The Carnal Magic of Scott Agnew’s “Work in Progress”

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Glasgow Comedy Festival
March 30th, 2019

Material: five-stars  Delivery: four-stars.png  Laughs: five-stars  


Having seen Agnew headlining the fellow Glasgow Comedy Festival show Commissioned earlier that same week, I was delighted to be able to get tickets to his “Work in Progress” show at the State Bar. Throughout an hour of Agnew exploring the minutiae of Grindr dates and gay male culture in Glasgow, I was really impressed with the dynamism Agnew brought to the stage, and it reminded me why he is so highly-rated within the Scottish stand-up circuit.

Much like his performance that I covered in my review of Commissioned, as he balanced precariously on the tiny stool in the venue room of the State Bar, Agnew launched into a filthily funny take on life as a HIV-positive, self-described “poof” living and dating in Glasgow. Standing at an impressive six-foot, 5-inches with a heavy Glaswegian accent, Agnew’s insights into these areas of gay male culture were mesmerising, from his graphic description of getting laid in city centre alleyways, to chasing hook-ups on online dating apps. In one brilliant segment, he described how, after being enticed by a particularly impressive dick pic on Grinder, he took a taxi to sixty miles away in the hope of a hook-up, before revealing the inevitable, and absolutely hilarious comedown that followed.

Agnew took command of the room as he led the audience through these hilarious tales in revolting, delicious detail. His use of hand gestures was a clever element of his performance, moving his fingers cheekily like a sloppy pianist as he detailed the fleshly delights of an alley-way next to McDonalds. I couldn’t help but feel that some sections of the audience were a little taken aback by his openness, but I found the unabashed nature of his stories absolutely enchanting, and of course hysterical. Very quickly into his performance, I couldn’t help but feel like a character in some kind of corrupted fairy tale, in which I was being effortlessly transported to the back-alleys and sex parties of Central Scotland, a demonstration of Agnew’s story-telling chops.

As a comic who has spoken publicly about his own struggles with mental health and how this relates to his identity as a gay man, I felt that this is where the real magic of his stand-up lay. While managing to avoid leading the show into overt political or social commentary, the intensely honest nature of Agnew’s stand-up nonetheless felt subversive. Without being on the nose about it, his material at times suggested to me that he was clearly not just wanting to gain laughs out of his past sexual escapades, but intended to play a part in normalising his own personal experiences and struggles as a gay man to wider audiences by making a contribution to the incremental, progressive cultural and social transformations that stand-up plays a significant part in promoting. Overall, I found it to be easily one of the most polished and funny stand-up shows I’ve seen in years. As expected of a work in progress, the junctures between his bits were a little inelegant at times, but his commanding, confident style more than compensated for this between segues. Twenty minutes into the show, I genuinely did not want Agnew to get off the stage.

At one point in his performance, Agnew referenced the Billy Connolly murals that look over certain streets of Glasgow. Watching him, I couldn’t help but be reminded of just how impressively Connolly has transformed the nature of British stand-up into story-based monologues, and how comics such as Agnew have adopted and continued this lineage in the modern circuit. It also reminded me, like the Big Yin pioneered decades ago, how stand-up works best when it hits all the right notes between raw, painful honesty, balanced social and political exposition, pristine delivery, and of course, being fucking hysterical, a rare, comic stratagem. Agnew’s work is a beautiful testament to this; filthy without being derogatory, self-deprecating but not punitive, hedonistic but ethical. While at this point it’s a work in progress, I’m fascinated to see how Agnew transforms this material into an even more polished set. Having seen what he has to offer already however, I don’t doubt that it will be one of the best comic performances of any upcoming venue.

James Nixon

five-stars

Commissioned

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Glasgow Comedy Festival
March 27th, 2019


As one of the Glasgow Comedy Festival performances, I was really impressed with the quality of Commissioned and the range of comics, poets and artists on hand. Based around the theme of holidays, each artist was given two weeks to prepare their material for the show. Performed within the basement room of the State Bar, the venue really suited the intimacy of the show, and made for a friendly, participative energy between the acts and the audience.

