Joe Simmons & Lorraine Chase

Tell us about Edinburgh Tonight.
Lorraine: It’s a chat and preview format show with a difference … Joe and I will be chatting with people who are up in Edinburgh and giving them a chance to preview their shows at the festival.  The unique element is that every guest on the show gives away a pair of tickets to their next show (that night or the following daytime) so it’s a kind ‘try before you buy’
Joe: The show came about last year when our producer, Terry Finnegan and I had the idea of putting together a guest show with a difference that was fast-moving, and involved the audience. It’s a mix of artists from all over the Fringe and Edinburgh, the shows, the gossip and reviews with a chance for people to win tickets to the guests’ performances later that night or in the week – it rounds up a lot of what’s happening in town in a fun and fast way.

Edinburgh Tonight doesn’t just cover the Fringe does it?
Joe: No, the Fringe is obviously the biggest feature and we have some big guests lined up that will be familiar to a Festival goers, as well as some well-known friends of ours who have agreed to take the plunge and be interviewed, but we’ll also look at some of the people who make Edinburgh what it is. Last year we had a judo expert and Olympic medal hero, and this year we’ll have guests who are making special liqueurs and local fashion gurus to dress Lorraine, who is a model and will look fabulous anyway!
Lorraine: Edinburgh Tonight says what it is – basically anything that you can do, see, hear, experience in the city will be covered.

And it’s televised on the internet?
Lorraine: It’s being filmed live, and the full show will be uploaded onto the website, YouTube, and also be available in bars and venues around the city.
So how did you meet?
Lorraine: I was a guest on the show last year – I was in a play (a very dark piece written especially for me) called ‘an evening with Elsie Parsons’ and Terry, the Producer asked me to come on the show.  I had a lovely time, Joe was such a wonderful interviewer, he really relaxed me and was very kind and generous, and I felt looked after and respected  – so when Terry asked me to join Joe as a presenter, I jumped at the chance – although I was a bit nervous – and I hope that I will be able to add to the whole experience with my own style.
Joe: I was nervous as she was the first really big name that I’d interviewed in front of a live audience but we put each other at ease with jokes and mucking around. We had an amazing chemistry so our producer Terry invited her to co present with me this year. She said it’s something she’s always wanted to do but had never done. She’d been interviewed many times including twice by Michael Parkinson! Big shoes to fill. We’ve got an opening song and have been rehearsing at her place for a couple of weeks before coming up. We’re both very excited, but very different in our styles of interviewing. And the guest list for the show is eclectic enough to match both our tastes!

You’re working again with the notorious reviewer, Kate Copstick.
Joe: Copstick is back! Love her or hate her, she says exactly what she thinks, the glory and the muck are always right there in spades. Last year, I chaired an impromptu grilling of her style by one member of the audience who completely disagreed with her. You have to remember is it’s only one person’s view, but she’s influential and takes no prisoners, just as she is on her ITV show at the moment, and of course, the audience will be getting first impressions direct from her coming out of the show so the latest hot ticket before anything goes to print!
Lorraine: I’ve never met Kate, but I know of her, and am very much looking forward to working with her – I know she’s passionate about Comedy and about Edinburgh – and I have grown over the years to really love the city and the Festival too, so I definitely think we’ll have a lot in common!

And the wonderful Michael Topping.
Lorraine: What can I say about him? ‘Those eyebrows!’ he’s just wonderful.
Joe: I’ve worked with Tops for over 10 years and he’s a clever and very funny man. He wasn’t a fixture on the show last year, as we both had our own projects, which both worked great. This year we have him full-time, he’ll add another touch of camp sparkle to the show, and he’s going to be seeking out his own ‘recommendations’ so you could say we’ve  put him in the “ready-to-upstage-the-pair-of-you” position on the set.

Will ScotsGay favourites, Topping and Butch be making an appearance this Fringe?
Joe: Blimey! Well, the act is stronger than ever, we have new songs this year featuring newsy stuff like Rupert Murdoch’s troubles and even a song about the conflict in Libya (all camp fun of course), but Edinburgh Tonight is the focus. T&B will be flying around town. We’re at the Assembly Rooms cabaret ‘Best of the Fest’ on 18th and Priscilla’s bar on the 14th, we are also at Jongleurs Comedy Club on 12th and 13th and Jongleurs Glasgow the two weekends running after that, so we’ll be around, and we might even do a number on the ET show if there’s room one day.

What do you think about Edinburgh/Scotland?
Lorraine: I absolutely love Edinburgh, the Festival and the people.  They are so warm and welcoming and friendly.  I tell all my friends and people that I meet that they MUST come up to Edinburgh for the Festival as its just such a wonderful experience.
Joe: I like any city for its architecture, the people’s sense of humour and the quality of the alcohol – so Edinburgh scores extremely highly on every level. This is also the place that made it all happen for Tops and me which is why it’s fun to come back – when the Scottish audience is with you – it’s really just a lot of naughty fun. I’m looking forward to Lorraine getting a bit of that, and she’s single, so we have to find her a man.

Do you have any suggested solutions to the world economic crisis?
Joe: Not in the space an organ like ScotsGay has to fit it.

Name your dream guests – out of anyone on the planet.
Joe: This is the ‘how queer is he’ question isn’t it!!! Here are the odd ones of the top of my head: William Hague, Evan Davies (BBC Economic Correspondent), actor Rupert Everett, Matt Smith, Stanley Baxter, Robbie Williams, Sepp Blatter (FIFA), Sarah Palin & Philip Schofield (together).  I would adore to interview Posh, just because I think there’s a person inside really trying to get out I like it when the audience feels on a knife edge with every question!