picture: Jamie McCarthy

The award-winning actor and comic has told how has had a “romantic notion” to become part of the festival again when he has visited the city to see shows in recent years.

Coogan, who was a voice artist on Spitting Image before he appeared at the Fringe, has also revealed that he regards winning the Perrier Award in 1992 as the pinnacle of his career.

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Since his triumph at the Fringe, when he was up against Jo Brand, Bruce Morton and John Shuttleworth, Coogan has been nominated for Oscars and Golden Globe, and won BAFTAs and an Emmy Award for Alan Partridge and films like Stan and Ollie and Philomena.

Coogan will be discussing the prospect of staging a new show at the Fringe as part of “Shedinburgh”, an online festival of shows filmed in pop-up sheds.

Interviewed by Shedinburgh co-director Gary McNair for an event which will be broadcast on September 3, Coogan said: “I’m not to want to blow my own trumpet, but I have won a bunch of BAFTAs and all the rest of it over the years, but the most exciting thing I ever won in my life was the Perrier Award.

“The great thing about the festival is that you can go from zero to hero in two or three weeks. In my first show, which I did with John Thomson, we had six people in the audience.

“I have been back virtually every year since as a punter. I sort of feel, when I go as a punter, this romantic notion that I wish I was doing a show, as then I would really feel part of the festival. I will definitely do a show at the festival at some point, but I don’t know what, something odd and mis-shapen.

Steve Coogan was interviewed for the Shedinburgh online festival being staged as part of this year's alternative Fringe.

“My romantic notion is that it’s a great place to do something experimental and different. I wouldn’t do what I would do if I was doing a big tour. I would do something odd and unusual and maybe only half funny.

“I don’t know what I’d do, but I would definitely do something that I’d never do anywhere else. Edinburgh is a fertile environment where you can experiment and if it fails that’s OK.

“If I was taking a show to Edinburgh I’d try to say things that you’re not supposed to say, not in a vindictive way, but to play with the idea of what is the right way to think.

“The only sort of ethic I’ve ever applied to my comedy is you punch up, not down. You don’t pick on people in council houses or ethnic groups who are disempowered. You do pick on the powerful, the unaccountable and people who regard themselves as unassailable. That is just healthy. I don’t like comedy that bullies the weak.

“I would also challenge and affectionately mock the Edinburgh crowd, who are probably generally speaking reasonably liberal in their outlook. I would do something that would tease them.”

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