Gagmeister Tim Vine is hoping to tickle your funnybone and your tastebuds at this year’s festival.
He won’t thank you for the comparison, but the comedian Tim Vine and the Duracell Bunny have at least one thing in common: both can go on and on long after their rivals have collapsed in a dazed heap.
As well as his role in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out, Vine has invented and hosted several TV game shows, won Celebrity Mastermind and, at one time, held the World Record for telling the most number of jokes in an hour (499, if you think you can do better).
He is bringing similar energy levels to Edinburgh this year, where, in addition to his regular stand-up performances, he is also doing a three-night stint with his own chat show. Factor in the knowledge that his endearingly daft stage shows are well-known for their seemingly inexhaustible supply of absurd one-liners and his title for this year’s Fringe show, The Joke-amotive, could hardly be more apt. Gags and puns shoot from his gob like sparks from the furnace of a runaway steam train.
It is a production rate that, if they could emulate it, would have the Greek economy back on its feet in no time. Vine wouldn’t have it any other way. “I take the view that you should write a lot,” he says. “If you write fifty songs then you are more likely to write a good one than if you just write three. That’s how I look at writing jokes.”
When preparing a new show, he tries to come up with fifteen fresh gags a day, and it will take him at least six months to accumulate enough material to feed his voracious stage act. And that’s just the jokes.
“When I do an hour long show, it’s a big mix,” he explains. “It’s not just one-liners. There are a lot of them in there but there are also lots of silly songs and there’s also
a bag of props that I dip into. When I feel one thing outstaying its welcome, then I can pull something else out of the prop bag. It’s like plate-spinning, in a way.”
Vine, a Perrier Newcomer Winner in 1995, will be plate wrangling in a different way when he takes on a cookery demo slot at Foodies Festival in addition to his stand-up run.
“It’s good to be a bit experimental at the Fringe,” says Vine of his latest venture. “A possible problem is that I can’t cook. I don’t know if it’s allowed, but I may bring my own chef.”
Failing that, his back-up plan won’t have Jamie Oliver looking over his shoulder in worried horror but, like most of Vine’s ideas, it does sound like an absolute hoot.
“Popcorn would be fun,” he says dreamily. “I’ve often thought that a good game would be to put popcorn in the pan, pull on some boxing gloves and then you have to try and hit the corn as they pop out.”
The Joke-amotive, Pleasance One, 4-30 August (not 11 or 18), 8.43pm, From £10, Tel: 0131 5566550
The Tim Vine Chat Show, Pleasance Cabaret Bar, 26-28 August, 5.10pm, From £9.50
Foodies at the Festival, Holyrood Park, 13-15 August, From £6, Tel: 0871 230 5573, www.foodiesfestival.com