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Elaine Malcolmson

The warm, communal liveliness of Commissioned was mastered by the show’s host, Elaine Malcolmson, jumping with ease between crowdwork over terrible holidays, to playfully abusing a Brexiteer sitting in the front row. She also acknowledged the initially disorganised feel to the show, with some of the comics who were billed not turning up on the night. Malcolmson followed this with a brilliant bit on some of the worst excuses she has ever been given for comic no-shows (“my girlfriend cut her finger”). For an event that was also slightly hindered by having its show-time wrongly listed online, Malcolmson did a fantastic job as host.

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Cat Hepburn

As one of the first acts, spoken word artist Cat Hepburn gave an excellent, early dynamism to the show by performing a set based around the worst experiences her female friends had encountered while on holiday with their ex-boyfriends. As a naturally likeable performer, she helped the audience quickly settle into the show, and was well-received. This was followed by a spoken word performance by Kevin P. Gilday, who told a hilarious story explaining why people with anxiety, such as himself, really shouldn’t travel to the forests of Ghana. His piece about trying to fend off poisonous snakes while travelling through African villages filled with machete-carrying inhabitants was brilliant.

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Sian Bevin

Closing the first half of the show, Sian Bevin shone as one of the show’s most impressive performers. Her observations on the privileged tourists she encountered on her travels in India stood out as one of the night’s sharpest moments, and her very personable, slightly awkward style worked really well with her material. The second half of the show continued with a very funny, neurotic animated comedy by EM. Steven Dick followed with a clever video short on his recent “holiday” to Aberdeen, dotted with misery inducing shots of the town and his Megabus journey. Timing between the divergent acts was one of the show’s biggest strengths, and a testament to Malcolmson’s excellent hosting.

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Scott Agnew

Scott Agnew delivered a clever finale to the show, and easily stood out as Commissioned’s best act of the night. Having seen Agnew numerous times at the Stand, the indomitable, raw liveliness he brought to the stage reinforced why he is considered to be one of Glasgow’s strongest professional comics, weaving cleverly between reminiscences on shite holidays and other pieces. His domineering stature accentuated his material, where Agnew, seated awkwardly on a small stool, gulped portions of his beer between main punchlines and tags. Seeing him in action again was a real delight, and delivered a perfect finish to an already excellent and diverse show.

Overall, I was impressed with Commissioned, and thought it made an excellent contribution to the Glasgow Comedy Festival. Ambitious in its structure, it struck the right chord between experimentation and expertise, and ensured a real diversity to the structure of its line-up that others show haven’t done quite as well. Now celebrating its seventh year in the scene, Commisioned’s performance at the 2019 Glasgow Comedy Festival was a real delight to watch, and I’m looking forward to future contributions.

James Nixon

An Evening with Rick Molland

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As you approach the Colosseum along the Via Labicana in Rome, one encounters a series of maps of the progression of the Roman Empire. The first one of these was just a dot on the map where Rome is, then the second shows its early expansion into the surrounding territories of Latina & Veii. This is exactly what is happening with Edinburgh’s Monkey Barrel Comedy, which has expanded from its tenancy at the Beehive on the Grassmarket, to opening its very own venue on Blair Street, right next to the City Cafe. Whereas The Stand is quite tricky to get to really, Monkey Barrel has placed itself like a knife at the jugular of a good night out, ready to slit our throats & let the laughter pour out until we lie helpless in fits on the floor.

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It was The Mumble’s sincere pleasure to be invited by chief monkey himself, Rick Molland, the guy whose been working this particular comedy seam in Edinburgh for a wee while now, having complete faith in his mining abilities, & has now struck gold! A minor-owner in Monkey Barrel, he would be MC-ing a well-balanced & eclectic thrill-ride for a yet another sold-out audience.

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Studying the room…

The Monkey Barrel’s main room  – & its rows of old cinema seats – is directly accessible from the street, which leads to an open-entry bar where a TV shows whats going on in the main room. As we were guests, we found ourselves sat on the cusp between the two, which gave as an intriguing insight into what comedians are doing before their sets – basically studying the room.

