Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Brett Goldstein: Page 2 of 2

Brett Goldstein hasn't done a lot of stand-up lately, but then the sharp, funny comedian/writer/actor has an excuse. He has been busy appearing in lots and lots of TV and films on both sides of the Atlantic. In the last few years his devilishly handsome visage has popped up in shows including movies SuperBob and Adult Life Skills and on TV in Drifters, Uncle and Derek. He also played a character in an HBO pilot, A Lot, inspired by Maureen Dowd’s book Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide. He returns to the stage at the Hackney Picturehouse on October 7 as part of the all-day Upstream Comedy Festival with his latest show What Is Love Baby Don't Hurt Me. Click here for tickets and here for the full festival line-up.

6. What do your parents think of your job?

I’ve never let my parents see me do stand up (because – well – see my shows), as much as they want to, so they think of it as a forbidden fruit that they wish they could be part of.

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

The worst thing is telling people at parties you’re a comedian because 9 times out of 10 they will be a dickhead and say either: “You? Say something funny then?” or “Are you serious? But you haven’t been funny all night?” or “I’ll come to one of your gigs and heckle you!”

Now I just tell people I’m a plumber. I've noticed that people at parties are far less interested in following up the 'what do you do' conversation with plumbers. They rarely heckle them or question whether they can actually unclog a pipe. If I met a plumber at a party I would ask them loads of questions. Like 'how do I stop my sink from overflowing?' or 'how do you know the host?'

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 am not a fan. I know some comics who when they are having a bad gig get angry at an audience. I admire that. When I’m dying I tend to think, ‘yeah, your instincts were right.’

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

From stand up it depends week to week. Sometimes loads sometimes very little. But all in, I earn enough to pay my bills and see a film at the cinema. I’m quite happy with that and consider myself lucky, but I’d take a bit more money so that I could afford more Revels to go with the popcorn.

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

Luck is very important I think. But you do have to have done all the work. I totally believe the ten thousand hours thing. You need to have done your job for ten thousand hours then when the ‘luck’ arrives, you are ready to make the most of it. I think the last pilot I did in the US was down to luck. I think I went into the audition at a certain point in the day when they were so bored of the same old thing that when I walked in and did it with an English accent and completely weirdly I think they were just glad for the change. If I’d walked in a week earlier I think they would have thought I was mad.

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’m afraid I’m a self-harmer (emotionally, not with knives, but full respect to those who do*). Also, golf has always looked so boring to me. It’s basically a very long walk with some people and I’d worry I’d run out of conversation and we’d do seven holes in uncomfortable silence.

* I'm using the oft maligned form of irony here which more often than not is misinterpreted in print so let me be clear; I do not wish anyone to harm themselves, animals or the planet and if you are in such pain as to want to, I hope you are seeking professional help for it.

12. Who is your favourite person ever and why – not including family or friends or other comedians?

Jim Henson. He was a saint. I think what he did with his work is truly inspirational and magic and perfect and something to aspire to. I love everything he created and it works at whatever age you are at. The Muppet Christmas Carol remains one of the five greatest films ever made and contains the greatest performance of Michael Caine’s career. Jim Henson is also the only idol I have left who hasn’t been revealed to be a paedophile or a rapist. Fingers crossed that continues to be the case.

13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).

I’m afraid I don’t. I am so bad that once stuff has been in the tumble dryer, it just stays there and I get dressed from straight out the drum. I have very little interest in clothes and housekeeping to my shame. But I am very clean myself for the record. I shower at least twice a day. Or more. I have OCD. I’ve said too much.

Brett Goldstein: What Is Love, Baby Don't Hurt Me is at The Hackney Attic 07/10/17 as part of the Upstream Comedy Festival. (



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