An Interview with Nathan Cassidy

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Perennially prolific, the terrific Nathan Cassidy has a brand new show & he’s coming to the Edinburgh Fringe…


Hi Nathan, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Birmingham and now I live in Hackney in London.

When did you first realise you were, well, funny?
I was about six and it was that atrocious bit at a wedding between the ceremony and the dinner. It was a community hall and I entertained everyone for an hour on the stage. Technically it was my first hour show. I can’t remember the detail but I remember everyone laughing and probably getting emotional at the 40-minute mark when I did a bit about marriage inevitably failing.

Who are your comedy idols?
Growing up it was Rick and Ade, Alexei Sayle, Fry and Laurie and Rowan Atkinson. I’m slightly older than I look (I’m mid to late 20’s). Now it’s Bill Burr, Steve Coogan and anyone on youtube chucking ping pong balls into glasses from a slight distance.

What are the processes behind the creation of one of your shows, from inception to hatching?
Nathan: I like to have an idea around this time of year for the following year, so I can start creating the material over the next six months in new material nights, I do a regular one in London on Mondays where you hear it all first. I’ve got my idea for next year, and the only danger of that is you put too much focus on the following year too early. It’s a very very very good idea though!! I’m going to take it on a bit of a World Tour, New Zealand and America.

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What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
A year ago I’d have said writing comedy, a year ago I used to write comedy all the time. On Sunday afternoon maybe I’d have been in the pub or up on Hampstead Heath pretending to see friends but actually I’d have been thinking about comedy, writing comedy in my head. But then, at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, my life changed. I injured my back, in the same way most people injure their backs, by brushing my teeth, so joined a local gym in a bid to sort out my rubbish core. And I met someone. I met a man that would take me on a year of discovery, a truly bizarre year where I didn’t have to write any comedy to churn out another hour show, perfect.

You’ve got a new show for 2019 – can you tell us about it?
So yes, I’ve never really been one for observational comedy because nothing from my day to day life I really found that amusing. Much as it would be lovely to find a routine from having a shower usually I just turn the shower on, have a wash, and get out of the shower. But after meeting this guy at the gym, this massive, strong man, he’s taken me on such a bizarre journey of discovery and self discovery that, brilliantly, the show has kind of written itself. I won’t give too much away but he started as my personal trainer, and quickly became much more. Everything about him and our relationship is unconventional, and ripe to stick straight into a comedy show. Let’s just say he is round my house a lot now. But he doesn’t use the shower. But if he did there would probably be a routine in it.

What it is at about this story that demanding a retelling on stage?
Everything. I needed someone to come into my life and shake it up. I think we look for like-minded people to surround ourselves with, but I met this guy who did everything I didn’t. He is at the gym 6am to 11pm every day. That’s all he does. He doesn’t read the news, he doesn’t know what’s going on in the world. He lifts Atlas stones. He’s religious. And he’s opened the door to a new future for me and shone a light on my past. He’s truly changed my life, and my comedy. No one is expecting an observational comedy show from Nathan Cassidy. No one is expecting any show. No one likes stand-up comedy any more. It’s a dying art from. I’m more into piano now.

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How did the show’s Brighton appearance go, & have you tweaked the show since?
I’m saying this quietly, although slightly louder now as I’m saying it to you, but it was probably my best ever Brighton in terms of audience and reaction, there is something about this show (and I think I’ve earned the right to say this as I’ve had done 10 years of shows now) that seems to be connecting with people. I knew there was something different about it before I performed it, but one of the things I hadn’t considered is from a few people I’ve heard it’s incredibly uplifting. That would be a great legacy for this show when it’s done – to see a whole crowd, and that’s 100% of the crowd, even at my best in the past I’ve probably split the crowd 95/5! To see a whole crowd moved and uplifted as I have done while performing this show is very special. But I’ve also been in the game long enough to not get too ahead of myself, I know from experience that shows that appear great can change when they get into different spaces and in front of different audiences, but I’m more confident with this show than I’ve been about any other. You can tell that by the way I’m shouting about it a bit more – if you’ve never seen me, or you’ve seen me before, just come!!

What are the fundamental differences between the Brighton & the Edinburgh Fringes?
If you want, you can do the Brighton Fringe without seeing anyone else in the industry. Which I’m not saying for one second is absolutely brilliant, but I guess whatever you do you in life can you surround yourself with people who think your job is the most important thing in the world. Sometimes you need people around you that not only are not in your world, but don’t give a damn about anything in your world. And that can open your eyes to what’s important in life, and the direction you want to go in next. None of what I’m doing in comedy is important, however very, very funny it is. There’s a much bigger picture for me now, and this big, strong man has shown me the light. And there are beaches in Brighton that aren’t freezing. And you don’t go bankrupt.

What does the future hold for Observational after the Fringe?
This was always supposed to be a work in progress, just a week in Edinburgh so I can tour it for a year after that and do a full run next year. I usually get bored with shows quite quickly but as I say I think this one has legs, and I’m hoping the great audience reactions I’ve been getting continue and this becomes successful enough that I can tour it for quite a while, and reach out to new audiences. I’ve got a lot of plans for next year, and I’m very busy with a new podcast I’m doing with http://www.podpeopleproductions.co.uk called Psycomedy (psycomedy.co.uk) about the Psychology of stand-up comedy (I studied Psychology at University) which we are live launching at the Fringe this year (23rd Aug at the Free Sisters 17:45 with very special guest!) – but I’m hoping that the audiences reaction allows me to take this show into new spaces and new Fringes next year. It was always the aim with this show to tour it globally, and I’ve already had some interest from Asia and America so the dream may turn into a reality. If I’ve learned one thing from writing this show and the last year in general, it’s that out of the darkness comes light, never stop believing in magic.

Photography: Andy Hollingworth


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Observational

The City Cafe

Aug 18-25 (18:45)

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www.nathancassidy.com/al

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