Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Scott Agnew

I've Snapped My Banjo String, Let's Just Talk is a snapshot of hardcore, working-class gay life, touching on mental health, sexual health, and general misadventure. Former Scottish Comedian of the Year Agnew elaborates: "My 2012 show – Tales of the Sauna – was really well-received, it transferred to the Soho Theatre and took me around Europe and it really looked like things were happening. And then it just kinda stopped. The devil makes work for idle hands and I've got a grim fascination for the grubbier sides of life, and that's kinda where I found myself inhabiting these last four years. A lot of those four years were spent bouncing about sex parties, from Vauxhall to Prague, Manchester to my hometown of Glasgow, and meeting the weird and wonderful characters that inhabit them. This show offers a wee peak behind the net curtains at where that kind of gay abandon leads to. It touches on politics, mental health, drugs, and sexual health issues that affect us all - there's even a pregnancy in there as well – but it's certainly not for the Women's Guild, either. Leave your judgement and faint heart at the door, it's my life – you only have to listen to it."

Scott Agnew: I've Snapped My Banjo String, Let's Just Talk is at the Gilded Balloon at the Counting House until Aug 29. Info here.

Picture by Tommy GaKenWan


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 )?

A long time ago I liked to be just drawing on the last of my cigarette and crushing the doubt just as my name was said. These days I pace, I pace a lot. Sometimes it breaks into a little soul/funk light dance shuffle akin to Jay Kay of Jamiroquai or Prince, may be a little Christopher Walken-esque, even. This is specific to certain venues though - at 6'5" I need lots of room for clearance.

2. What irritates you?

There's a reason I'm on Beta-Blockers. Almost everything does. If the world could see the almost non-stop internal struggle that goes on in my head at every drop the second hand on the clock makes from one digit to the next I'd be gifted to science as study in self control. Y'know when you see shopping baskets just left, abandoned, half filled midway around the supermarket? That'll be me because someone, somewhere, done something.


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

Listen to stupid advice from wise people. Go on a sling-shot roller coaster. Venture out the womb. Venture out the house. Venture to a supermarket. Be near other people. Live on a planet with nuclear weapons. Be far from other people. Ignore good advice from stupid people. Fall in Love. Believed in myself. Trusted others. Not trusted others. Go in a sling. Make an omelette on an electric hotplate. Put tomato and mascarpone sauce on a pasta dish two hours before going on stage.


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

Try to get the attention of a deaf man who had his back to me by calling his name from the other side of the room, realising this was futile I then tried to wave and signal with my hands to the blind man he was talking to.


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

The industry's propensity for forgiveness. On both sides of the divide, comedians and bookers; performers and producers. Time and again clubs/promoters have went belly-up or not cared and not paid comics and yet we more or less all forgive and go back and work for them. Time and again comedians have stunk out rooms but they are still asked back to gig for them.  Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes one or other side needs to learn. But we tend to forgive - we never forget. What else would we talk about on car journeys?

Interview continues here.

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