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Vladamir MacTavish

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We witnessed giddy opener Gareth Waugh, the drollosaur philanthropy of weegie-snarling Vladamir MacTavish; the bounce-a-along comedy bombast of the liltingly Welsh ‘I put the Jew in Judo‘ Bennett Aaron, & the quirky edginess of New Zealander, Sully O’Sullivan. Before, after, & inbetween, Rick deliver’d a pitch-perfect masterclass in working a room. My lovely wife, who escorted me on the night out, declared Rick to be ‘fuckin’ brilliant.’ He is a proper conductor of electrical energy into the room, a machine of perpetual comedy motion! Imagine a chef barking orders in a busy kitchen & you get somewhere near the vibe that Rick creates – but of course it is all quite hilarious. Sometimes you don’t even know why you’re laughing, but you’re doing it anyway – now that’s comedy genius!

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Sully O’Sullivan

After Sully had finished his smashing, headlining set, we hooked up with Rick for the wee walk along the frolic-infested Cowgate to the Grassmarket, back towards the Monkey Barrel’s spiritual home at the Beehive. Rick had invited us to his latest contribution to Edinburgh’s love of comedy – a late-night shindig in the Beehive’s ‘Attic.’ I mean, during the Fringe there’s comedy on until daft o’clock every night, so there’s deffinitely a market for such a slot. It cannot be denied that people laugh harder & longer & louder the more pissed they get – & the difference between the slightly sober crowd who Rick opened his night to at eight, & the one who he was winding things up to at 00:30 was markedly different.

On our walk to the Beehive, I asked Rick a few questions about how things were progressing since our last chat, in May 2017.


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Hows 2019 looking for the Scottish Comedy Festival at the Fringe?
Rick: The Scottish Comedy Festival Line-up for 2019 is looking stronger than ever, we’ve got SCF favourites like Raymond Mearns and Gary Little returning, along with some amazing new faces like the award winning Rahul Kohli and I’m particular looking forward Gav Webster bringing his cult podcast The Comedy Results to us this year. This year we’ve expanded our scope a little bit. We’ve added Nightcap as second venue, so we’re just finalising the last couple of spots, we plan to announce the full SCF line-up in next couple of weeks.

When did you decide to start late night comedy at the Beehive, & how’s it going
Rick: The Innis & Gunn Comedy Attic is the newest addition to the Scottish Comedy Circuit. We’re very much in our infancy, as we’re just four weeks old. The show is fucking crazy. Drunk acts and drunker audience members are a hell of a mix. Why do a late night gig? Basically, I fell in love with stand-up at late night Edinburgh Fringe gigs like Late & Live and Spank. These are the gigs that are the heart and soul of the festival. There’s never really been an attempt to see if something like that can exist outside of the fringe, it’s Punk Rock Comedy, a little bit edgier, anything goes but really fucking fun. We’re a month in and seems to be working, which is as much I could hope for. What Happens in the Attic, Stays in the Attic!

What is it about Edinburgh that makes it such a beacon for comedians & fans alike?
Rick: Edinburgh is amazing city, it’s relaxed, chilled and creative as hell. Comedy wise the fringe plays a big part in the reason it’s a beacon. But you can’t over look how strong the circuit is right now in Edinburgh, There’s the amazing Monkey Barrel Comedy, The Stand, Gilded Balloon and then there’s my crazy little gig in The Attic. It means that audiences can go an see a variety of top acts and have choices on the type of nights they want.


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Harry Garrison

Rick was soon back on stage weaving his magic – it was a bit crazy actually; Sully opened, with Gareth Waugh in the middle, & guitar-wielding Harry Garrison to finish. The crowd was banterery and responsive & the whole near sold-out gig was really interactive. It was like the Monkey Barrel gig but turned up to 13. Really good fun. An audience with no limits, including quite a lot of banter with a nurse about the time she found a pen, a crisp packet and a dead bird in an old woman’s vagina! You had to be there, & I recommend that you do. Nice one Rick & keep up the good work!

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LINKS

www.thecomedyattic.co.uk

www.monkeybarrelcomedy.com

www.scottishcomedyfestival.com

An Interview with Andrew White

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Bubbling with the comedy ebullience of youth, Andrew White is taking his teenage wisdom on the road… 


Hello Andrew, so first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I was born in Surrey but grew up in Bournemouth where a lot of my family is. Then, for the last ten years I’ve been just outside of Salisbury for schooling reasons. It’s a really lovely area, but nothing ever happens (Russian business aside). On the one hand it means I’ve managed to build a circuit of local gigs without much competition, but on the other hand, most other events are at least an hour away.

