Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Adam Buxton

Adam Buxton

You should all know Adam Buxton. From his TV and radio work with Joe Cornish, his appearances in films such as Hot Fuzz and Stardust or his marvellously childish yet gloriously clever multi-media live shows. 


And that’s not all. Buxton also hosts BUG, the show that takes an irreverent look at pop videos. And that’s still not all. He is currently working on a sitcom called The Cloud with Graham Linehan. He also has a podcast in which he has interviewed the likes of Rob Delaney, Rob Brydon, Jon Ronson and Caitlin Moran.


So what are you waiting for? Hurry up and read this excellent interview below, which includes the phrase “yak shaving”. 








What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies, check for spinach between teeth and check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt)?

I look at the first few rows of the audience from the wings and think about who might be good to talk to and who might be concealing a weapon. As I do this I’m fondling my phone, my presentation remote, my nutties and patting down my middle of the road hair. If I’m badly prepared or if it’s a festival where the audience are less familiar with me, I feel sick and very sad and wonder why I do this. Unless there are technical problems with my laptop and the projector, that feeling generally goes away after a few seconds once I’m out there.

 What irritates you?

Disruption of pleasing routines. Messy drawers. Bad systems (my own and other people’s). General 'Yak shaving', i.e. setting out to perform a task on my computer and ending up spending several hours on other supplementary tasks that require completing before the main task can begin. For example: Say I want to find a piece of software that records what’s happening on my computer screen. After some research I find the software on line but have to update my operating system before I can install it, so I start to download the new operating system and halfway through doing so I reach my broadband limit. I have to buy extra data but the website won’t accept my card details. It turns out my card has been blocked by the fraud team. I call the fraud team to remove the block but fail to recall the correct answers to the security questions they pose. I am locked out and have to travel into town to the nearest branch of my bank. My wife has taken the car to I decide to cycle but I have a flat... etc. etc. Maybe that’s not Yak Shaving. Maybe that’s just modern life and I should learn to love it. Don’t know. 

What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

I’m impatient and ignorant so I do a lot of dangerous things. I’ll probably die by being electrocuted or blown up at home like a fucking moron. Earlier this year I was having trouble lighting a wood burner so I poured a LOT of white spirit inside and chucked a match in. WHOOOMP!!!! My eyebrows and fringe have only just started looking normal and the burns across one half of my face took a while to calm down. This segues neatly into your next question about stupidity...

What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

Hard to pin down the stupidest. I do something stupid every day. Often I’ll do several stupid things in one afternoon. The other day my wife was away in the middle of the week with two of my children. I was left looking after my eldest son. I decided that even though it was a school night we’d go to the movies and see ‘Sicario' (silly, violent, self important film about drug gangs fighting with the CIA - entirely inappropriate viewing for a 13-year-old but he begged me). After the film we went back to the car park only to find I’d left the headlights on and the car battery was dead so we couldn’t even open the doors (electric locks operated by electronic key fob). I called a local breakdown service and they quoted a 1 hour wait time. I said that was too long (it was 11.30pm by that time - ON A SCHOOL NIGHT!!!) and hung up, though I didn’t have any other options in mind...

...After about half an hour of dithering, I remembered I was a member of the AA. I gave them a call and they said they’d contact a local service and send someone asap. I asked how long they thought that would be. 90 minutes they said. NINETY FUCKING MINUTES HANGING OUT IN A NORWICH PARKING GARAGE!!! ON A SCHOOL NIGHT!!!! When the guy eventually showed up it turned out to be the breakdown service that had originally quoted an hour, 2 hours before. Also it turned out that there was a metal key for the car door within the electronic fob so we could have been sitting inside the car the whole time instead of standing in the freezing garage. And that’s a good day for me. 

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

That not everyone involved Soupy Norman is richer than Ricky Gervais.

Excellent interview continues here.

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