Hi Nathan, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. I moved to London ten years ago and live in Hackney with my wife and two dogs. She’s Scottish and they’re Chinese. We go to Scotland a lot but not China.
Performance is clearly in your blood – when did you gain the first inkling of this?
My first memory of performing was in the early 80s when I would amuse myself and no-one else by recording comedy sketches onto cassette tapes. I would parody TV commercials and personalities, do silly characters. Sometimes I’d layer extra voices and sound effects by using an extra cassette deck, the kind of high-tech innovation that got us to the moon.
After a successful career on Australian TV, why branch into Comedy?
Your intriguing use of the word “successful” suggests I actually had a successful career on Australian TV. I had some excellent guest roles and got to play Pinhead on Neighbours for two years, but I don’t think my TV career ever really took off there. I was never made any offers, I still had to audition for hundreds of jobs I never got. But I was always doing comedy. I wrote, performed and directed university revue shows, and started out at Melbourne International Comedy Festival doing sketch comedy, all while maintaining my dynamic daily routine of waiting for my agent to call.
Who are your comedy idols?
The only act I’ve ever been properly fanatical about is the Doug Anthony Allstars. I grew up watching them on TV, went to their live shows, wore the T-shirt, bought all the merch, got interviewed by press at their Farewell Tour in 1996 and consequently reprimanded by my headmaster for bringing shame to the school for associating with such a subversive act. I always loved Flacco too, a really bizarre clown – his creator Paul Livingston is a linguistic gymnast. I can’t wait to see them all together in Edinburgh this year. I hope to bore at least one of them with my tale of how they inspired me to be an unemployed career comedian.
What does Nathan Lang like to do when he’s not being funny?
Oh that’s a lot of the time, even on stage. I have two companies – Jon & Nath (sketch) and Farce Forward (clown theatre) – and I run experimental comedy night Lost Cabaret, so there’s a lot of admin, which is not humorous. Before answering this question I got up and swept the floor, so I’m doing really well.
You’re still making TV & Films, where should we expect to be seeing you?
I just filmed a small part in The Favourite, a feature film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. I remember watching The Lobster and thinking how much I’d love to work with such a peculiar, visionary director… Suddenly I’d auditioned for him and was on his set. The Favourite stars Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, they are all brilliant, the film is going to be amazing, and you can see me in it next year if you watch very closely.
You are bringing The Stuntman to this year’s fringe… can you tell us about it?
The Stuntman is my first solo show, it’s so much fun and I just love doing it. Essentially it’s a clown piece – absurd, surreal, silly and interactive. There’s mime, but it’s not a silent show. It’s the story of a completely idiotic daredevil, told through physical comedy, games, actual stunts, and a few touching moments too. I decided to make it largely non-verbal so it’s accessible to everyone regardless of language.
What makes you laugh personally?
My dogs crack me up. They are good clowns. We adopted two rescues – Albert Fudge and Cherub Chow. They’ve learned to be cute and silly to get attention and treats, and they do some ridiculous things. If you’ve never seen two Shih Tzus playfight, put it on your list. My wife and I call it Dog TV because we don’t have a TV. (As far as TV Licensing is concerned, we never watch anything online either.)
Will you be performing the Stuntman after the Fringe?
Yes I hope so because my Edinburgh Fringe run is only short (eleven performances – I’m splitting the Fringe season with my sketch comedy show Jon & Nath Like To Party). It’s a high-energy show, very physically demanding, so I want to keep doing it before I become a middle-aged slob. I am open to booking offers from anyone but cruise ships.
Nathan Lang will be risking his life in the name of comedy at the Fringe
Aug 16-27 : Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters