EDINBURGH 2023: Garrett Millerick Q&A

Never Had It So Good comes to Edinburgh in August

By: Jul. 29, 2023
Edinburgh Festival
EDINBURGH 2023: Garrett Millerick Q&A
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BWW caught up with Garrett Millerick to chat about bringing Never Had It So Good to the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tell us a bit about Never Had It So Good.

I had an idea to write a simple, positive, no-frills stand-up show. I’ve been trying to do that for five years. Life has other plans. So it’s a show about gratitude I guess. It’s positive, but the road to get there is a rollercoaster ride of calamity. The title is a quote from British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, he said it in the 1950s in an effort to get British people to look on the bright side, as this was objectively a good time to be alive. People didn’t like it, they got angry. In seventy years I don’t think our capacity to tolerate people who tell us that things are objectively pretty good has improved any. We’re constantly dissatisfied with everything, and that’s the bedrock of the show. When I was nine all I wanted was to have every episode of Red Dwarf on video. I can pull out my phone and watch as much Red Dwarf as I like, at a moments notice. I never have, because I’m wracked with misery and anxiety spending my time occupied thinking about attaining more and more things that will make me happy. 

The only reason I’m at the festival is that I’m chasing that elusive thing… ‘more’. Everyone is. It’s a celebration of excess in every direction, every single performer and audience member is there because they want more of something. You’re playing to an audience of people who have chosen to come on their summer holiday to the most meteorologically unstable corner of northern Europe and watch nine comedy shows a day. That’s not sane behaviour. Nor is what I’m doing. There’s something brilliant and fascinating about that, we’re all having a breakdown in a basement together. I want to get in amongst that and explore what that is, and have a laugh about it.

Without giving too much away, this is a bit of a u-turn show, isn’t it?

Yes, but it always is with me. We have to commit to a premise long before I write the show. Usually around Christmas. And I resolve to write something simple and positive. Then life gets in the way. I’m a very different person writing the show to the guy who wrote the brochure blurb. I don’t even look like the bloke in the picture in the brochure. I ended up with about three weeks to write it as well, so its fresh and exciting. I always like stand-up the best when you’re jumping off a cliff with the audience and discovering if you have a parachute in real time. It makes everything more fun. Because of covid last year’s show gestated over three years, and was previewed to death, by accident rather than by design. And I just wasn’t in the pocket of it, or life really, it was an odd time. So this one has an energy and an immediacy that really pleases me. I didn’t bill it as a work in progress because if you’re doing stand-up properly every night should be a work in progress, if not it’s just a one man theatre show, a facsimile of what stand-up can be. That’s a very grand way of justifying being ill prepared isn’t it? Did I mention there’s a lot of facile arguments and justifications in the show?

With usually performing quite personal shows, how do you ensure that you’re taking care of yourself at the festival?

I normally don’t. And just stick my head right in the mouth of the beast. I got away with that for years. And then didn’t. The beast totally consumed me last year. Come see the show, I’ll tell you about it.

What are the advantages to performing at Monkey Barrel?

They have ready-made burritos in a glass case on the bar. It’s also a club I play regularly through the year. It’s a proper comedy club, running at a festival. Which is a Venn diagram I’m very happy sitting in the middle of. I filmed my last special there in June (coming soon from 800 Pound Gorilla guys, pre order live soon, check my insta yeah?). I’m back in the Tron this year, which is my favourite room at the festival, low ceilings, close audience, pressure cooker but with aircon. But run by the Monkey Barrel team. Yes please. Perfect.

What would you like audiences to take away from the show?

I’ll be selling copies of my critically acclaimed stand-up albums at the end. A good percentage of people walking away with those would net me a tidy sum.

Garrett Millerick: Never Had It So Good will be performed at 4.25pm in Monkey Barrel at The Tron from 2nd – 27th August (Not 7th, 14th or 21st)

Booking link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/garrett-millerick-never-had-it-so-good

Photo credit: Edward Moore

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