Comedy is about being playful, and adults aren’t always ready for that. You have to butter them up first with a few jokes about IT. With kids, you just come out and shout: “All the boys, say “Hello Andrew” like you’re Buzz Lightyear!” and then 100 Buzz Lightyears roar back at you “Hello Andrew!” and you’re off.
My show is about telling kids The Seven Secrets of Storytelling. Secret Three is Put The Hero In Trouble, and I’m grateful to the school in Wandsworth, where a Year One shouted: “Then we must put YOU in trouble!!” All 400 of them then set eagerly to work, imagining the evil things they could do to me.
A girl in Year One said that there could be someone watching me who is a witch (“someone like Ms Winsmore!” she suggested) and “you’d be TURNED into a FROG!” Before that moment, I never knew I could impersonate a frog so well. In the end, I foiled Ms Winsmore, by lashing my 20-foot tongue at her and snatching her wand.
That’s the thing about kids: they’re very warm and giving. They’ve also got strange, twisted imaginations. Secret 4 is Find Your Superpower. “We’ve got Batman,” I explain. “We’ve got Spiderman. What animal could you be?” So far I’ve had ChickenMan. (“If anything bad happened I would fly over and EGG THEIR HEADS!”). Last Sunday I met a boy who’d be a fish. (“I would trail around a bit of poo… And I’d stare at the robbers going blub blub. Then I’d hit them with the poo!”)
The strange thing is the parents often enjoy it as much as the kids. I had a dad who was so into being a gorilla, he climbed the balcony and beat his chest. For mums, I explain that every story must finish with the words: “And she fell faaaast asleep.” Then I tell the kids that mums say that, because they want to go downstairs and drink wine. I tell the kids tactics for delaying her; I tell the mums how to get away.
The most exciting bit is Secret 5, Become Psychic. I make them hush and shut their eyes (such a clever ruse!) then afterwards we discover what they saw. In Salisbury Playhouse a boy told a story about a beserk Tellytubbie, and it was while I was acting out the beserk Tellytubbie, that a girl guide laughed so much she weed the blanket. That remains my proudest moment as a comedian.
I’ve got to admit, my main show this summer will be an adult one, Love Rules, but I couldn’t resist doing some kids’ shows as well. However well Love Rules goes, I’m very unlikely to achieve a wetting.
Andrew Clover’s Almost Famous Story Session, Pleasance Courtyard, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 August, 11am, From £7, Tel: 0131 556 6550
Andrew Clover: Love Rules, Pleasance Courtyard, 4-29 August (not 16), 6pm, From £5, Tel: 0131 556 6550