By the time you read this, 28-year-old Portuguese comedian André de Freitas will be in Scotland, embarking on a grueling 26-night schedule at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Edinburgh festival is renowned for discovering new talent, making it a significant month for André, who has already put in the hard yards to reach this stage.
During his time in Edinburgh, André will be performing an hour-long show each night, and he tells us that he is the first Portuguese comedian to make such an undertaking.
Last week, we had the opportunity to meet André as he was about to perform a preview of his Edinburgh show at a packed cafe in Lisbon – Selva on Rua Luis de Camoes – a place for emerging comedians to test their material.
Outside the cafe, we presented André with a bottle of beer to help him relax pre show. He playfully began peeling off the label on the beer bottle, quipping, “If you get seen on camera with this stuff, you become an ambassador. And I won’t do anything for free anymore.”
When asked about his feelings regarding the upcoming month, André shared, “Well, it’s taken me 7 years to get to this point. I am scared, excited, and terrified”, all with his trademark smile. One can sense his sincerity behind the smile.
André acknowledged that while nothing is make or break, there is a certain level of fear surrounding the show, as he has never worked so hard on a performance before.
In preparation for the month ahead, André decided to get two new tattoos, which made him slightly late for our meeting. He humorously remarked, “Yes, I was late because I was getting tattoos. How rock’n’roll of me.”
André revealed his new tattoos, showing us one on his thigh that says “Expect Nothing, Appreciate Everything” and another on his bicep reading “Ego is the Enemy.”
When we playfully pointed out André’s seemingly big ego, he responded, “Do you think I have a big ego? Do you think I have the biggest ego?” But he quickly added, “I don’t want my ego to become so big that it hinders me.”
André admitted that recently, he has been supported by many people, and he feels a responsibility not to disappoint them. It is a source of fear for him, as he wants to ensure that those who believe in him do not regret their trust.
We inquired about what he expects in Edinburgh, and he shared, “There are about 3000 shows happening. You might not get noticed at all. It is a lot of competition.”
The fact that André’s performance at the Fringe is a significant achievement suggests that the Portuguese comedy scene has made progress in recent years. However, André seemed cautious before responding, explaining that he focuses more on making it big abroad and, as a result, travels extensively.
That really is not a joke, the past year has been intense for André de Freitas, along with noteworthy support slots, including opening for established international comedians, he also toured all over Europe as-well as spending two months touring Australia, where he won the Best International Act at the Comics Lounge.
We asked was he tired of the travel? “It’s the life I’ve chosen for myself. I expect I’ll always be traveling. I’d just like to travel better. I’ve had enough of the 6am easyjets and the Air BnBs in the middle of nowhere.”
And with that André takes the stage. We observe his hour-long show, which captivates the international audience from the beginning. It is evident that he has put a huge effort into crafting the show, as it unfolds as a compelling story, reflecting André’s journey to this point. His humor and interaction with the audience bring about hearty laughter, especially when one audience member shares their favorite activity in Amsterdam – visiting the torture museum. “This is what we call in the business, a gold mine.”
After the show, André retreats to a private room upstairs to decompress and evaluate his performance. He needs to take his shirt off, as the the cafe had become hot and sticky, like a sweaty gym. Those close to him enthusiastically praise his show, calling him a “rockstar” and commending its pristine quality. André seems unsure. One can’t imagine any amount of compliments would put his mind at ease. “Well this is as close as it’s going to be,” he says glumly.
It’s the life of a comedian.
André de Freitas will be performing at Pleasance Bunker 2, Edinburgh, August 2nd – 27th.
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