Naomi doesn’t look like a girl who should be named after an item of stationary.
Were she to pass you in the street, you’d think the comedian, a healthy 6-footer (in shoes), would boasts an exotic European moniker - Naomi De’ Havilland, Naomi La Fontaine, Naomi van de Tulip.
Instead, it’s Naomi Hefter… or “Stapler” in German. It’s a handy opening for any turn, and one that the 30-year-old uses to the full.
'Stapler' in full flow
Stood at the bar of Soho House the night before her Edinburgh preview show, the comedian is clearly anxious. In less than week she’ll be starting her run at the Festival.
“I’ve been once before, but only to do odd gigs; this time I’m doing it properly,” she says, before passing me five neatly typed sheets of A4 paper, adding: "It's my script."
Yes – the pages were stapled.
I leaf through the work, while Naomi sips on her drink.
“It’s all memorised," she says, before rattling off her entire 30-minute set in a series of one-line memory-joggers.
I ask about “The burka joke”.
“I was at a fancy dress party last week,” she says, switching seamlessly into performance mode. “A guy came up to me and told me I looked like a right dirty slut…”
The punchline was strong… very strong.
Naomi is featured in a photo shoot in next month's Loaded
I ask about heckles. "I've had plenty," she says. "I can deal with most... there was only one that really got to me."
"I was playing Up The Creek in Greenwich and there was a group of women in the audience who were determined to shout me down. After I told a joke, which went down well with everyone in the room except this group, one of them shouted: 'They're only laughing because they want to f*ck you'."
Naomi left the stage and didn't perform for another month. "That really played on my mind," she says, "I really questioned whether I wanted to do this."
Fortunately, she came out of the other side and two years later is booked to play a two-week run alongside her comedic partner, ‘Povs’.
Called “Povs + Hefter Uncensored”, the unoriginality in the title is more than made up for by some clever marketing; the show’s flyers feature both ladies wearing… pretty much nothing.
"When you’re competing against thousands of other comedians handing out literature on the streets of the Grassmarket, a bit of flesh can be a very useful tool," she says.
Not that the show is dependent on a couple of pretty faces. Hefter delivers line after punchy line, with her distinct Cheltenham lilt, allied to a physicality that borders on slapstick at times.
VIDEO: Scroll down to watch a clip of Naomi's preview show
For a woman who could make a living as a model – she has a double-page photo shoot in Loaded next month – the comedian is not precious about making herself look less than glamorous. If a laugh means stretching her face, contorting her frame or just sending herself up, she’s there.
“I’ve been gigging for about four years,” she says, recalling the familiar beat of pubs, clubs and venues around the capital.
“Some gigs are paid. Some are not. I work as a receptionist in the West End. I get fired from a lot of jobs.”
She tells me a story about being sacked for “waxing” at her desk at a previous job. I’m not sure I believe her but then again…
We turn to Edinburgh and her hopes.
“I just want to improve as a performer. I’m determined this career… being a comedian will work for me. I originally wanted to be a Bond Girl, but that can wait.”
Catch Povs and Hefter Uncensored at The Free Horses until the 16th August, every night at 8pm.
WARNING: Video contains strong language
More:Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Edinburgh Fringe 2012 Edinburgh Festival Comedy Edinburgh Festival 2012 Naomi Hefter Edinburgh
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