Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – John Pendal

If Who Do You Think You Are? doesn't come calling, why not go off and do it yourself? That is one of the premises of the new show from John Pendal. In We Are Family the dapper stand-up explores his family tree and discovers mutinies in the 1800s, arson in the 1900s and autism in the 2000s. He uses the results to try and answer life's big questions, such as, is it possible to get along with your dad after Brexit? 

John Pendal: We Are Family is at Gilded Balloon Teviot from August 1 - 27. Tickets here. 

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)?

Press a button on my watch, so that it vibrates when it’s time to wrap things up.

What irritates you?
Recently I had a day’s filming in a waffle house playing the part of a parent getting a teenager to eat their food. It clearly said waffle in the script – but we were served flat round discs. That’s a pancake, not a waffle. It really upset me.


What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
Jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet. I didn’t so much jump as roll out attached to an instructor and then wildly panic all the way down. Not my finest moment.

What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?
Back in 2003 I made a personal appearance as “International Mr Leather” at a bar in Belfast. They asked me to wear full leather – and I included my “International Mr Leather” leather waistcoat – which had “IML 2003” stencilled on the back … along with a Union Jack.

During the evening it was suggested I remove the waistcoat before I started a riot. That still keeps me awake at night.

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

There’s a comedy club which asks the audience on the way in if they’re happy being spoken to during the show – and if they are they wear a sticker. It’s insanely popular and sells out every month in advance.

So many people are scared of going to comedy clubs because they don’t want to be picked on, I’m constantly surprised more comedy nights don’t use this technique. (If you come to my show I promise I won’t pick on you.)

Interview continues here.


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