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Q&A: Fringe storyteller Martin Dockery on Delirium and a new podcast

By Greggory Clark on June 13, 2017

Martin Dockery. Photo by Bill Kennedy.

Martin Dockery. Photo by Bill Kennedy.

Apt613: Describe your show Delirium in only five words.

Martin Dockery: Funny, real, heart-wrenching, romantic, intense.

For those of us now intrigued…

It’s about love, death, butterflies, and the meaning of life. In other words, it’s about everything. If you like everything, you’ll like the show.

What are you addicted to?

Well, if addiction is defined as a habitual pastime that negatively impacts your ability to maintain a steady job, and disrupts relationships with friends and family at home, then I’d say that fringe is my addiction. I’m on the road to fringes 6 to 7 months a year, and it’s likely an intervention is in the works.

For how long have you been touring? When’s the last time you took a summer off? I’ve seen you perform *at least* five years in a row at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. By all appearances, you tour all year, write a new show, tour all year, write a new show…

Oh man, this is the thing, isn’t it. I live in Brooklyn, NY, but really, do I? I’m no longer there when the weather’s nice. Not since 2008. Fringe is fantastic, but all the festivals happen when the climate is glorious, leaving the winter for being back home. My relationship with New York is one of ice, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures, all colored in nothing but gray tones. I have a deck, not that I’ve ever been on it. I can see it outside my window, though, and I imagine it must be nice to sit out there when the trees are green. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s terrible out there, no matter what time of year. I’ll never know. I didn’t realize that when I started doing the fringe, I was divorcing New York City in the summer


“It’s about love, death, butterflies, and the meaning of life. In other words, it’s about everything. If you like everything, you’ll like the show.”


If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I’d work on this podcast that I’ve been creating all winter, but haven’t had the time yet to complete.

That’s huge! What’s the podcast about? Are there other voices? Or are you doing it solo? Do you have a name for it?

Well, here you go, then, you’ll be the first person I’ll be saying the name to, besides [my partner] Vanessa:

The Curious Culture of the Human Beast

It’s a 10-part fictional story about a man who’s obsessively trying to make the perfect podcast. A task made all the more difficult by the distractions of romance, time travel, and the growing suspicion that no one is listening to his podcast.

It’s just me on the podcast, and I’ll release it in the fall once I get home, probably in October. I’ve never made a podcast before. Nor do I know much about podcasts. Much like the character in the story. But I’m going to try to make one that’s perfect. Or at least one that has the word “perfect” in the podcast description.

exclusionzonewithmartindockery4credit_khphotographicsDo you even write your solo shows? Is the text on paper or a computer somewhere?

I don’t write them. Not even an outline. I create them all orally, telling the show to myself out loud in a process that may well be unsettling for my neighbours. No joke, I’ve told them that if they hear me seemingly in a loud argument with myself, I’m just working on creating a show. But I’m afraid this may sound like I’m trying to excuse insanity.

I heard you never swear, which quite frankly is remarkable for a top-selling comedian at the Fringe. If this is true… When did you stop? Did you ever really start?

I don’t! I made a promise to myself when I was quite small. And I told my future self to not belittle who I was at that time. And so, you know, I guess I’m stuck with that. On the one hand, I think it means I have to be more creative on stage in expressing anger and frustration. On the other, in real life, it means I’m pretty useless in getting angry at people in public. What comes out of my mouth always sounds ridiculous. Imagine you’ve just sworn at me and I yell something back like “What planet are you from???” It just makes an adversary wonder what might be wrong with you.

What types of audience reactions or post-show conversations are you hoping to get after Delirium?

Lets talk about life & death, and the brief span we have on Earth to make a connection!

Dockery will next perform at the Ottawa Fringe Festival on Wednesday June 14, 2017. His show Delirium plays every night until Saturday June 18 at Live! On Elgin (220 Elgin St). Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit for the show schedule and box office info.