Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Richard Todd is back at the Fringe. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the fellow …
Hello Richard, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Richard: Seaham, a small coastal mining town in the North East of England, nothing to do, a betting shop next door to the post office – cash your giro, blow your giro. My school is now an old folks care home, so the opportunity to end where I began is available.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Richard: A lot of people laughed when I broke my leg in a school PE lesson: the shock brought out an unheralded reckless streak in my conversation. Great times.
How did you get into comedy performance?
Richard: Living in Glasgow, struck by a sudden malaise, I went to the doctors to get antidepressants; the only appointment I could get was five days away, I thought ‘I won’t make that’, and had heard the stand-up circuit was a bastion of mentally unstable individuals shrieking inanities, and the rest, as they say, is far too long an answer.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
Richard: I did not watch stand up-until I started performing, and tend to enjoy narrative driven character comedy like Joseph Morpurgo and Kieran Hodgson. I loved Breaking Gadd by Richard Gadd, the room was so small and the show so scuzzy and intense. Debut shows I will go see are Crizzards, Heidi Regan & Ross Smith.
Your style has been both admired & puzzled at? Just what kinda cocktail is it?
Richard: My friend described me as being like bad Christian Sermons; I mistook this for being the name of an American comedian, but now think he means an inept preacher with few converts.
I retreated from clubs and started from scratch, gradually the writing became more sincere and the performance genuine
Looking at your awards & stuff, you won second place at Leicester Square New Comedian 2011, won the Amused Moose Laugh-Off 2012, & were then short listed for The BBC New comedian award in 2012 & 2013 – four years after this you won the Shaftesbury Fringe Best Show 2017 & were selected as one of Chortle’s ‘Ones to Watch 2018.’ So what exactly were you doing in those four unrewarded years?
Richard: I won a couple of awards very early on, doing 6 minute sets with all the material I had; had I been required to perform a minute longer I would not have placed (the next piece in my repertoire was wrestling with an audience member). But from these small successes I got given gigs I was not ready for. The set was wordy and surreal and inadequate in larger rooms. I died frequently, lost hope, wrote a litany of straight forward cock jokes, lost myself, continued dying… and then… a breakthrough: wordy, surreal, cock jokes. Then shame. I retreated from clubs and started from scratch, gradually the writing became more sincere and the performance genuine. The Shaftesbury award was nice, but take note, this is a festival where you can buy home grown courgettes at the box office.
What does Richard Todd like to do when he’s not being funny?
Richard: My legs tremble a lot.
Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
Richard: A lot of stress for one hour of stupidity.
You are bringing WE NEED THE EGGS to the Fringe this August, can you tell us about it?
Richard: The obsessive pursuit of absurd ideals in spite history and experience telling you they will end in failure. The perpetual resurrection of hope.
Finally Richard, what will you be doing after the Fringe?
Richard: Faking my death. Or paying off my debts. Whichever costs the least.
August 1-26 (22:45)