Comedy at the Fringe: Dave Fulton
Instead of freaking out about the Fringe, Dave Fulton is concentrating on the short movie he’s just directed. His friends Omid Djalili and Michael Smiley star and Fulton wrote the script. “It’s about a robbery at a 24-hour petrol station,” he says. “I wanted to play against types so Michael is the guy behind the counter and Omid is robbing it. They’re amazing to work with. They just blazed it, man.”
Well, that’s all very well and good, but why isn’t he consumed by pre-Fringe panic like every other comedian in the world? “I’m looking forward to doing my show,” he says calmly, “but when you’ve been around as long as I have, you realise that a shitty Edinburgh is not going to end your career.” Although he is courting the media in Edinburgh, and promises that anyone reviewing him will get a free hat. It will have HEY FUCKER emblazoned across it, but Fulton promises that’s not meant in a mean way. “I call everyone fucker. It’s like the way you might say ‘hey mate’.”
Fulton is the kind of American comic we love in Britain, with a filthy mouth and a belly full of fire. Originally from Idaho, he’s a long-standing regular on the British club circuit and makes odd appearances on things like Never Mind The Buzzcocks, although he’s ambivalent about the British panel show phenomenon. “I auditioned for Mock The Week a long, long time ago,” he says. “I went in and everybody had their scripts and pre-written jokes, and I’m like ‘Come on man, let’s work off the cuff here. It’s just an audition, let’s fuck around a little’. They didn’t pick me.”
It’s typical of a guy who’s not as desperate to climb the mountain of comedy success as other acts. He’s in no hurry to go on a big solo tour, instead preferring to ride his chopper around Britain to play at clubs. “There’s a real camaraderie when you work the clubs,” he says, “I don’t think a lot of comics who are quick to get on tour are experiencing that.”
This laidback attitude recently got him into trouble with Fosters, one of the biggest sponsors in British comedy. “I was playing a gig for them in Fulham and I asked for a bottle of Fosters to take on stage. They only had it in pints and I don’t drink pints at gigs, so I went on stage with a bottle of Heineken and said, ‘I’m drinking this because I don’t suck corporate cock’.”
It was a gag (Heineken owns Fosters) but the sponsors didn’t see the funny side and have said they won’t use him again. “People said to me afterwards, ‘why didn’t you use some common sense?’ and I’m like, ‘When did common sense become a part of comedy?’ Lenny Bruce must have done a quick quarter-turn in his grave at that. I tell people at my show that the only dick I’m going to suck is my own, and I can’t reach.”
Most of Fulton’s show will be stories about his life, and it’s been quite a life. Almost dying in an avalanche last year; a spell as a drug dealer; being charged on suspicion of terrorism; you start to see why he doesn’t stress about the little things.
“I’m an old-school comic, you know? I’m not going to come up there with animations or short films about my exploits, I just tell my stories and chat with the audience. I’m on really late after some great comedians, so hopefully some of the audience members will pass out and still be there for my show.”
And will he still be allowing the sale of Fosters at his gig?
“Actually, I like the beer. That’s something I guess. At least I didn’t say their beer was shit.”