When did you first realise you were funny?
When I was cocky little fearless 15 year old. I got up on stage thinking I was hilarious. Ever since, though, it’s just been a spiral into self-doubt and imposter’s syndrome. If I hadn’t started then, I don’t think current me would give comedy a go.

How did you get into performing comedy?
There was a youth performance open mic in Salisbury and I wen along to try out doing some jokes. I’d always loved stand-up and really wanted to do the same as what I watched on TV. As any other comedian would’ve already guessed, the open mic was all music acts and it was a strange environment to tell jokes. Luckily, the woman running it (Flo) was involved in comedy through improv and steered me towards proper comedy environments.

If your style was a soup, what would be the ingredients?
Minestrone in a sieve. There’s a lot going on, and not all of it works for me, but I’m slowly picking out the best ingredients and trying new ones to form the most satisfying soup.

What are the creative processes behind writing your material?
A lot of the time an initial idea comes to me whilst thinking random thoughts to myself. A certain train of thought may make me smile, and then I’ll try and hear myself saying it on stage, and if it sounds workable I’ll write it down. Then development comes from a mix of sitting and writing out, talking it through in my head, and finally saying it aloud at a new material night. Occasionally I’ll write with another comic called Sunjai Arif as well, that outside view on material is always useful, plus he’s very funny!

As a post-Millennial, do you find that comedy is changing, is the material of older comics still relevant?
Comedy is definitely changing, and for the better I think. It’s becoming a much more creative and exciting art form. There’s a focus on originality & well written material, whilst cheap punchlines / premises are rightly being snubbed by industry and audience alike. The material of older comics’ is definitely still relevant, provided it’s funny, engaging, and original. That has nothing to do with age though, that’s just about the calibre of the comedian. In fact, it’s often younger comedians who will deliver “irrelevant” material, just because they’ve not learned that it won’t fly anymore. I could list dozens of older comics who are some of the funniest and most original acts about, but I think the praise would be somewhat tainted with me calling them “older comics”!

What is your ideal Sunday afternoon?
A game of football with friends, and then home to a light dinner, hot bath, and a film.

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Can you tell us about the show?
It is all about me wanting to quit stand-up and how university will be better for me. I’m currently on my gap year doing comedy full time, but it’s not everything I imagined it to be, and after one particularly awful gig, I decided that would be that. The show follows on from the gig looking at the benefits of higher education, and asking how much value I could add to the stand-up world anyway. There is some lingering lust for comedy that shines through though, and it becomes more difficult a decision than I first thought…

Where did you get the idea for Retirement Tour, & is the reality realising your original vision?
I had the idea during Edinburgh last year, but it was mainly a provocative joke title. Since then it has changed massively and I’m actually torn between the two paths in real life. From a stupid joke idea, it’s become a very real, very honest, and very soul-bearing show. I’m still living the narrative of it as well, so it’s quite unique – you get to see the decision making evolve in real time alongside my genuine life.

If this is your last year as a comedian – & The Mumble hopes its not, by the way – what the hell are you gonna do instead?
If it is (which it may well be), I’d go to University to study Linguistics. From there, career paths are very varied – speech therapy, marketing, working with the police, all sorts! I may even end up in an entirely unrelated profession. I guess the short answer is, I don’t have a clue!

What will you be doing for the rest of 2019?
After Edinburgh, I’ll probably be starting at Cardiff University. I’m not 100% though. For now, I’m focusing on the show and making it as good as it can be.


