The Edinburgh Festival Fringe – a time for the mass exodus of Londoners to more northern climes for three weeks of beer and comedy. While Londoners may be accused of jealousy throughout August as the cultural reins are passed over to the other capital, one saving grace is that it means some of London’s best fringe venues welcome to the stage a steady flow of comedy acts, warming up before their Edinburgh débuts, meaning we get to see the shows first.
Having survived their Edinburgh Fringe début last year performing their eponymous show, depraved comedy duo Guilt & Shame will make their return to Edinburgh this summer with a brand new show, Up All Night. Previewing at London’s Soho Theatre this weekend (Friday 29 and Saturday 30 June), The London Word caught up with Gabriel Bisset-Smith and Robert Cawsey, the warped brains behind Guilt & Shame’s surreal comedy, to find out more about their inspirations, Fringe survival and the intriguing ‘Rob and Gabe sandwich’…
So how did this debauched pairing come about?
‘Through a mutual love of dancing, showing off and embarrassing ourselves.’
You made your Edinburgh Fringe début as a comedy duo last year – how was that?
‘Simultaneously the worst and best experience ever. We had amazing shows and awful ones, but partying afterwards gave us more material then we could ever use.’
Any words of wisdom for Fringe survival for first timers?
‘Trust no one – everyone is trying to con you out of money. Drink with everyone – the best way of getting your show out there is by making as many friends as possible – or by sleeping with as many people as possible. Prepare your liver – self explanatory.’
What can audiences expect from your new late night slot with Up All Night?
‘Onstage DJ, dance numbers, painful sexual encounters, paranoid drug dealers, grieving transsexuals, talking penises and a banging soundtrack.’
You recently made a powerful video campaigning to make comedy funny again – where do you think comedy went wrong? And how are Guilt & Shame going to save it?
‘There is a lot of good comedy out there but not stuff we really relate to. We want to make shows for people who love to party and don’t want to be “sensible” yet.’
Talk us through a typical London night out with Guilt & Shame.
‘Well first we have a few drinks at ours then… well that’s when it gets a bit blurry.’
How much of the show is a case of life inspiring art or art inspiring life?
‘Some could see it less as a comedy and more a documentary.’
You’ll be taking Up All Night to Latitude and Bestival this summer – any tales of festival guilt or shame?
‘Rob lying on the floor, at three in the morning, whilst a small Chinese lady gyrated over his face, as a crowd watched on, is a memory that springs to mind.’
If you were ‘up all night’ with someone who had never been to London, where would the night take you? And the morning after?
‘That’s a tough one, as no two nights out are the same, but I can guarantee they’d wake up as the filling in a Rob and Gabe sandwich.’
What’s up next for Guilt & Shame?
Guilt & Shame will be performing Up All Night on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 June at:
21 Dean Street
Catch Guilt & Shame’s Up All Night at Edinburgh Fringe at Underbelly from 2 to 26 August.
Guilt & Shame will also be appearing at Latitude Festival (Sunday 15 July) and Bestival (Sunday 9 September).