Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Working Class Hero

Don’t be fooled by the title of her show. BBC Eurovision podcaster and stand-up Jayde Adams is as comfortable talking about body positivity and class struggle as she is about Kylie Jenner

Words Kate Copstick    

So how was Eurovision? Channelling your inner Graham Norton? Did you feel his presence ?

Eurovision was iconic! It’s all anyone talks to me about nowadays – so many people are totally obsessed with Eurovision and Graham is an absolute dream! Scott and I got to interview him on the podcast and I’ve got to say, it was one of my 2019 highlights. I really hope my presence on Eurovision this year is the start of something special. I’m absolutely besotted with it now. Once you’re hooked … well let’s just say I’ve already blocked out mid-May. 

You have had pretty much year-on-year success with your shows so far. Does that make it easier or harder to come back?

It’s massively stressful, but I remind myself when I’m up here that I’ve been through way worse in my life so I just get on with it. I really enjoy the challenge of the Fringe. Trying to figure it all out and staying true to yourself is part of the fun. I set myself little challenges every year because I don’t want to get stuck doing the same stuff. Obviously stepping outside of your comfort zone brings on stress but I really thrive in those circumstances. 

Everyone will know you ‘off the telly’ from the Sun Bingo ads. Where do you stand on the debate about it being unacceptable to market online bingo so directly to working class women – and sending them up in the process?

Who am I sending up? It’s me! There’s no parody. I’m not going to lie, the money was great but you’ve got to remember I’m working class myself. I’ve worked my ass off since I was 16. Waitressed until I was 31 years old, worked in Asda, ran pubs, restaurants, at one point I had three jobs and slept 5 hours a night. Did 18-hour shifts when I was manager, ran a kiosk cafe that opened at 7am in the middle of Islington, worked in call centres, did anything I could so I could carry on doing stand-up up and down the country in working men’s clubs and pubs until someone in the TV industry thought I was good enough to pay. I’m not related to anyone famous and I’ve got an accent. It’s taken a lot of hard graft to get where I’ve gotten to. There’s a huge class divide in this country and I don’t think I’m the person to start any fights with over it. 

Will there be big songs and big frocks this year? 

This year I want the industry to see how good of a stand-up I am. Female voices like mine don’t often end up in writers’ rooms and I’ve written four successful Fringe shows and won numerous awards for comedy shows I’ve written, including being nominated for Best Newcomer during Fringe 2016. I think all the pizzazz has slightly overshadowed that sometimes, so I’ve stripped it back. No whistles, no bells. Just me and a microphone – we’ve even done away with my sequins. I used to be the only curvy girl wearing all-in-ones but everyone’s doing it now. It’s not so much of a statement anymore. But a funny, working-class girl in a black turtleneck, highlighting the bigger issues at the biggest arts festival in the world? No one’s doing that. 

Do you feel happier having a Spirit Diva onstage with you? Adele, Bette Midler, Kylie Jenner, Graham Norton..?

Ah yes, well, I did the Adele and Bette Midler shows but I wouldn’t be fooled by my title this year. The show isn’t a celebration of anything Kardashian. If anything it’s a reaction to it. Gorgeous TV actress Jameela Jamil has recently taken a loud stance against airbrushing and the Kardashians, which I think is great and easy to do when you don’t need airbrushing, but I think it would be a lot more inspiring coming from someone normal looking. Us fat girls can fight our own battles, we’re pretty tough. I’m not a victim in any way, shape or form. Sorry Jameela. 

You’re really flexing your acting muscles – do you think a life with David Tennant could take you away from comedy ?

I’ll always have comedy until I die. Acting is a great passion of mine but more of a bonus in this career. I don’t know how actors sit around waiting for the phone to ring, I’d go mad. I’m not sitting around. Live performance is the best drug in the world and I’ll always need it, no matter how many feature films me and Meryl are doing. 

WHERE & WHEN

Jayde Adams: The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face

Pleasance Courtyard
31 July-25 August

9.30pm, from £8
pleasance.co.uk