Four comedians talk about their experiences in The Alternative Comedy Experience, a recording of alternative Fringe Festival acts, put together by Stewart Lee. Most of the following are excerpted from interviews by Broken Nose Media whose Q&As and video podcasts are my new favorite thing. I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts and I get annoyed at all the lazy questions–but Chris McFarlane really knows his stuff! (Also, I’m totally jealous of his gig posters.) Check it out here and subscribe on YouTube. Seriously.
That was the first telly thing I’d ever done so I was shitting myself. It was mad how it happened as well. I was working a zero hours contract as a support worker in this hostel for ex convicts and signing on the dole the rest of the time. I hadn’t told any of my colleagues that I did comedy as I knew they’d take the piss out of me for it. Then I was due to go teach the weekly computer class to some burglars when I got an email from Tommy Sheppard (owner of The Stand) and he’d just put me forward for the programme without telling me. So I started freaking out at my desk and I had to say to my manager “Hey, so I never mentioned this before but I’ve been a comedian for 3 years and I can’t do nightshift this weekend cause I have to go film a TV programme.” And he just went “Aye, okay” without looking up from his spreadsheet. Then I basically immediately signed with my agent while standing in the courtyard of the hostel and while I was trying to chat to him about doing the Stewart Lee thing, one of the heroin addicts was screaming and swearing in the background. It was a really lovely day.
When it came to filming the programme Josie Long and Kevin Eldon were so kind to me as I was terrified. It’s terrible when you meet comedy heroes and they’re horrible bastards so I was glad that didn’t happen. The gig was fantastic but in the end they only used a tiny little bit of my set, maybe because my other material wasn’t as surreal, though it could be some other reason. Now I’ve done a couple of telly things though, I realise the reason that programme was very different to others was that they just let you do your set and left you to do your thing. That’s so unusual! Normally you have to give them a precise script of your set and for panel shows they go through everything you’re gonna say which makes you more stressed than you need to be and takes away any spontaneity which in turn detracts from how funny the end product is. I wish producers would just trust comedians to be funny but often they micromanage everything and that’s totally incompatible with the environment comedians normally work in.
Read more from Fern Brady at Broken Nose Media >>>
It was super. The show I was on was with Trevor Lock and Paul Foot who are both brilliant. I love performing in Scotland, in Edinburgh and in the Stand Comedy Club. It really meant a lot to be asked to be in it. And it has helped to introduce me to UK audiences too.
Read more from Eleanor Tiernan on Broken Nose Media >>>
The other day we were doing a TV thing, which Stewart Lee’s going to put out, which is like comedians that he likes doing standup, which I’m very excited about. I couldn’t help but say on it, I was doing my bit about loving tax, and I was like, “I love tax, which I know you don’t expect to hear from a comedian.” At the time, I was like, “Yeah!” and afterwards, I was like, “Oh shit. Jimmy Carr is never going to invite me to his mansion. It’s all I want! He’s such a nice man.” He really is.
From July 4, 2012 episode of Lost Treasures of the Black Heart Podcast >>>
I can tell you the very best thing about being on that show was that it was filmed at The Stand in Edinburgh. It’s my favourite club in the world so it was slightly easier to relax and actually enjoy being filmed. It felt and looked like a normal gig because that’s exactly what it was. The other great thing was doing the interview with Stewart. I realise how egotistical and pathetic this is but there’s a huge buzz from making Stewart Lee laugh. Even if he was laughing at me rather than with.
Read more from Michael Legge on Broken Nose Media >>>
To be asked to do it was unbelievable, all the acts on it were really lovely and Stewart Lee is the NICEST man. He’s so genuine, supportive and passionate about comedy. He’s the real deal, such a nice guy, he’s lovely. He was so encouraging, doing comedy, you know, it’s hard. It’s not like, you do a year then you go up to the next pay band and you get a better desk in your office, you know? It’s hard. When someone like Stewart Lee goes “Good work!” and “I like what you do”, it’s just lovely and really exciting. It’s such a weird, insecure business where somebody can think you’re brilliant and somebody can think you’re awful – it’s so subjective. So when somebody like Stewart Lee gives you a little pat on the shoulder that you’re not crazy, you know, that you’re in the right profession, it makes you think ‘Everything’s gonna be okay’, ‘I’m not deluding myself’, ‘I’ll keep giving this a go’ haha.
Read more from Grainne on Broken Nose Media >>>