Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Ian Stone

Ian Stone

To say that Ian Stone is a stalwart stand-up is an understatement. He has been a professional comedian for over two decades, taking full-length shows to the Edinburgh Festival and pacifying even the toughest of crowds in comedy clubs with his sharp wit and keen observational humour. In recent years Stone has become known for his sports-related work. He has been a regular on Arsenal’s podcast The Tuesday Club and has written for the club magazine. At the moment he has a much-deserved television gig on BT Sport on Friday nights at 10pm, The Football’s On, which mixes light-hearted fun with serious chat about the state of the game. His guest this Friday is Mark Steel.


1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage?


Go to the loo and check my flies are done up



2. What irritates you?


Almost anything. People who don't put their oyster card on the reader until the person in front is completely through the gate, Reality TV, clutter, poor service in restaurants, adverts for gambling sites with Ray Winstone, films that are too loud. This is not an exhaustive list.


3. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?


I was 19 years old and I was walking down a street towards my mate's house when he pulled up in a car. It was full so he couldn't give me a lift but he offered to transport me slowly on the bonnet. Because I was 19 and an idiot I agreed. He then sped down the street and then broke really hard sending me flying off the car. It was stupidly dangerous.



4. What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

See above


5. What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy? 


When I started, it was the fact that I could make a living doing it. Now, it's the fact that other doors seem to be opening just because I'm good at comedy.


6. What do your parents/children (delete as applicable) think of your job?


My parents don't really understand what I do. Which is ok because I've never really understood what they do either. As for my kids, they enjoy the benefits of me being a comic. They've traveeled to South Africa and New Zealand and been to various music festivals. As they get older, they appreciate it more.


7. What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?


I've sometimes gone back to a fairly basic hotel after a tough gig and questioned why I do stand up. Also, waiting to be paid money I'm owed


8. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?


I veer from feeling like I'm the best stand up in the world to feeling like i will never again be able to write or tell a joke. Often in the same evening. Overall, I think I'm really good (I've been doing it for twenty three years and I still love it) but most weeks I'll see someone who makes me think that there's plenty of room for improvement.


9. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?


I earn way more than I thought I ever would. Of course I'd like to earn more but who wouldn't?


10. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?


Luck is important but it's more about what you do with the breaks when they happen. I've had a few lucky breaks although I subscribe to the Arnold Palmer theory that the more I practice, the luckier I get.


11. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category?


I would be a golfer most of the time but I have been known to self harm on occasion. I think even the most avid golfers have their moments of self doubt



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