Andrew Dipper

Five questions for Hal Branson

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Former Giggle Beats New Act of the Month Hal Branson is currently performing his Edinburgh Fringe show, Sonny Delight, along Lauren Pattison and Sammy Dobson – who are, coincidentally, also New Act of the Month alumni. We ask Branson five questions. 

Tell us about your show…

It’s a triple-header (which is a lot less sexy than it sounds) with fellow North East stand-ups Lauren Pattison and Sammy Dobson. We’re all trying to hone a good club 20 and trying out new stuff in the hope of all bringing back full hour solo shows next year. We all have very different styles and sensibilities so the audience get a variety of acts and by the law of averages should like at least one of us at the very least.

If you weren’t a stand-up what would you be and why?

Well, I was expelled from school when I was 16 and ended up working as a chambermaid at a hotel in Hexham (in my defence the job was advertised as ‘Room Attendant’ and I thought, “well I can attend rooms. Easy”. It was only on my first day when I was given dusters, bog roll and bleach that I realised what I’d signed up for. However it turned out to be the best job I’ve ever had. I’d eat a few Toblerones, down an Appletize out of the minibar and watch Sky TV. And I can now put on a duvet cover in under a minute. And during Euro 1996 the French team stayed at the hotel and I ended up cleaning Zinedine Zidane’s room. He tipped me 500 francs and didn’t headbutt me. So probably that.

What’s the best and worst thing about being you?

The worst thing about being me is the perpetual bouts depression, crushing self-doubt, crippling anxiety and my impressive man tits. Best thing about being me is my aforementioned duvet skills.

What do you get up to in Edinburgh when you’re not on stage? 

I like to pop on a tartan hat and ginger wig, give the tattered statue of Greyfriars Bobby a loving pat on his tiny stone head then take in the cacophonous whale of a bagpipe player before dowsing myself in Irn Bru and a tucking into to a plate of neeps before catching 9 back to back improvised student musical shows on the Royal Mile.

Oh, and handing out tear-stained flyers for our show.

Describe your perfect Edinburgh Fringe…

Well it’s my first one performing so I don’t really have anything to compare it to but I’d like to come away having seen loads of inspiring comedy, have a good set I’m confident in, and never have to hear a bagpipe again.

Hal Branson, Sammy Dobson, Lauren Pattison in Sonny Delight, Opium Bar (venue 96) 71 Cowgate, EH1 1JW, 18.45, 8-29 August (not Tuesdays), FREE.