If anybody can be toooo funny, Gary G Knightley can!
Hello Gary, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I was born in Barking, East London and now live out in the countryside in a village called Knebworth in Hertfordshire. Until recently, I lived in Angel, Islington, just around the corner from the Bill Murray pub which is a great comedy venue.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
When I was 4 I had learned the “why did the chicken cross the road?” joke, and after repeating it to my Mum for hours, I forgot the punchline, panicked and said “because the Donkeys got no head”. My Mum nearly collapsed with laughter and I’ve been chasing that laughter ever since.
How did you get into comedy?
I have always enjoyed performing, and have a degree in Theatre Arts, quelle surprise! The course I did at Uni had a stand-up comedy module, and it hooked me. Due to the fact that I hate learning lines and find the restrictive nature of plays irritating, comedy was a natural option for me.
You’ve got three famous comedians (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
I’ve been listening a lot to James Acaster and Ed Gamble’s podcast, Off Menu, so I am very prepared for this question! I’d invite Sarah Silverman, Nick Helm and Johnny Vegas. No explanation needed, they are all great. I’d cook them Greek Mezze starters (is there anything better? I love a stuffed vine leaf). Then I’d move on to sausages, red onions and mash potato for the main, but the sausages would have to come from my local butchers in Knebworth, Trussels. And for dessert, chocolate fudge cake with ice-cream.
What does your mum think of all this performing malarkey?
She likes it. I am always a bit more reserved when she is in the audience, but I showed her Anthony Jeslenik’s Netflix special the other day and she cackled like a drain, so maybe I shouldn’t worry.
What is it about being funny in front of other people that makes you tick?
It’s the adrenaline I get when on stage. The feeling of not always knowing what to say or how the audience will react but feeding off of whatever reaction I get and trying to make it into something shocking or interesting or funny.
Last Fringe you brought your Twat Out of Hell to the Edinburgh Fringe – how did you find the experience overall?
I really enjoyed last year’s Fringe. It was so great to be doing what I love for nearly 4 weeks without worrying about anything else, and the show did really well – I received some 4 and 5 star reviews and had to turn audience away most days because they couldn’t fit into the room. Edinburgh in August is it’s own little bubble and I absolutely love it… especially the pies from Piemaker and the Brewdog beer.
You’re coming back with the same show – well the Deluxe version – what is different about 2019?
Last year, I did 23 shows in a 30-seater room – thankfully mostly full – so the amount of people who have seen the show is just over 600. I think it’s a good show, and think more people should see it. Saying that, it has evolved and if you did see it last year, there is enough different to warrant a second viewing. The show really feeds off of the audience, which means every show is different (and fun for me).
For those yet to see it, can you give us a brief outline of the show?
I lament about trying to be better, whilst solving the world’s problems in my natural, twatty manner. It also features Meatloaf songs.
Are you kidding? What’s not to like? I am a big Meatloaf fan, I loved Bat Out of Hell, The Musical (recently on the West End and featuring the songs of Meatloaf and Jim Steinman) and the songs work as a theme running through Twat Out of Hell to help illustrate my twatty ideas.
What are you looking forward to the most about returning to the Edinburgh Fringe?
Beside the pies and beer? I’m looking forward to seeing incredible comedians and performers everyday, being inspired to work harder, write better and hopefully be better.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the streets of Edinburgh, what would you say?
Usually just the name of the show, Twat Out of Hell: Deluxe, either draws people in or scares them off! So I would shout that at them pretty loudly, and also tell them that if they hate the show they can always enjoy the wonderful culinary delights of City Cafe so it’s not a wasted journey.