Ian Rankin takes on comedy

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IAN RANKIN has stepped out of his comfort zone to try his hand at stand up comedy.

The Rebus author was persuaded to take part in a comedy show as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The crime writer will feature in a 12 minute slot on “The Speakeasy” – which will be aired by BBC Radio 4 on Sunday.

Funny man Ian Rankin
Funny man Ian Rankin

Producer Richard Melvin convinced the Scot to appear alongside established comedians and reassured him that there was only one rule – to be funny.

The temporary career transition follows Rankin’s hugely successful appearances at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, where he enthralled small audiences with witty tales of his life.

Rankin said: “The first time you do anything in public is nerve-wracking. And I know enough comedians to know that they sweat blood to get a ten minute routine perfected.

“So no pressure going out in front of a comedy audience and telling them a couple of stories.

“No pressure at all.”

But this is not the first time Rankin has tried his hand at an alternative career path.

The Rebus writer teamed up with the Charlatans frontman, Tim Burgess, to produce a spoken-word single set to music in November 2012.

But Mr Melvin, director of Dabster Productions said that Rankin rose the recent challenge “fantastically”.

Melvin said: “I got Ian Rankin to try a bit of comedy on The Speakeasy, which begins on Radio 4 this Sunday after becoming one of the most popular regular nights at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

“We gave Ian 12 minutes on a show with established stand ups Jo Caulfied, Richard Herring and Janey Godley, and told him the only rule was that he had to be funny.

“He was quite apprehensive about it, but he rose to the challenge fantastically,” he added.

And while Richard claims the crime king kept his cool, the author himself admitted he may still be recovering from his foray onto the stage.

Rankin joked: “And I’d like to thank my therapist for helping me write this.”

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