Abby Wambaugh is non-binary American comedian, writer, and improviser who lives in Copenhagen. Abby has appeared as tour support for Sofie Hagen, been shortlisted for the 2022 BBC New Comedy Awards and selected for the Pleasance Comedy Reserve 2023. Abby is bringing debut show ‘The First 3 Minutes of 17 Shows’ to the Fringe in August. We spoke to her about the show, the Copenhagen comedy scene, and having a frankly diarrhetic level of creativity.

Can you tell us about ‘The First 3 Minutes of 17 Shows?’

Well, ‘The First 3 Minutes of 17 Shows’ is pretty long for a show title, but it’s pretty short for a show description and it is doing BOTH. I had so many ideas for my debut hour that I decided to do them all! In it, I start a bunch of shows that I thought of doing and play with different kinds of comedy and explore the idea of beginnings, including how I started doing stand up at 34, after a late pregnancy loss. It’s a show where I have a really good time being goofy as hell and also get to say something true and beautiful.

For anyone who might be new to you as a performer, could you describe your approach to comedy?

I am also pretty new to me as a performer! And I’m finding my approach is open and playful, and then whenever I think, ‘I wish I could just say this, but you can’t say that,’ I try to say exactly that thing. I feel like someone let me loose on the comedy playground and I get to try everything, and my personal subject interests are a lot of just really goofy stuff and then sometimes  the questions, ‘How many parts of yourself can you show and have it be fun?’ and, ‘What’s the whole truth and can you tell it?’

You’re based in Copenhagen. How is the comedy scene in Denmark?

I was so lucky to start doing Comedy in Copenhagen. It is not a big English scene, but it is growing, so I could get spots and support right away, and if I have an idea I can try it.  Also learning here meant I got to learn stand-up in front of a very broad and international audience, which is a challenge because people have different references and language abilities. But it is a real gift to now know how to connect broadly when my tendency is to want to wade deeper into weird stuff AND to want everyone to feel invited along.  It’s so lucky for me to be at Fringe and included in all the wild comedy stuff happening in the UK and then get to come home to Denmark where there is not a barrage of stuff like that but like, people could be up for it maybe.

‘The First 3 Minutes of 17 Shows’ is your debut hour. What are your hopes and expectations for the month?

I have already learned so much about myself as a comedian by making this show- I can’t wait to find out more. I really thrive when I am inventing things, and I hope I get to a point with this show where I find more places to do that and play with what’s in the room. I think this month is going to tell me a lot about where I want to go next as an artist.

Beside ‘The First 3 Minutes of 17 Shows’, can we expect to see you performing elsewhere during August?

Sofie Hagen and I might do a live show of our podcast ‘Help Hole’ while we are in Edinburgh! Also  I love to do ‘ACMS‘ (Alternative Comedy Memorial Society) whenever I can, and do all the shows where I get to make up stuff with my friends or tell jokes with a giant lizard on my arm or something. What a weird place the Fringe is! I can’t wait.

Apart from your show, what else are you looking forward to (or even perhaps dreading) about the Fringe?

I loooove seeing other shows – I am so inspired at the Fringe!  I have a notebook with me all the time because I have ideas non-stop while I’m watching stuff and I can’t tell if any of them will be good. It’s like those times when you can’t trust yourself to fart unless you are over a toilet, but creatively (You can take this sentence out if it is too gross for your readers – I’m sorry!!).  I’m also a parent so I’m both really looking forward to not taking care of anybody but me for a month and I’m also dreading missing my family. In my daily life I often feel how much work being a parent is and how much they all count on me, but the Fringe is a time I can see how much I count on my family back.

You also host the ‘Help Hole’ podcast with Sofie Hagen. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Oh man, launching ‘Help Hole’ has been such a highlight of my 2024. Sofie Hagen is my co-host and also a terrific comedian and author.  We take turns reading self-help books and telling each other what we got out of them. Kind of like – we read them so you don’t have to, or at least so you know which ones to definitely read and which ones a podcast was enough. There’s always at least one great takeaway from a book. And we get to read them earnestly and also laugh about them a lot. It is so fun and has been really incredible for my life, and our listeners keep telling us that this podcast is actually helping them figure some stuff out which is so gratifying. I love places where I get to be really silly and really earnest and this podcast has it all.

Are there any other acts at the Fringe that you would recommend audiences see?

Oh gosh yes!! My incredible director, Lara Ricote has a show called ‘Little Tiny Wet Show (Baptism)’ that you should not miss. And you should see Josh Glanc whenever you can and you should see Flo and Joan’s ‘One-Man Musical‘.

The First 3 Minutes of 17 Shows‘ is at Pleasance Courtyard – Attic from Wed 31 Jul to Mon 26 Aug 2024 (except Mon 12)