Interview: Steve Bugeja

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Steve Bugeja is a critically acclaimed comedian who as well as being the host of BBC Radio 4’s Economics with Subtitles is a familiar face on TV having been seen on The Russell Howard Hour, The Zoe Ball Show, Stand Up Central, Love Island: Aftersun and Top Tens among other shows. As a writer Steve has written for The Russell Howard Hour, Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Russell Howard’s Good News, CelebAbility, The Now Show and The News Quiz, and now he’s returning to the Edinburgh Fringe with his fifth solo show, “Single Mum”, following his previous critically acclaimed shows Almost (2018) Summer Camp (2017), Unpronounceable (2016) and Day Release (2015), which were performed to sold-out crowds. Here he talks to us about “Single Mum”, how he’s changed as a stand up over the years, his feelings about the Edinburgh festival, and what happened when one MC introduced him as “Steve Buscemi”.

Comedy To Watch: How would you describe your comedy to someone who wasn’t previously aware of your good self?

Steve: I’m a self-deprecating storytelling comedian who mines my social misfortunes for your amusement. Crucially watching me will make you feel better about your life, I’m trying to fill the void Jeremy Kyle left.

CTW: And what can you tell us about your Edinburgh show?

Steve: My show is the true story of my mum’s search for a man while I was growing up, told from the perspective of an eight year old who used to audition the boyfriends as potential step-dads, all while still learning his times tables. I’m really proud of it and would LOVE it if you came along.

CTW: What are your favourite things about the festival?

Steve: I love the fringe so much, this is my 5th in a row. I love getting to perform every night, I love being in the same city for a whole month and not having to travel around but most of all I love the Poutine stand by Assembly gardens.

CTW: And are there any aspects you don’t like?

Steve: The hills. If we could move it to a flatter city that would be great.

CTW: When it comes to stand up, how do you feel you’ve evolved since your first ever gig?

Steve: I think I’m better, but that is largely because I was terrible on my first gig, as most people are. I think my stand-up has become more honest in recent years, and I think I’ve written material that is much pacier, I pack in a lot more jokes than I used to, which I think is good for the audience purely from a value for money perspective.

CTW: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you since you started performing?

Steve: My surname is quite difficult to pronounce (it’s Boo-Jay-A btw), one compere at a gig never bothered to check with me how to pronounce it, and when he came to bring me onto stage he obviously panicked and said … “Welcome onto the stage, Steve Buscemi”. As in hollywood star, Steve Buscemi. The eruption from the crowd was huge. The disappointment when I walked out was palpable.

CTW: If you could change any element of the stand up scene, what would it be?

Steve: Lower fees and make the gigs further away.

CTW: If money were no object, what would you like to create?

Steve: A robot. A robot who I could run my jokes past, write scripts with and just generally hang out. I guess I just want a friend.

CTW: And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?

Steve: Question: I’ve heard people say your new show Single Mum is very very funny and probably the best hour of comedy you’ve ever produced, is that true? Answer: Yes.

Alex Finch.
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Related Links:
Steve Bugeja is bringing his brand-new show Single Mum to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from the 1st to 25th August (not 12th) at 7.30pm, to The Fancy Room, Just the Tonic, and more info and tickets can be found here.
Steve’s Official Site.
A Clip of Steve performing on The Russell Howard Hour is here.

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