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Edinburgh Fringe Q&A: Micky Overman on trying to defeat imposter syndrome live on stage

© Matt CrockettMicky Overman
Micky Overman

Originally from the Netherlands, Micky Overman has been rising through the ranks of the UK comedy scene since moving to London.

She returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with her show Small Deaths, which aims to answer burning questions such as ‘how did one find a wife in ancient Babylon?’ It also reveals how a minor medical issue could result in heartbreak and an encounter with a witch.

Here, however, she answers our questions ahead of the festival kicking off next month…

How are you feeling ahead of the Fringe?

Cool, calm and collected (nervous, nauseated and neurotic)

What is your show all about, and what inspired it?

It’s about confidence! (The exclamation point is to make it seem like I feel confident about that.) It started as a show about a medical issue I had in my early twenties, but over the course of talking about it my self-esteem issues were starting to derail it in such a significant way that in the end they seeped through and became the main focus of the show. Which, to be fair, is a confident move on the part of my self-esteem issues.

What can audiences expect when coming along to see your show?

To see a real ‘no-worries-if-not woman’ in action. I’m trying to defeat imposter syndrome live on stage, to the point where I’m planning to come out of the end of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with full-blown arrogance. If that’s something you’d like to witness: please come see the show.

You’ve recently started hosting a new podcast, how much have you enjoyed doing that?

Oh my god! It’s literally the best. I host a podcast called Thank F*** For That with Sarah Keyworth. We invite guests to talk about moments in their lives where things could have turned out very differently and I love it so so much.

Already we’ve had some pretty amazing stories and Sarah is one of my favourite people in the world, so it’s nice to be have an excuse to hang out with her (and make her hang out with me, more importantly.)

Throughout the various lockdowns you put out material as sketches on social media – how useful a tool has it been for comedians, especially during the past couple of years?

It’s amazing – anyone can do comedy now, which is very cool. I don’t know if it’s the ideal medium for me as I am an over thinker and boy do I spend a lot more time on these videos than I maybe should. What I love though is it actually engages a different part of my brain and when live stand up came back I tried a lot of bits that didn’t work and I later realised were sketch ideas I was trying pull off as stand up. Which is fun in hindsight but was incredibly frustrating at the time.

What put you on the path to a career in comedy?

A lack of attention growing up? Middle child syndrome? A pathological need for validation? Self-esteem issues? A single-minded passion for comedy? Stupidity? I’m not sure, but if I had to guess it’s probably G: all of the above.

If you had to pick one item that’s essential for surviving a month at the Fringe, what would that be?


What are your favourite memories from the festival?

It’s really hard to pick because there are shows I’ve seen at the Festival which, years later, I still think about all the time. Sam Campbell’s The Trough or Mat Ewins Presents Adventureman 7: The Return of Adventureman (which I saw in the same room I’m playing this year, which is very exciting for me.)

But also, I’ve lived with the same group of comedians for years and it’s solidified our friendships in a massive way, which is maybe my favourite thing.

Is it bad I haven’t mentioned my own shows? I did one show where I was enjoying it so much, I didn’t pay attention, missed a step and fell off the stage.

The pain kicked my adrenaline into overdrive and I performed the rest of the show feeling extremely euphoric (I did go to hospital after because when the adrenaline wore off it just hurt a lot.)

What do you think it is about the Edinburgh Fringe that attracts people from all around the world to come to watch and also to perform?

It’s got such a cool reputation. It’s a place where audiences discover their favourite comedians that they would have never found out about through TV or other channels, because they are literally: on the fringes.

Of course there’s a huge commercial element to the Fringe as well, but you should ignore that and come see me instead.

If you were in charge of the Fringe, what changes would you make?

Bring back the app? Make it more accessible for people of all incomes? Have a chat with Edinburgh letting organisations and say: hey aren’t these prices bananas?

Not to beat a dead horse but what you need most for a Fringe festival is performers and audience and these are exactly the two categories that are being priced out of the Fringe. That’s not a funny answer, but it is true.

What is your favourite one-liner?

I love when a line perfectly sums up a character, like John Mulaney’s: “My vibe is like, hey you could probably pour soup in my lap and I’ll apologize to you.”

Or Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development: “I mean it’s one banana Michael. What could it cost, 10 dollars?”

Micky Overman: Small Deaths, Monkey Barrel Comedy (The Hive) Aug 1-14, 16-28,6:10pm