Yianni Agisilaou: Numb and Number
You're doing two shows as part of the Free Fringe this year. Firstly what's 'Numb and Number' all about?
I love numbers, I have my whole life. Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with high functioning autism at age 33 and 4 months (that's 100 over 3 years old, not that I noticed or anything) which has really helped me to understand why! In the show I count down from 10 to 1, each number has a theme that relates to both the number and to me. It's accessible geekery.
How, if at all, does being diagnosed with autism affect life as a stand-up?
It makes me much more BBC friendly! But seriously, it doesn't affect gigs. As long as you can get on stage and make people fall about laughing, no-one cares if you've been diagnosed with autism, thrush or bad taste in sweaters. Sometimes it really helps though. Autistic people are kings of saying the unsayable, an issue I touched upon in the the Beijing tour of my last show 'Tiananmen Square: The Musical'.
Tell us a bit about your second show, 'Tribute'.
It's a new format that I've come up with and we at A Grade Nonsense are very excited to see how it goes. We have three guests, each one chooses a famous comedian who has inspired them, and does a ten minute 'Tribute' set that reflects that influence. The audience then tries to guess who it might be. Once we've guessed, I interview the comedian about why they love that comic so much. It's something new and different, and should be a lot of fun. Two Monday nights only, 13th and 20th August.
Can you give us a clue as to who your special guests might be?
Without giving too much away, comedians who've expressed interest include Trevor Lock, Diane Spencer, Tony Law, Helen Arney, Liam Mullone, Celia Pacquola and James Dowdeswell. Doing tribute sets from comedians as varied as Kenny Everitt and John Cooper Clarke!
What is it that makes being involved in the Free Fringe so appealing?
It's all the same things that make being involved in the Fringe so appealing (creative expression, camaraderie, summer rain) minus the debilitating expenditures. I think the Free Fringe embodies the true original spirit of the Fringe. Plus making a show free makes it easier to get punters to take a chance on something they might not yet know about. I'm not well known (or mercenary) enough to sell out work in progress gigs at £31 a pop!
What are some of the most interesting responses you've had from audiences in the past?
Well... I did this joke about the Earth orbiting the Sun at a gig in 1616 and I got chased out of Rome... But seriously, the most interesting response I've had from an audience member was "I'm your cousin". And he was, I hadn't seen him for almost 20 years. We're best mates now. He's a fantastic sound engineer and as well as teching my show, he's recording it in binaural 3D sound!
Who else are you hoping to catch at the Fringe?
Oh God, how long have you got?
Wil Hodgson (Free), Mark Stephenson (Free), Sound and Fury (Free), Phill Jupitus (Free!!!), Christian Reilly (Free), Bobby Carroll (Free), Ben Crellin (Free), Nick Doody (Free), Thom Tuck's 2011 Show (Free), Celia Pacquola, The Vocal Orchestra, Liam Mullone, Noise Next Door, Boy with Tape on his Face, Adam Hills, Kitson, Taylor Glenn, Marcel Lucont, Helen Keen and the Blues Brothers and Rat Pack musicals.