Retirement Tour

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Bath: March 27 @ St James’ Wine Vaults
Swindon: April 9 @ The Victoria
Bournemouth: May 3 @ Bournemouth Little Theatre
Brighton: May 4 @ The Caxton Arms
Liverpool: July 1 @ Hot Water Comedy Club, Seel St
Shaftesbury: July 6 @ Shaftesbury Arts Centre
Edinburgh: August 2-25 @ The Mash House, Cask Room

www.standupandrew.com

Glasgow’s Glee

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Glee Club, Glasgow
March 1st, 2019


As a long-time fan of Glasgow’s stand-up scene, I found myself pleasantly surprised when I attended the Friday Night Comedy show at the city’s recently opened venue The Glee Club. An established stand-up staple in Birmingham, Cardiff and Oxford, The Glee Club’s expansion to Glasgow provides an exciting opportunity that bridges the gap between the more intimate comic experiences exemplified by The Stand Comedy Club and larger, theatrical venues, a point made by legendary Glasgow comic Gary Little. Between generous pitchers of beer and snacking on my mate’s plate of nachos, I found the overall experience pretty impressive.

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Scott Gibson
The March 1st show was hosted by the effortlessly hilarious Scott Gibson, and featured (in sequential order) Rosco McLelland, Eleanor Tiernan and Ben Norris. Having seen Gibson killing it numerous times at The Stand, I found him to be a brilliant host, who masterfully whipped the crowd into a fury before each act with his grounded, self-deprecating comic wit. Gibson’s confident, reassuring demeanour also helped to remind his audience to be respectful to the incoming acts, while containing the enthusiasm of some rowdier elements of the show’s audience, a disciplinary edge that I’ve found unfortunately to be lost on many hosts. While hardly an easy task in such a large venue, Gibson exuded an excellent energy that continually drew the crowd in.

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Rosco McLelland gave an energetic performance as the show’s opener, but his material paled in comparison to the elegance of Tiernan’s act and the vibrancy that Norris projected as the show’s headliner. Having seen McLelland do brilliantly in smaller rooms like The Stand, I felt his lukewarm performance was perhaps partly due to the sheer size of The Glee Club, but also possibly a natural reaction as a performer getting used to a new space. As a pathway between low-ceiling stand-up rooms and Apollo-like theatre spaces, I couldn’t help but feel that it’ll be harder for subtler acts to project their acts at The Glee Club as effectively as headliner performers. Showing moments of great comic insight, perhaps McLelland will feel more settled next time around.

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Eleanor Tiernan
Reflecting on the show’s final two acts, Eleanor Tiernan and Ben Norris dazzled the audience with their performances. In her effortless dalliance between more observational moments and socio-political commentary, she peppered her act with questions over the MeToo Movement, the difficulty of having a vagina (which she brilliantly compares to a piece of 1980s machinery that works, but is always leaking when you don’t expect it), and the role that women play in promoting a more nuanced understanding of female identity. While I have a particular leaning towards more socio-political comics, I have to say that, even in its lighter moments, Tiernan’s act was a delight to watch. Her appearance at Friday Night Comedy clearly illustrated her enviable talent as a headliner comic, and I really hope to see her again.

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Ben Norris
As the show’s main headliner, Ben Norris’ explosive stand-up routine made for a fantastic finish to the night, brimming with intelligent and penetrative observations on British culture and life as a father. Weaving his material with some brilliant moments of crowd-work, his deliciously confident, likeable energy lifted the show to new heights, and made for some fantastic moments of crowd-work with the crowd, particularly when he found himself struggling to understand sections of his predominantly Glaswegian audience. In one brilliant moment, after failing to understand a woman’s name in the front row (referencing her as “Laun” instead of “Lauren”), he developed this incomprehension into a clever joke on how much easier life must be in Glasgow when you just remove the middle of each word. Bringing a rock-star dynamism to the venue, Norris truly shone as the show’s headliner.


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Main Stage at Friday Night Comedy

Reviewing the club more broadly, one major strength I think The Glee Club will bring to the Glasgow comedy scene is its employment of security staff. Having seen numerous shows ruined beyond belief by hecklers, their subtle presence in the backdrop of the audience was a very welcome addition. I also felt that the show’s provision of food and pitchers balances well with the needs of the stand-up performances and in avoiding any possible disturbance it could cause to the shows. While I typically view the inclusion of food at a stand-up venue as a poor sign of the show’s management – a profit over performance indicator – The Glee Club pulls it off well, ensuring that people can order food and drinks at the bar while avoiding any tab system that could disrupt the flow of the acts while the food is being delivered. However, a small criticism I’d make about it would be the near-deafening preamble music played between the show’s breaks. Lasting between two-to-three minutes, the music was like a mixture between 1970s cinema advertising and the kind of thing that Michael Bay would use as the score for a space shoot-em-up. Rather than getting me pumped for the next act, it just left me irritated.

