A gifted comedian will be laughing at his life’s most challenging moments by sharing the funny side of everything from a dramatic near-death experience to his diagnosis of attention deficit disorder in a hilarious Edinburgh Fringe show.
Only recently diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), despite believing he has had it for most of his life, Phil Green, 42, believes comedy has helped him to manage his condition, which causes difficulty with concentration and focus.
Phil, a project manager and part-time comedian who lives in South London with his fiancée, said: “I’ve always sort of known that I had ADD, as I can be quite chaotic and disorganised, so it wasn’t a complete surprise.”
He added: “I have recently started using my own life experiences for my comedy shows and part of my Edinburgh Fringe show focuses around the fact that I have it.
“Focussing on comedy has really helped me to manage my condition.”
Falling into the world of laughter “by accident” after taking part in a comedy workshop with a friend in 2016, Phil took to it like a duck to water.
He said: “My friend had just gone through a break-up and he really wanted to do a comedy workshop, so I agreed to take part too to support him.
“I’d always been a big comedy fan and used to watch comedy shows on TV with my dad, so I was interested in learning more.
“The course took place over a few weeks and at the end of it, we all performed our first set in a showcase.”
And Phil admits that raising a laugh had him hooked.
He said: “My friend didn’t continue with comedy after the course ended, but it was something I thought about a lot.
“I was instantly in love with it. The endorphin rush after getting a good reaction from the crowd spurred me on to want to continue with it.”
He added: “I went travelling for a few months after the workshop and, while I was away, my ADD was less noticeable, because I was very focused on what we were doing, which is also how I’d felt while on the course.
“So, the following year in 2017, I started to pursue a career in comedy.
“Initially, I talked about conceptual stuff in my comedy sets – observations of society and things like that – but recently, I’ve started being more open about my own experiences.”
He added: “I find that it resonates more with the audience, as I talk about things they can relate to.”
And one of the topics Phil plans to discuss at his Edinburgh Fringe show this month is his diagnosis of ADD.
He said: “A chunk of my show discusses it and how it impacts me, although I’ve found that since being diagnosed, it affects me less.”
He added: “Just being able to put a label on it and recognise the reason behind certain things I do has helped and I’ve learned different coping methods too.
“Just understanding myself more and figuring out how to manage it has made it easier.”
Phil also believes that challenging his energy into something he is passionate about has helped him to stay focussed.
He said: “When you put your time and energy into something you really care about then your whole life becomes more structured.
“Structure was something I definitely struggle to manage due to having ADD, but focussing my attention on my comedy has really helped me.
“I love comedy and I want my shows to be good, so I’ve been able to put all my energy into it.”
He added: “It can be nerve-racking to be personal and honest with an audience about your life experiences, but it’s also been very rewarding.”
Another life story Phil shares in his show is his brush with death while travelling across South America in 2016.
He said: “I was in a hostel in southern Bolivia one night when I started getting stomach pains. I was in a lot of pain but we were in a really remote place and there was no hospital nearby, just one doctor, so I was carried to his house by two locals.”
He added: “It was 2am and they were banging on the door trying to wake him up, which took ages, and I remember he was so angry about it.
“He checked me over and told me that I needed to go to the hospital because I had an appendicitis.
“I was booked onto the first flight to La Paz which had the nearest hospital and had been recommended by the British Embassy. Once there they spent two hours carrying out more tests.”
Phil was informed that his appendix had ruptured, with fluid leaking into his stomach and he needed emergency surgery to remove it.
He said: “I then spent four days with a drain to remove the fluid from my body, it was a pretty hairy experience.
“My girlfriend and our friend had to help me carry my bags for a while as I was recovering, but luckily, I was able to carry on with the trip and made a full recovery.”
He added: “It was a scary night at the time, but it’s now become a funny anecdote I tell at my shows.
“In a way, comedy has become a way for me to share these experiences and see the funny side.
“What started out as an accidental fall into the comedy world while helping out a friend has turned into me discovering my dream job as a comedian.”
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