Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Spain's best export, Ignacio Lopez, scrutinises his family tree and his immigrant upbringing in a relentlessly funny show about clashing cultures, legacies, and never fitting in. Ignacio contemplates if his ancestors would be proud of where he's ended up, performing an armada of sarcasm, silliness, and songs.
Hello Ignacio how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe and Gilded Balloon this year?
Not having been since 2019 for some weird reason, it feels good to return. Gilded Balloon is a venue I’ve wanted to play since my first time to the fringe in 2011, so after this I never need to go again. I’ll probably retire or become a private detective or something.
Any nerves ahead of the festival?
If anything it’s all on Edinburgh to deliver; I cancelled two cruise ship gigs and a holiday to go to Edinburgh this year, so it better be good, or I’m going to burn the place to the ground.
What does bringing El Cómico to the Fringe mean to you?
I genuinely can’t believe I get to do this for a living. I talk quite flippantly in my show about how my family all came from nothing, all from different countries, with different struggles, and this is the result; I get to go share my stupid jokes in another country to people from all over the world. I marvel at the absurdity. It means a lot.
What has been the best comment you’ve gotten from one of your shows?
I’ve usually get back handed compliments; people say things like “we had no idea Spanish people could be funny!” Or “you’re the funniest Spanish person we’ve seen”. Recently though, half way through my performance, a four year old sitting in the front asked “When does the show start?”.
If you could use one word that best describes your show what would it be and why?
I’d probably use the word “Genius”, so that when you publish this I can just put “‘Genius’ - The New Current” on any future posters.
What was the experience of supporting Jason Manford and John Bishop like?
Amazing to hang out with them and watch them work. Equal parts elevating and humbling. It made me feel like a part time rock star. Especially after I’d opened for Jason to an audience of 3000 in a theatre, then had to rush an hour away to play a bingo hall to 22 people.
Any show/performer you’re looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
"I had no idea that what I was doing was stand-up. I just remember everyone laughing along as I acted it all out."
Can you tell me how El Cómico came about, what was the biggest inspiration behind your new show?
I really wanted to write a show about my family, and how we’re all immigrants. My mother enjoys researching family trees, and finding out about that stuff, the facts are boring to me, but the stories that come out of that research are interesting to me. Half the show is anecdotes and silly jokes about my melting pot family, and the other half is my immigrant observations and one liners about UK culture.
Have you always had a passion for comedy and what are the biggest differences between Spanish and British comedy?
I never realised how important humour was to me until my family reminded me that as a child I’d get up and entertain everyone, often recounting jokes I didn’t understand, or acting out scenes from films. During a music festival my mother was volunteering at, between two bands, I went on stage, took the mic and just started telling everyone the story of my aunt’s dog stealing meat from our neighbour’s kitchen counter, I was maybe 7 years old. I had no idea that what I was doing was stand-up. I just remember everyone laughing along as I acted it all out. The sound tech came and (quite rightly) snatched the mic from me and banished me from the stage. People booed him, and I felt a mischievous power I’ve been indirectly chasing ever since.
Spanish comedy is much newer, there are way fewer clubs and comics but it’s growing quickly. Typically stand-up sets in Spain are called ‘monólogos’, and are mainly story based and observational. We’re playing catch up with the UK, but the stand-up is becoming more eclectic in Spain. Sense of humour wise, it’s the same globally. People find the same things funny, just sometimes framed a slightly different way. You never get two audiences the same anywhere, even in a small town in the UK.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone wanting to get into stand-up?
Write way more than you need. Get as much stage time as possible, to as many different audiences as you can. Travel loads. Watch as many professional shows as you can. Stick around and make friends at the shows you play. Enjoy every second of it, even the deaths. Work hard and become invincible.
If you’re up this Fringe, come say hi, jump on as many compilation shows as you can, buy tickets to watch Lily Phillips, Emanuel Sonubi, Esther Manito, Garrett Millerick. Take a chance on some free shows too; Daniel Muggleton, Steffan Alun, Dani Johns, Jessie Nixon, Rahul Kohli, Josh Elton, Julia Stenton are all doing stuff, go check them out.
And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from El Cómico?
Merchandise. T-Shirts are £15.