My Festival: Jordan Gray

The UK's premier transgender comedian, as seen on the tele, talks public toilets, getting robbed by a fellow comic, and getting naked on stage for the first time.

What are you doing at this year’s festival?

I’m taking an hour to Assembly Rooms, and guesting on a bunch of shows around the city. My own show is a big, silly, musical, nude, mad bit of fun. I’ll probably keep my clothes on for the guest spots. But you never know. I’ll also probably chase down (Scotsman reviewer) Kate Copstick for a cheeky bit of afternoon delight.

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What do you most want to see this year and why?

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I wanna see as many working-class comics as I can afford to (appropriately enough), since that’s where my allegiances lie.

What’s your favourite place in the city and why?

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I love the Christmas market that takes place in the shadow of Scott Monument during December. During Fringe in August, I s’pose my favourite place is whatever stage I’m on. Or the nearest, cleanest public toilet.

What do you remember about your first ever Edinburgh festival appearance?

Jordan Gray. PIC: Dylan Woodley.

My first year at Fringe was 2018 (2022 is only my second time). I played a blinder. My own show (Jordan Gray: People Change) was sparsely attended, but all the satellite appearances boosted my career massively. It was the first time I ever got nude on stage (Late N Live), and that’s been a fun thing to revisit and refine over the years.

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I remember going to see Tom Mayhew’s show about seven times – to watch how a show changes over the courses of a month. I also remember slipping on the wet cobblestone more times than I can count and effing up my bastard ankles.

What are the best and worst things that have happened to you in Edinburgh?

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I practically got to CLOSE Edinburgh Fringe in 2018, delivering the final official performance of the festival at Gilded Balloon’s Late N Live at something like 2am on the final night/morning of the festival. It was a banging rendition of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, with a live band, if you’re interested. Up there with my worst memories is “misplacing” an envelope full of cash payment after a show. I’m fairly sure another comic nicked it. And I get that we’re all starving artists but f*** me that was depressing.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

It’s finally time for me to admit… that I’m transgender. Just kidding. Not about being trans, just about that surprising anybody. I s’pose folks may be surprised to learn I’m completely blind in my left eye. So, if I ever become an MMA fighter, there’s your secret advantage. You can have that for free.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

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Worry. About everything. And have imaginary arguments with people in my head that I’m due to see that day. And if there’s nothing legitimate to worry about, I’ll make something up – just to keep a nice sporadic heart rate throughout the day.

And what’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

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Normally it would be an hour of Minecraft. But with my beloved Xbox back in Essex, I guess I’ll just be forced to wander the streets of Edinburgh avoiding creepers and navigating ridiculous amounts of cobblestone… oh wait…

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

Soda and lime for me please, because I’m just THAT much of f***ing BOSS. Your place will be fine.

Jordan Gray: Is It A Bird?, Assembly George Square, 10.25pm, until 28 August.