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Overall however, Friday Night Comedy was an excellent showcasing of The Glee Club’s potential as a Glasgow stand-up venue. The playhouse size of the club offers the potential to accommodate a market between smaller and larger venues, and with that, to expand the range of opportunities for both audiences and performers. As comic Geoff Norcott commented on The Glee Club’s launch in Glasgow, the “showbiz staging” of the club gives it a certain cultural and commercial credit that makes it stand out from other arenas, noting, “it’s the one you invite the in-laws to if you want to convince them you’re doing alright.’ While I’ve noted that there are some negatives when compared with smaller venues, its positive reputation among British comics and audiences places The Glee Club in an enviable position to build a prominent platform for professional shows. I feel that as Friday Night Comedy continues, it will continue to tighten its line-up in a similar way to The Stand, and in doing so, will mark itself as an increasingly important comic hub in Glasgow.

James Nixon

An Interview with Joz Norris

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The miraculous comedy mind of Joz Norris will soon be winging its way into Glasgow…


Hello Joz! First things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I’m from here, there and everywhere, really. I lived in a small village called Petworth for a bit, where I lived in a hunting lodge belonging to a man called Lord Egremont, which I didn’t actually know until quite recently and I think is kind of gross. Spent my whole life thinking I was a sort of leftie social justice warrior, and it turns out I was part of the establishment. Then I lived in London for a while, then Salisbury for a bit, in the pre-novichok days when there was really nothing to say about the place, then Norwich, and now I’m back in London. I should just say I’m from London, it’s simpler.

When did you first realise you were funny?
In a way I’m still waiting to realise this.

How did you get into stand-up?
I knew since I was tiny that I wanted to write or act, or ideally both. I wanted to be like Pierce Brosnan, but also like Terry Pratchett. When I went to uni I wrote a few comedy scripts for the student radio station and Jon Brittain, who is now one of the best writers in the theatre biz, said they were good and I should try stand-up at the comedy club he co-ran. It just immediately felt right. It sort of combined the things I like doing in exactly the right way. Not saying I was immediately great at it, it took me a long time to figure out what I was doing, but I could immediately tell it was what I wanted to do with my life. Make up funny things and try to communicate them to people somehow.

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Which comedians have inspired you; both old skool & contemporary?
As a kid I remember loving Lee Evans. We had a VHS of him doing a show in Edinburgh which opened with him doing the “Lee Evans Trio” bit, where he mime-performs all three members of a jazz trio, and I was captivated by it. Then when I was a teenager I got really into TV sitcoms and worshipped Coogan and the Boosh and the Garth Marenghi bunch and Julia Davis and all those guys, who aren’t all comedians necessarily but massively informed my sensibilities. These days I’m most inspired by my peers because I get to see them regularly and I get to really understand how their brains work and how their imaginations manifest onstage – John Kearns, Lucy Pearman, Michael Brunstrom, Ali Brice, Holly Burn. Loads and loads of others.

What is it about being funny in front of other people that makes you tick?
I think it’s the fact that it’s a doomed enterprise that I love. You keep going back to it again and again because it never quite works. I think all art is the process of scooping out the contents of your own head and hoping somebody who sees it connects with it, which is a fundamentally impossible thing to do. You can’t ever really communicate how it feels to be you, and the most anybody else will ever get is a tiny glimpse of it. Comedy’s my favourite version of that because it’s inherently ridiculous, it’s all about failure and being stupid and getting things wrong. I love that feeling. The feeling of being onstage and thinking “I’m trying to show you how it feels to be me, and that’s an utterly ridiculous thing to try and do, but isn’t it a funny thing to attempt?”

