An Interview with Sully O’Sullivan


This Wednesday & Sunday, New Zealander Sully O Sullivan will be headlining the Monkey Barrel Comedy night in Edinburgh –  the Mumble managed to catch a few words with the fellow… 
Hi Sully, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, the head of Maui’s fish, otherwise known as Wellington, New Zealand, where am I right now? ‘The Dirty North’ (of England) not quite as poetic….

When did you first realise you were, well, funny?
I went to see a friend try stand-up at an open mic for the first time, then and there I decided if did the same I’d be better than at least three of the acts I had to sit through that night.
Who are your comedy idols?
I admire specific traits and skills of specific acts e.g. Bill Baileys ability to make jokes incorporating theological concepts accessible to anyone, Bill Burr’s ability to make seemingly unfunny subjects such as suicidal thoughts, frankly hilarious, Steve Hughes’ ability to look at an everyday concept we all already accept from a completely new angle, the list goes on.
Upon which life-experiences do you draw your own comedy?
I tend to look at the big picture, I never feel natural making jokes about mundane subjects such as self service checkouts, but oddly perfectly comfortable making jokes about racism, homophobia, religion, colonialism, the impending apocalypse etc
Do you find your set is constantly evolving, or are their periodic times of change
The answer is kind of both, but sometimes a new joke doesn’t appear for a while as it doesn’t yet fit with the others until another joke in the chain changes, giving the illusion that you’ve written a new set all at once.
What are the differences between the UK comedy scene & that of your native New Zealand?
When I left Wellington (the capital) for Auckland, Wellington had one gig once a week for the entire city, I know that for a fact as I was booking the gig. So the biggest difference in the comedy scene is the size of the scene itself.
What does Sully like to do when he’s not being funny?
Right now I’m training for a 3 legged marathon, that’s me tied to another bloke for the entire 26 miles for the British Red Cross. If you want, you can donate here:
You are soon to be headlining the Monkey Barrel in Edinburgh : have you done it before?
I’m frequently sneaking across the border. This time round I’m Closing in Hamilton on the Tuesday (May 16), Monkey Barrel on the Wednesday and Sunday, Yes Bar in Glasgow on the Friday & Saturday, and squeezing in Foxlake Outdoor Festival Sunday afternoon.
How do you find performing at the mega-mash-up that is the Edinburgh Fringe?
The Fringe is a behemoth, you can’t understand just how big it is without seeing it for yourself.
Will you be there this year?
I’ll be back performing with my comedy partner in crime Monkey Barrel’s resident compere Rick Molland as part of the Scottish Comedy Festival at the Beehive Inn.
At 16:00 we perform Freestyle Comedy, our improvised stand-up show.
At 17:45 we’ll be hitting the stage with ‘Another Political Comedy Show’
And then at 22:45 I’ll head up to the Gilded Balloon and strap on my own compering boots to host AAA Stand-up. It’s gonna be a long month!

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