Ali returns to The Hive (Venue 313) from August 6-30, scene of his first solo show last year, appearing once again as his comedy creation Eric Meat in Eric Meat Has No Proof, Only Memories of Pasta.
“I have always loved comedy,” Ali says. “I think I can actually pinpoint the moment when I decided I wanted to be a comedian. I was about eight, and I just started making somebody laugh, and they said ‘Are you going to be a comedian?’ And I just thought ‘I think I will actually!’ I have been obsessed with comedy all my life.”
Ali went on to Kingston University and with his friend Adam booked into a comedy open mic in Stockwell in 2009: “It went very well. We did a double act, a sketch about two asthma sufferers holding an asthma conference.
“I was completely terrified beforehand, but then I was absolutely hooked. I was full of adrenaline and buzzing.”
Now Adam is directing Ali in the latest show.
“Last year was my first solo show, and after that I got an agent and started auditioning. The lead-up to that first solo show was about five years. I have been going to the Fringe since 2010. It took me five Fringes to build up to my first solo show.”
Ali admits it’s a competitive business: “At the Edinburgh Fringe there are more than a thousand comedy shows to choose from. Every corner of Edinburgh becomes a stage, from people who have never been on stage before right up to the big names.
“The stuff I do is very, very silly. It is very weird, a bit like Reeves & Mortimer and Harry Hill. People say ‘You must like Michael McIntyre or Micky Flanagan’, but that’s not really me at all. People say ‘You must want to go to play the Apollo’, but that’s not really what I am aiming for. I would love to be on TV, but I would love to have my own sitcom, and I would like to take my character on tour.
“Eric Meat is a northern, retired teacher from Humberside, very naïve, very innocent, very happy-go-lucky. In the last show, he fell in love with a girl and got the courage to talk to her.”
Things move on in the latest show…
Eric Meat was a tiny throwaway character in a play written by a friend, but Ali fell in love with the name and asked if he could have it: “I then built up the character. I have got a jacket. I put it on and I am Eric Meat.
“Last year was the first time I did character comedy, and when I put the jacket on, it is great to explore the character. I come up with loads of ideas.
“I put the jacket on, go on stage and try them out…”
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