What does Joz Norris like to do to kick back?
I love jelly beans and I love Dr. Pepper and I love 70s prog rock. 70s rock in general, in fact, and some 70s folk. A bit of 80s art rock. Not much 90s stuff. A little bit of 70s jazz fusion, or 80s post-punk. And anything released by a 70s or 80s prestige artist in the 2010s. I also like to watch those Satisfying Video compilations on Youtube and read Vonnegut novels. Then I’ll go for a walk round Brockwell Park and talk to myself. Sometimes I interact with other human beings and do things that sound less tragically lonely than everything I’ve just listed. But you’ve got to be in the right mood for that. The rest I can do any time, any day.

You’re quite a stalwart in Edinburgh every August – can you tell us about Heroes of Fringe?
Heroes of Fringe is the BEST. Bob Slayer set it up a few years ago now as a model to challenge the way the Fringe is structured, and to redirect the flow of money so it goes directly to the artists instead of lining the pockets of big companies. I did a paid venue once and the show did ok but I lost money. Since doing Heroes I’ve made big profits every single year. That was sort of what it was set up to do, and it does it really well, but the more important thing about it is that it feels like a big family. I genuinely love every single person involved in Heroes, and I feel more at home there than anywhere. It looks after its people and it makes sure they’re happy so that they make good art.

Can you tell us how your comedy wound its way onto NextUp and Amazon Prime?
The NextUp guys are doing great work, they’re preserving shows which might otherwise disappear into the ether and maintaining this incredible archive where you can go back and watch things you might have missed. I think it’s going to become a really important resource in years to come. You often hear stories of these incredible shows that big name comedians did years back when they first started out, and there’s no way of going back to watch them, but now because of places like NextUp, you have this big resource. They scout out lots of shows at the Fringe and film the ones they enjoy, and they were kind enough to film mine back in 2017. Really proud to have a good record of that one, I think it was a great show.

You’re also big on making screen entertainment – ‘The Girl Whisperer,’ & ‘The Baby,’ spring to mind. How do you find balancing comedy & film-making, & do they influence each other?
I fell in love with comedy mostly by watching it on TV – Boosh and Partridge, like I said, and Peep Show and Marion & Geoff. So a big part of my brain is in love with the idea of making comedy onscreen. I think you can do a lot more with it than you can onstage – a comedy film can be sad and slow and awkward in a way that a live show maybe can’t (or maybe it’s harder in a live show, or something, but I certainly think it’s different). And I think you can include moments that are smaller and subtler, more based in the quiet, odd ways that people can be funny just in the way they express things, or the way they slightly miss one another in conversation, and so on. I also think you can push the boat out more in film in terms of indulging in surreal imagery – we had an amazing time on The Baby making it look and feel creepy and weird and slightly wrong. I think with a live show you can play with tone and feeling a lot, but with a film you can actually play with texture and colour and light and all these things that you have more direct control over. I think they’re both great, and do different things.

You’re performing at this year’s Glasgow Comedy Festival; can you tell us where & when?
I can! I’ll be doing a new show called Joz Norris Is Dead. Long Live Mr Fruit Salad. at the Vacant Space on Friday 29th March at 8pm. It’s been curated and promoted by the amazing Pax Lowey, who runs ARGComFest down in London, which is a brilliant festival and is beginning to branch out to other festivals in other cities, like Glasgow. Very excited to be part of the lineup for it.

What is the show all about?
The sort of pretentious and vague answer is that it’s about disguise and anxiety and the failure to communicate. And the idea, which I mentioned above, that everything you do to try and make sense of your life and fit it into a pattern, is doomed to fail, but that’s ok. More specifically, it’s about a character I created last year to get myself back into performing, as I’d given up for a while due to personal reasons. This character is called Mr Fruit Salad and he is basically rubbish, but he’s decided to put on a solo show to get to the bottom of who he is. He doesn’t exist, so he’s got lots of existential trauma to work through.

What do you think of Glasgow as a city?
I really like Glasgow. I don’t know it as well as Edinburgh as I’ve spent less time there, but the last time I was there I tried to get to know it and explore it a bit more, and walked round the Kelvingrove Park, which was beautiful, and then the old observatory and the botanical gardens. They’re the things that spring to mind now when I think about Glasgow. I think they’re all lovely.

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You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…
This is the only show at the Glasgow Comedy Festival performed by somebody who doesn’t exist.

