Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Award Winners: Ken Cheng

We chat to Award Winner Ken Cheng ahead of their performance at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Tell us about your show

It’s a real departure from my first show which was just about random things; this is a much more personal storytelling show. Like I was a weird kid, a really weird kid. When I was young my only friends were my hundred toy lambs who I ended up creating my own sci-fi universe with. It’s very much a show which unravels, revealing more weird stuff about my childhood and my family. Over the past couple years I found out so much dark stuff about my family and I was like, “Whoa. This is really crazy. Better make an Edinburgh show out of it.”

What has been your weirdest Fringe moment?

Not exactly a moment but for one Fringe I stayed in a flat which was right next to the Royal Mile and above a Scotland shop which only ever played bagpipe cover songs so every morning I would wake up to the sound of well-known pop songs but done with bagpipes. I went slowly insane over the month as this noise seeped into my subconscious and became the incidental music for my life. I could not escape it.

What would be your number one tip for newcomers?

The whole pressure of it being your “debut year” is way higher than it should be. Ultimately, it’s about the long-game and you have to accept that this year will be the hardest year, but it will also be the one you most improve. Focus on that aspect. If you have a harder than expected debut, don’t lose hope. I felt sad for parts of it when it wasn’t going as I expected. But in the long run, none of that matters. If things don’t go as expected, don’t feel defeated but instead learn from it. When I got back from the Fringe last year I had improved so much and it’s how you capitalise on that experience that’s the important part.

What’s the best and worst thing about the festival?

The best thing is that everyone’s there. It’s great for the social aspect. The comedy community feels sparse and disjointed the other eleven months of the year. It’s great that most of the comedians are in one place. The worst part is that most of the comedians are in one place. No seriously though, the worst part is feeling like ultimately you are all cogs in a machine that is becoming more and more corporate and less and less favouring towards the performer. I know that a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money and time for no reward. That has just become a thing we accept as the norm.

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