"I left school at 16 and worked in a local supermarket stacking shelves. I loved every minute of it."
I only have time to see one show in Edinburgh. Why should I go to yours?
Only because you’re free between 3:35pm and 4:35pm and want to know why Tracey Emin’s unmade My Bed (1999) is worth £2 million when yours is not. And fancy a bit of a laugh, of course.
Now I think of it, I’ve got time to see two. What else should I definitely go to?
Normally, I’d say go see James Acaster, but he’s not performing this year (but he is talking at the Book Festival). Instead, head to the Fruitmarket Gallery (which also sells the tastiest Carrot Cake in the world) and book to go on their Night Walk For Edinburgh.
What are the best and worst things that have happened to you at the Edinburgh festival?
Best thing: I came to the Fringe as a complete rookie in 2009 with an uneven one-man show and was welcomed by wonderfully kind and generous audiences.
Worst thing. A ScotRail ticket inspector wanted to know why I wasn’t using my OAP card (I was 45 years-old at the time!)
Please describe where you’re living this month.
North Berwick, just down the coast from Edinburgh. It’s a magical place with its own far flung Fringe outpost. We holiday here every year for one simple reason: it’s fantastic.
What’s your favourite place in the city and why?
To look: Scottish National Gallery (excellent Bridget Riley show this year). To shop: Kinloch Anderson in Leith, a maker of superb kilts and Scottish dress, founded and run by my wife’s family 150 years ago and still going strong.
Who do you most like spending time with at the festival?
My audience! Both during the show and afterwards. It’s always a delight when people come up afterwards to chat about a favourite artist or to ask a question.
Where can I find you at 9am, 9pm and 2am?
9am: on the beach. 9pm: at a show, having dinner, or watching the footy. 2am: in the land of nod.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
I left school at 16 and worked in a local supermarket stacking shelves. I loved every minute of it. The chap who ran the shop was energetic, hard-working, and entrepreneurial. I learnt a huge amount from him.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Make the missus a cuppa.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?
Thank the missus for making me a cuppa.
Thanks for the interview! I’d like to buy you a drink. Where are we going and what are we drinking?
Ooh, thank you. I’ll have a Peroni please. Let’s meet at the Underbelly bar in Bristo Square.
Will Gompertz: Double Art History - The Sequel is at the Underbelly - Bristo Square until 25 August