My Festival: Jack Docherty

​The Edinburgh-born actor and writer on weighing David Bowie, a fascination for pot plants, and his origins in an iconic city bar

There are thousands of shows in Edinburgh this month. Please explain why we should come and see yours.

Well if you don’t come you won’t be able to see it.

What will we learn from your show that we didn’t know before?

Jack Docherty PIC: Alan PeeblesJack Docherty PIC: Alan Peebles
Jack Docherty PIC: Alan Peebles
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David Bowie weighed the same at 60 as he did at 18. I don’t.

Who or what was the biggest inspiration for your show?

My teenage friends and the Edinburgh of my youth.

What’s the best review you’ve ever had, and the worst?

It’s weird, but sometimes you can’t live up to the best review. Moray Hunter and I once had one that said we were funnier than Morecambe and Wise, the Two Ronnies, Laurel and Hardy. Everyone! You can only imagine the disappointment in the crowd. Bad ones are always funnier, to be fair. My advice to young performers, though: you get good, you get bad, you can’t believe both so you have to believe neither. Just trust your instincts.

Who or what are you most excited about seeing this year?

Lara Ricote. We met at an Amsterdam festival last year and I loved her show. I can’t wait to see where her career takes her. Oh, and Mike Birbiglia. Stumbled over one of his shows about 15 years ago in NYC. Loved him ever since. He was a big inspiration for me to do solo shows for the first time.

Who do you most like spending time with in Edinburgh?

Because I’m from Edinburgh but don’t live here, it’s great to hook up with old friends. The third Saturday I have about 25 old mates coming and we’ll pick up where we left off last festival.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

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I love growing dahlias. That all that flower comes out of that little tuber. Every year, it blows my mind.

What are the best and worst things that have happened to you at a festival?

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The best is definitely stumbling upon the thing I love doing – writing and performing – at the Fringe. It was a happy accident. I see the question says “a” festival, not “the” festival, so worst is getting stuck in the mosh-pit at T in the Park for the Prodigy.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?

Wake up. Fall asleep.

Thanks for the interview! We’d like to buy you a drink. Where are we going and what are we drinking?

I think we’ll go to the Cafe Royale and we’ll just have a pint of 80 Shilling. (If they still do that.) I worked there one summer in the early 80s while also doing a show. It was brutal, but we got to take home all the leftover pies. My parents went to the restaurant there when they got engaged so I kind of owe my existence to the place.

Jack Docherty in David Bowie and Me : Parallel Lives, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 8.30pm, until 27 August