Ian Lockwood is a musical comedian and pop musician based in Brooklyn. A mainstay of the Brooklyn scene, he is an alumni of alumni of NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing, Second City’s Comedy Studies, UCB, and The Annoyance Theatre NY. He has recently released his second EP of comedy pop songs, Not Like Other Girls. His debut Fringe show ‘The Farewell Tour’ is full of songs in the same style. We spoke to Ian about the show, his career to date, and his comedy heroes. 

Can you tell us about ‘The Farewell Tour?’

‘The Farewell Tour’ is a comedy concert experience in which I kill myself at the end. No, really! You see, I’m the biggest pop star in the world, but I have nothing left to accomplish, so it’s time to go out with a bang! (Or maybe I’m ending it all because of the price of fame and my real-life experience with the pain of abandonment).

The show is a full concert experience a la The Eras Tour and features 10 amazing comedy pop songs, a hilarious and touching narrative, digital back up dancers, costume changes, a bubble machine, a flute, ribbon wands, high heels, and even a few hats!

For those unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your comedy style and approach to performance?

My comedy style is absurdist and surprising, and a bit relatable to all of our worst impulses. In all of my songs and jokes, there’s a twist about two thirds in. A song about longing for a merman becomes a song about finding out your merman crush is racist to dolphins. A song about lusting after someone’s dad becomes a song about imprisoning their mother. A song about an AI best friend becomes a song about a tortured digital consciousness kept alive against its will for millennia. I feel like my audiences are usually really smart and great listeners, and they love to be hit with layer upon layer upon layer.

My approach to performance is focused on entertainment. My worst nightmare is boring people, so you can expect my shows to be fast, high energy, and leave you wanting more. Then, like a catchy song with sad lyrics, I slip in an emotionally affecting story without anyone noticing until the very end. And while I like keeping things loose, I really like to honour and delight my audiences with elements that take a huge amount of rehearsal. In fact, I took dance classes for a year to be able to do this show at the level I wanted!

Do you have ‘greatest hits’ that you keep as a constant part of your repertoire, or do you like to have all new songs for a tour?

You’re catching me at an interesting point in my career, in that this is kind of the culmination of my first body of work! I’ve been doing comedy for 10 years and musical comedy for five, and I’m at the point where I feel I have 12 amazing songs that could make up a fantastic album (and of course, plenty of retired stinkers created along the way). I haven’t actually announced this anywhere so consider this an exclusive: I’m probably going to retire all of these songs once I end this show and start fresh!

‘The Farewell Tour’ is your debut Edinburgh show. What are your hopes and expectations for the month?

I just really want people to see the show! It makes me happier than anything when someone has a good time at one of my shows, and the Fringe is an amazing opportunity to do that for a large group of people who otherwise wouldn’t get to see me.

Who are your heroes, the people who inspired you to get into comedy and music?

I was OBSESSED with Flight of the Conchords growing up, and it clearly directly influenced me! I also got to grow up with the NBC sitcom block (The Office, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, and a fourth show that never worked), and I would sit in front of the television every Thursday night thinking, ‘this is what I want to do’. Also, I grew up in Los Angeles, not far from The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, so I got to study and participate in that style of comedy from age 15 on, which was a blessing.

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

I cannot WAIT to see a bunch of amazing theatre and music, get inspired, and meet amazing people. I hear there’s somewhere I can surf too – is that crazy?

As for what I’m dreading? I just know a thick Scottish man is going to break my heart in two.

Beside ‘The Farewell Tour’, can we expect to see you performing elsewhere during August?

Absolutely! I’ll be picking up as many shows as I can, which I’m so looking forward to. My full show is great but my act also works perfectly in a 3-10 minute bite. You can catch me at ‘Fast Fringe‘ at 6:30pm on 2nd and 15th August, with more to be announced. I’ll also perform a bit on the street!

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

The loves of my life, the ‘Ladies Who Ranch‘, are doing improv at the Fringe for the first two weeks. They are amazing, you have to go. I’m also excited for the stand up/variety shows ‘Come To Mommy‘ and ‘DISCOunt‘, Jess Elgene’s ‘Less of a Man‘, and Will Morrison’s ‘Hi. I’m Will‘. OH! And I am so, so excited to see Catherine Cohen’s ‘Come for Me‘, I cannot wait to see what she’s made. Oh and obviously Zach Zucker’s ‘Stamptown‘, duh, it’s the most amazing show I’ve ever seen.

The Farewell Tour‘ is at Underbelly, George Square – The Wee Coo from Wed 31 Jul to Mon 26 Aug 2024 (except Mon 12)