Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Barry Ferns

Barry Ferns is probably best known in comedy circles as one of the team behind Angel Comedy and the brilliant Bill Murray pub in north London - see answer 4. But lest we forget he is also a very good stand-up comedian, who has recently been gigging in America. Ferns returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with a new show about "what it is like to be the human being Barry Ferns living life in the 21st century." If he can fit that into an hour he surely deserves an award.

Barry Loves You is at Just The Tonic at The Tron from August 3 - 26. Tickets 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 try to take in the audience as much as possible, so that I can give them the best show possible. That’s why we’re all there – to create the best night for the most amount of people present. And then I give up the show to the comedy gods… as what will happen, will happen (and reliably does). 

2. What irritates you?

My own lack of perspective. And other people’s lack of perspective. And my lack of perspective on other people’s lack of perspective. And low blood sugar - that irritates the fuck out of me. Oh, and wool. 

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

I once chain sawed a fallen tree in half without understanding that there is kinetic energy in fallen wood. As I sawed through the branch, half the tree pivoted at about 45 degree angle. I was about 1mm away from losing most of my brain. 

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

I do hugely stupid things ALL the time. I am cursed with a blind excitement - which makes me get caught up in an idea, and that excitement is mixed with a naive inability to forward plan or see the risks. That means I find myself in predicaments that I wouldn’t in retrospect choose. These things include: Finding myself in the middle of the jungle in Burma without preparation. Buying crack cocaine out of politeness. Sharing a bed with people who assure me that they have no intentions towards me whatsoever. Oh, and taking out the lease on a Pub. 

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

The lack of understanding about what makes a gig and comedian successful. Even hardened comedy professionals believe there is such a thing as a good comedian or a bad comedian out of context. Good or Bad is always only respective of the audience present and the context of the gig. 

Interview continues here.


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