EDINBURGH 2023: Lucas O'Neil Q&A

Emotional Man runs in Edinburgh this August

By: Jul. 10, 2023
Edinburgh Festival
EDINBURGH 2023: Lucas O'Neil Q&A
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BWW caught up with Lucas O'Neil to chat about bringing Emotional Man to the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tell us a bit about Emotional Man

It’s a joke-dense, stand-up hour that centers around my anxious family, my role within it, and how that changed after my mother passed away. On the surface it’s about trying to connect with men, social media obituaries, my fleeting beauty, and the group project that is “being a family.” But at its core, it’s about how the people and places in our lives make us who we are, and who we become without them. It’s really not about grief. In case it seemed like it was! It’s about belonging and how we see ourselves.

Why was this a story you wanted to tell?

On some level, it was the only one I could tell. My comedy has always been grounded in my actual life events. And what I didn’t think about when I made this stylistic choice (before my frontal lobe was fully developed, by the way) was that my actual life events might not always be great. In fact, that’s one of life’s promises. So, when I started working on the show, I began building it out of what I was living and what felt funny and relevant to me.

I know some comics can come up with a show concept and then write to that. I’d love, if I were one of them. But my concept ideas were too abstract. Initially, I wanted to write a solo show about the fallacy of individualism. Yup. I wrote that down, and really thought: “that’d be a fun show.” But it isn’t. It’s just something someone says at University when they haven’t done the reading.

So I’m glad I wrote this show instead because it’s a story I would have wanted to hear when I was younger, and trying to figure out if it was okay to care deeply and think too much.

With this being your festival debut, do you think you know what to expect from Fringe?

Absolutely not! My expectations are often wrong for things I’ve already done - like not wearing sunscreen when it’s cloudy and thinking that’ll be fine - so I am confident that I will be surprised by the experience that is Fringe. That’s not to say people haven’t been very generous with giving advice and trying to prepare me. They have. But the most prominent piece of advice was to “expect to be tired.” And in that area, I could not be more prepared. I’m tired already.

Who would you like to come see you?

Anywho who’s had a parent or knows a parent. Or anyone who’s been a kid or had a kid. That’s the target demo. But, if anyone does not identify with either of these categories, I’d also say, festival-goers who are excited to see a funny, thoughtful show built with jokes.

What would you like audiences to take away from it?

I hope audiences leave full - pleased with the laughter and heartened by the journey. And maybe, they leave with little more belief - or a reminder for those who already believe it - that on the other side of change, you can find good. Even if it’s change you fought pretty hard to prevent.

Lucas O’Neil’s debut stand up show ‘Emotional Man’ is at the Just The Tonic @ The Caves – Just Up The Road at 5.20pm from 3rd – 27th August (except 14th) for tickets go to www.edfringe.com

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