Best Of The Edinburgh Fest – Mark Simmons Is In His Happy Place On Stage

L-R: Ting Lim, Adam Flood, Mark Simmons, John Hastings
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

One of Melbourne's favourite original line-up shows is back for 2024 – 'Best Of The Edinburgh Fest’.

Yearly, 'Best Of The Edinburgh Fest' is an expert handpick of some of the most excellent next-big-thing comedians and established comics, in a show designed to mix things up and showcase international acts.

Giving any given audience three acts for the price of one, 'Best Of The Edinburgh Fest' this year presents Mark Simmons (UK), Adam Flood (UK), John Hastings (CAN) and Ting Lim (SNG/AUS).

One-liner comic Mark Simmons has been busy on his debut tour, performing to more than 15,000 people. We take a moment to chat to him about his 'Best Of The Edinburgh Fest' offering.

Tell us a bit about what you’ll be bringing MICF audiences this year.
Jokes, jokes and more jokes. I do one-liners, so if you’re looking for a high gag to dollar ratio, I’m your man. My favourite part of my act to perform is when I do jokes on random subjects suggested by the audience. I especially like it in Australia, as you guys have so many things I haven’t heard of. For example at a show in Adelaide someone shouted “Bare foot bowls”, which we don’t have in the UK. I was actually going to try it but I got cold feet.

How would you describe your style of comedy?
I do one liners. Little short jokes. I came second in the Edinburgh ‘Joke Of The Fringe’ recently with “Did you know, if you get pregnant in the Amazon, it’s next day delivery”.

And how did you get into the industry in the first place?
I still can’t believe I tried it as I was so scared to talk in front of people when I was younger, whereas now, on stage is where I’m most comfortable. I randomly bumped into my friend who was doing the open mic circuit in London and he somehow convinced me to have a go. Apparently I spent the entire set looking at the floor but I got some laughs and was hooked. That friend is called Stuart Foreman, and he’s actually living over here now and does comedy in Brisbane. So it’s his fault I do stand-up if you want someone to blame.

And what can you tell us about who will be joining you as part of ‘Best Of The Edinburgh Fest’?
John Hastings is doing half of the run and we’ve done a lot of shows together. He’s a Canadian powerhouse, very funny and we have a lot in common as we both like wrestling. Watching not doing! Don’t worry we’re not going to be rolling around in just our underpants backstage before the shows. Ting Lim and Adam Flood are the other acts on the show and I don’t actually know them very well as we’ve not worked together, but I’ve heard great things, so I’m super excited to watch them from the wings. It’s a very comedically diverse line-up which is why compilation shows are so great, as there’s something for everyone.

What does it mean to you to be considered part of the ‘Best’ of something?!
What an honour. There are so many brilliant comedians attending the festival every year so it’s such a privilege to be selected as part of this show. 'Best Of The Edinburgh Fest' has such a rich history too including comedians such as Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Craig Ferguson and Arj Barker, so to now be in the same conversation as those acts is a dream.

How do you stay inspired?
I think being around funny people helps. I've spent most of the last two years with my support act Danny Ward, and he’s one of the best comedians in the UK, and funny stuff always seems to happen to us. Like the time he had his trousers stolen so had to borrow mine for his act, leaving me walking around backstage during his set in just my underpants (I wasn’t planning on talking about my underpants as much as I have done in this interview).

Who’s YOUR favourite comedian and why?
I’ve always really liked Lee Mack. He’s considered the quickest wit in the UK and it’s a goal of mine to be as fast as him.

What are you most looking forward to about playing this festival in 2024?
I’m really looking forward to doing my solo show 'Quip Off The Mark' for the first time in Melbourne. I’ve toured it for 140 shows back in the UK and excited to see what the Aussies think.

'Best Of The Edinburgh Fest' plays Athenaeum Theatre (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) 28 March-21 April. 'Quip Off The Mark' plays QT Melbourne 16-21 April.

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