What will Joz Norris be doing for the rest of 2019?
Well this show will also be playing festivals in Bath, London and Ivybridge, and maybe a couple of others before going up to the Edinburgh Fringe in August. I’ll also be taking up a sketch double act show with Ed Aczel, with whom I’ve also made a sitcom pilot-type thing about petty criminals which should be coming out quite soon. I’ll also be launching a podcast about therapy, making a couple of short films, and developing a new scripted thing for TV about the gig economy. I’m also going on holiday to Morocco, turning 30, getting back into swimming, and working on a secret project for my best friend’s wedding. I like being busy.


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Joz Norris Dead. Long Live Mr Fruit Salad

Friday 29th March

The Vacant Space (20:00)

www.joznorris.co.uk

Lewis Doherty: From Wolf to Boar

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Lewis Doherty… working on a follow up to Wolf… thank-you Comedy Gods!


Hello Lewis, so what did you get for Christmas?
Hiya! I got some ridiculous hot sauce called Mega Death, which was a highlight(?)

Last Fringe was quite a dramatic inception for Wolf. Were you surprised by the public reaction?
Yes and no; Its a show that I’m really proud of and I knew once people saw it and started talking about it in Edinburgh then it would snowball from there. One thing that did surprise me was just how accessible the show was. I really thought it would have quite a niche audience but since doing Edinburgh I’ve had people bring their kids, mums, grandparents (who love it!) So that’s been a great surprise so far.

Last August I had the pleasure of bumping into you personally. I found the real Lewis a pleasant, rather humble man – a far cry from the character on stage. How did you manage to create such a restless, ebullient stage persona?
Awww shucks! Thanks! I suppose I just love performing, so there’s a part of me I present on stage that enjoys doing it.

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Will you be touring Wolf in 2019, & if so where?
Yeah, absolutely! I’m currently touring right now! I’ve just finished a run at the Birmingham REP and I’m at the Nottingham Playhouse 15th, 16th Feb – then we hit up Leicester Comedy Festival on the 23rd, over to Waterside Arts Centre on the 28th, then Exeter Phoenix 10th March, and finishing up at SOHO Theatre 21st -23rd March! Its been amazing so far – I’m hoping that I can reach a wider audience this year with the show and tour again next year – so If you do miss it or it isn’t coming to a city close enough, keep your eyes peeled!

You have been working on something new, can you tell us about it?
Sure! I’ve been working on a new show called BOAR (another animal themed title) its a medieval action epic tale about two bounty hunters who end up being sent on a quest to defeat an evil dragon and save a princess

For someone who saw Wolf, will they be experiencing a generic sequel
or something quite different?
I’m trying to keep the skeleton of the show (WOLF) intact but I think its really important to keep creating and experimenting with new elements, that’s why I’ve decided to switch genre and go with a completely different set of characters – I’m still trying to develop this “one man show language” and I want to keep it engaging for audiences as well as myself – otherwise its just WOLF with different packaging.

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Was Boar easier or a more difficult creation than Wolf?
Tough question; It was easier because I’ve already done WOLF so I feel like I understand what it takes to develop a show like that, and what works with audiences. Also harder, because the genre I’ve decided to take on is typically more epic and has a lot more story strands to it, so the development and creation of BOAR has been a very different beast to the first

You will be performing one show at Vault Festival – how did you get
the gig & why?
I’ll be doing BOAR at Vault Festival on the 6th March, 9:15pm. I applied basically – its a fantastic festival with some interesting things going on and a great platform to showcase work.

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Have you performed at Vault before?
Yep! I did the first ever showing of WOLF there – it was 30minutes long and I’ve never been so nervous in my LIFE! Everyone that came to the gig that night was great though

I know you like to catch other acts – is there anything in particular
at Vault you fancy?
There are so many things! Here’s a list off the top of my head of stuff I’m trying to get to:

Bottled by Hayley Wareham
Thrown by Living Record
Police Cops
The Wrong Ffion Jones
Alcatraz by Right Mess
Jack Barry WIP
Spencer Jones WIP
WOOD by Adam Foster
See-Through by Claire Gaydon

Will you be bringing Boar to Edinburgh?
Hell yeah, and maybe even a cheeky couple of WOLF shows too!


Boar

March 6th, Vault Festival, London

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