An Interview with Nick Revell

Nick-Revell-008.jpgHi Nick, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m a Londoner; born there, live there, but was brought up in Yorkshire. So, a cockney with strong Northern roots. Go figure.

When did you first realise you were something of a comedic storyteller?
When you move from London to Yorkshire at the age of seven, being able to get a laugh is very useful. Equally, setting out to be funny in that situation and then failing can be…less useful. So you have to get the techniques down fast.

You’ve been writing comedy now the the best part of four decades. Has the public’s sense of humour changed in that time
As far as live comedy is concerned, I think you still find pretty consistently distinct and different senses of humour in different parts of the country. As far as what’s on TV, radio and other media platforms, I think it’s clear styles and genres go in and out of fashion. PeopIe have way more access to more varied content so they’re probably more open to different and experimental forms than they were. On the other hand, once you scratch beneath the surface, how different is any of it in essence…so the answer is…”yes, no, possibly, of course”….I could go on like this for ages and it wouldn’t become any more lucid.  All you can say for certain is that you never know if something’s funny until you’ve run it in front of an audience. Which is great, because that perpetual self-doubt generates a constant low-level panic and stress which in turn cause a constant propensity for alcohol, tobacco and substance-abuse or neurotic behavioural alternatives which can surely only be good for your health.

Who are your comedy idols?
Ooh….so difficult: Laurel and Hardy. Lenny Bruce. The current White House. Billy Connolly. Victoria Wood. Francois Rabelais. Alexei Sayle. The Pythons. Evelyn Waugh. Richard Pryor. Dario Fo…No doubt I will think of more the minute I send this to you.

You brought ‘Gluten Free Jesus’ to last years Fringe – how did it go down?
I was very happy. A lot of people came to see it, and I got great feedback (including a very nice review from Mumble!). A lot of comedians said very kind things about it. Having an enthusiastic reaction from your colleagues and comrades is of course, particularly pleasing. I also felt I was breaking new ground. Getting outside a comfort zone is always laudable. But only if it works.

NR-A3-Ed-poster (4)

This year you are bringing us ‘Nick Revell vs Lily, Evil Cat Queen of Earth Planet and the Laughing Fridge.’ Can you tell us about it?
It’s in a similar style to last year’s show – a surreal and structured story which runs for the full hour. And audiences seem to be enjoying it. There’s plenty of jokes, but I don’t do any audience interaction, and very little improvisation. It’s about Artificial Intelligence and robots taking over and specifically about how I saved us from my cat becoming a ruthless global dictator. Entirely true, of course, but the events I describe were so traumatic that most of us seem to have wiped them from our memory. (The plague of zombie rodents for example. You mention that to people now, it’s like it never happened.) There’s a satirical element, but it’s less head-on than in previous shows. And all the stronger for that. (I think.) I’m also very modest about my personal role as planetary saviour.

Upon which life-experiences do you draw that certain quirkiness of your comedy – or is it all from your imagination?
Well, in this case, as I say, it’s all true, and I just had to refer to the notes in my diary about the cat and its bid for world domination. But usually, my writing process is a combination of following world news, taking incidents from my own life and then crushing them up together into some kind of…er crushed-up–together-thing in the hope that enough people are frightened, annoyed and worried by the same issues to pay money to laugh at the way I see the world.

What does Nick Revell like to do when he’s not being funny?
Cooking, feeding friends, practicing martial arts, agonising about how come the stuff I just wrote isn’t funny.

How do you find performing at the mega-mash-up that is the Edinburgh Fringe?
I enjoy it. Or I wouldn’t keep coming back. It’s great to be doing the same show at the same time every day for a month. The only time in the year when comedians have a set daily routine. I really enjoy that. I find the Fringe particularly good now that I am free of the need to spend the entire month awake and behaving badly. I still do that occasionally, but it has become a choice, not a prison sentence.

What will Nick Revell be doing after the Fringe?
I’ll take a week or so off; maybe go to Italy, where some friends will be shooting a film and then it will be back to work. Gigging, writing. Next year’s show is going to be about some insects I met last week in the Scottish Highlands. Quite a lot of research to be done. And several of their languages to learn properly, obviously. What they told me is interesting, but I only got the broad gist.



3-27th Aug (15.35)

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