After a four year absence, Nathaniel Metcalfe is back at the Fringe!! The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether…
Hello Nathaniel, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Nathaniel: My family are from Cumbria, but I’ve been in London since I was three, so London I guess, but some London people still won’t let me claim London.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Nathaniel: I was never the class clown in school but the kid that was would often make jokes after I’d already thought of them. See I was even cowardly back then. When he’d get laughs I remember thinking I could have done that.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
Nathaniel: I’m inspired by anyone who’s ever made me laugh. I’m certainly endlessly inspired by comics like Harry Hill, James Acaster, Josie Long, Nick Helm and many, many more. Anyone who’s managing to produce work on their own terms that seems authentic to them but also accessible enough to find an audience that appreciates it too. That’s the dream.
How did you get into stand up?
Nathaniel: I did a comedy course because I had to be taught how to be funny.
You’ve had some dabblings with the radio, can you tell us about this?
Nathaniel: I was on James Acaster’s Radio 4 series playing a version of myself. It was a really great series which I don’t mind saying because James wrote it all. After I did my first solo show in Edinburgh I was invited on Fresh From the Fringe on Radio 4 Extra. It was nice to do some of my own stand up on the radio. I had a regular segment about old TV on Josh Widdicombe’s XFM Show. Whenever we get together we always end up talking about nineties television so I suppose I was a natural fit. I’m currently presenting a regular show about pop culture called Fan Club on FUBAR Radio with Nick Helm which is so much fun to do.
What does Nathaniel Metcalfe like to do when he’s not being funny as fuck?
Nathaniel: He’s probably watching a movie, although sometimes when he’s not being funny as fuck he’s still on stage but being slightly less funny as fuck, attempting to create a sense of light and shade.
On the last day of your last run at the Fringe in 2014 you broke up with your girlfriend. Is this the reason why you’ve been AWOL for four years?
Nathaniel: You’d have to watch the show.
Can you tell us about the show?
Nathaniel: Well, I start off right where I left off, talking about my 2014 show, but then it questions what it means to be an “artist”, taking inspiration from such famous figures as David Bowie and Jeremy Irons. It’s also way more silly and funny than it sounds.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Nathaniel: I can do it in a word: Relentless!
Can you describe your relationship with director, James Acaster?
Nathaniel: We started doing stand up about the same time, we always liked each others stuff, and we’ve been pals ever since. We did a three-hander at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 with Jake Moore. It was a tough month. The venue was far from central, we could rarely attract an audience and when we did it was tiny. His role as a director is like a super-smart audience member who understands jokes, knows exactly what I do well, and more importantly what I’m attempting to do.
How have you changed as a comedian in the past four years?
Nathaniel: I like to think I’ve gotten better but it’s difficult to say. I’d certainly say that this is my most personal show to date, which is a different string to my bow.
Are you excited to be back, has you & your comedy gone through some kind of cathartic cleansing?
Nathaniel: I certainly feel like I’m drawn back to the Fringe. I find it a very full-on month when I’m doing a show, but not a year’s gone by between 2015 and 2017 which I haven’t visited to see what everyone else is doing, so I must love in some ways.
What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Nathaniel: It looks like the FUBAR Radio show with Nick Helm will continue but the Fringe is my big focus right now and I haven’t thought much further ahead than that.