Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Ed Aczel

I’m sure someone has written a PhD on the genre of anti-comedy – the idea of laughter via an absence of conventional joke/punchline. And I presume they included Ed Aczel in it. After all, the Guardian called this deadpan genius “Britain’s greatest living anticomedian”. Aczel may look as if he is bumbling along, but as the cliche goes, it takes hard work to look this scatterbrained. I can’t quite see Aczel making it to Live at the Apollo, but, hey, wouldn’t it be great if he did. In his latest show, The Random Flapping of a Butterfly’s Wings, he looks at chaos theory and the meaning of existence. As you do. He is currently on tour. Dates here.


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

I usually go through the opening in my mind. Once you’re up and running it’s easier to keep on going - I also tend  to tell myself how badly the gig's going to go - how everyone's going to hate me etc (I suppose it’s a way of psyching myself up to come out fighting - it could go so badly - the glass half empty approach to comedy).

2. What irritates you?

Audiences who don't respond in any way - flat crowds - you can always do something if you get any kind of response - but it's very difficult if the audience are passive.

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

The most dangerous thing is handling heckling at the beginning of a gig - because you've got to win somehow - if you lose you're finished – it’s a gamble - half the audience could leave if you come out in the wrong light.

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

One of the great things about comedy is you get to do stupid things - you actively talk yourself into situations where you can't win. Making a fool out of yourself is an occupational hazard (its great!!). Recently I went to a casting which required me to be fluent in French - why did I blindly go - why? 

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

I suppose it’s that I love it so much - that I carry on in the face of so much adversity - it would be easier and more profitable to do something else - but when it goes well it’s a brilliant feeling.

Interview continues here.


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