Life is funny, so they say, but Gary Meikle is taking it the next level & turning his own life into comedy gold. The Mumble managed a wee blether with the fella…
Hello Gary, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Gary: To us locals we call it G-Town but on the map geographically it’s Glasgow. Bar a 5 year period when I lived in Crystal Palace I was born and bred here, I don’t think there’s a pocket of Glasgow I’ve not lived in
When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Gary: Well, I use to be a debt collector but at 5’8 and the fact that I smile too much they wouldn’t let me out the office so, I was desk bound and joined the social committee. It was my responsibility to send out emails to the bulletin board and make staff aware of events and general stats; pretty quickly I started making these funny by cracking inhouse jokes and just generally goofing around which brought a lot of praise from my peers so this is deffo where I caught the bug.
Which comedians inspire you, both old skool and on the scene today?
Gary: Old school = The Big Yin, Lee Evans, Tommy Cooper. On the scene today = there really are too many to chose from, the comedy circuit is thriving with amazing acts that all bring something different, it’s a shame that the vast majority wont get the exposure they deserve as they don’t tick boxes or look the right way. However, I think social media has already started changing this so the future looks rosy indeed.
How did you get into stand up?
Gary: After being sat at the same desk with the same computer for 7 years I finally discovered that I had microsoft word. When I mentioned this to my colleagues they replied “Gary we’ve all got and you’ve always had it” This lays testament to how much of a technophobe I am. I then just started doodling between calls, one page of jokes lead to ten. I then googled open mics for stand up and the rests history so to speak.
You’ve brought up a daughter alone since the tender age of 17, & in true Glaswegian style you’ve become a papa before turning 40. Are the bairns as funny as their dad/papa?
Gary: On stage I’m funny, in real life I’m more daft than funny but my girls are genuinely hilarious and the source of all my material. There’s something to be said about having 3 generations all under the one roof it just works and my house is full of non stop laughter more often than not being led by the other 2. So yes, they’re funnier!
A film about bringing up your daughter went viral, can you tell us about the experience?
Gary: Ha, it was very surreal, I’d received a call from a young lad who claimed to be from the BBC who quickly suggested I talk to them about how I dealt with my daughter’s 1st period. His lack of confidence didnt convince me so I told him to f*** off and hung up. A few minutes later I was called back this time by a female who apologised for her colleague’s lack of experience and explained in more detail why they’d like to chat to me about this subject. The next week they’d flown out to interview me at home and the results are there for all to see. Its crazy how quickly it went viral though, my social media took a beating and I had to change my fb name to prevent all the friend requests. I still get recognised from it which is nice but again very surreal.
You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Gary: Cosby, Glitter and Fritzl, starter = prawn cocktail laced with rat poison! main = meatballs injected with cyanide & if they make it to desert = chocolate fudge cake sprinkled with my particles of my own shit!
What does like Gary Meikle to do when he’s not being funny?
Gary: I’m not a huge football fan but I love playing it, I organise 7 asides for the comedians of Glasgow every week and its without doubt my favorite past-time. I also befriend/support a young lad in the community once a week which I’ll never give up regardless of how far comedy takes me. Bar that comedy consumes me & I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’re bringing your debut solo show to this year’s Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Gary: It’s called ‘Before All This’ which pretty much allows me to talk about my life story, which is exactly what it is from my early days moving from country to country to being taken into childrens homes, to then becoming a young single father all the up to now becoming a papa whilst still in my 30’s and all the madness that ensued around it. To most, my life story is crazy and I’ve been through a lot more than most. However, when you’re living it, it doesn’t feel that way, it’s just normality to you! I think I’ve an interesting story to tell and I hope that everyone enjoys it for what it is.
Can you give us a hint of the topics and themes covered by the show?
Gary: Haha yeah, I’m known for my editing on stage, there’s no fodder in my show its bang bang bang all the way with over 20 different real stories I get to the punches pretty quickly but topics you can expect to hear me rant about are, living up to stereotypes, moving and changing accent a lot, a pervy uncle, dyslexia, how Maggie Thatcher became my mum, homelessness, house parties with a bang, young fatherhood, awkward tattoos, thongs, eyebrows, daft questions, a phonecall from the police no father wants, how to deal with your daughter’s boyfriends & much much more.
What is it about performing live you love the most?
Gary: I love it all, from arriving at the venue to the unsettling feeling at the pit of your belly, sitting back stage and pacing up & down going over what you might talk about, and the adrenaline of walking up on stage, removing the mic from the stand and saying hello not knowing how it’s going to go is a rush like no other, but then when you get that 1st laugh it settles down and you just flow through your stuff enjoying the instant reward of immediate laughter. I can’t express how amazing the feeling is of seeing and hearing a room full of strangers laugh at your life, its better than any drug and is hugely addictive. I’m a very lucky man to do what I do and the fact that it now pays my bills is just crazy.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Gary: Save the hardest question until last OK. Erm, I’d say “If you’re looking for a fun packed gag filled true life story about how a kid defeated the odds by surviving care to then go on and raise a daughter without her mother from a young age then this is the show for you. Its a feel good show where I discuss all the bits others wouldn’t and all the trials and tribulations that came along the way. I don’t try and gloss over sh** I tell it how it is but most importantly you’ll laugh non stop at all the carnage that my life;s thrown at me yet still I’ve came out smiling, as will you if you come see my show”
What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Gary: I’ve genuinely not thought about that too much. My diaries packed with some great clubs up and down the country I don;t have a free weekend until November. However, with the money I’ll hopefully ‘fingers x’d’ recoup from the show I’ll be taking my girls for a long overdue and well deserved holiday to somewhere hot for xmas where I can switch off for a week 🙂
Before All This
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre
Aug 1-27 (19:15)