Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Paul F Taylor: Page 2 of 2

What do your parents think of your job?

My dad is really supportive. I think he genuinely respects that I’ve taken a risk and chosen to do a thing that I truly enjoy rather than feeling trapped in the 9 to 5 rat race. My mum only saw me do a couple of gigs before she passed. It was early days in my career back then, but I think she could see my passion for it and was always so supportive. Sometimes I feel sad that she can’t see where I am now as an act because I think she would probably enjoy it far more. She introduced me to the work of Steve Martin and Richard Pryor. Trying to make her laugh like she did to those guys is basically the reason why I do this.

What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?

How doing what you love means you don’t see those you love. Social events are traditionally held on the total unreasonable Friday and Saturday nights rather than the far more comedian friendly Monday afternoons.

I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?

Sometimes doing this you forget how far you’ve come, because you’re always focusing on the next hurdle to overcome. Then sometimes you take stock at really odd times. Recently I was on stage mid set-up and I had an odd out of body experience where the 14 year old comedy fan me, who used to lie on his bed listening to comedy CDs, was suddenly in my body, and he’s was with me on stage thinking “Cool, we can really do this!”.

I feel the best is yet to come from me, but for now making that guy happy is good reward for the hours of work I’ve put in.

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

Obviously, I would love to earn more. I crave stability, it can be really stressful covering all your outgoings when you choose to make comedy your primary source of income. I think the rules have changed in the past 10 years and it’s very difficult to make a living from being a circuit comedian unless you’re one of the ultra-reliable mass appeal acts that the big clubs book without thinking, that coupled with the rise of free entry or pay what you want clubs, and the expectation of audiences that they can see your content on line for free takes its toll. That’s why I’m looking into cooking crystal meth on the side.

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

I think there is definitely an element of luck in getting seen by someone who can totally change your future. However, being lucky is only a part of it. There are some who’ve been lucky but haven’t been able to back it up with the work ethic. Once you get that opportunity it’s about what you do with it, and you have to have done the hard work and graft to make that opportunity really count. I don’t really feel like I’ve had any really massive lucky breaks yet, as I see it, everything I’ve done up to this point is preparation.

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 don’t believe I’m a tortured artist, or a golfer really. I do comedy because it scratches an itch I have. I genuinely enjoy crafting something unique that surprises people. Sure, like many others I’ve had problems in my life and low moments but I’m working through it all with a smile on my face because I love the craft. If anything, I feel I’m somewhere in the middle. Perhaps an anxious caddy?

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

Tough one this, Ok, I’m going to go with film director Ben Mallaby. It’s probably cheating because he is a good friend of mine, but he isn’t family and he isn’t a comedian so I’m going with him. The guy is truly exceptional at what he does, never takes the easiest route and he always wants to surprise people with what he does next, but most importantly, he has so much fun doing what he does that it breeds such joy in those who working around him.

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).

They’re a mess. Creases in t-shirts are meaningless to me, much to my wife’s disappointment.

I do hope you and your girlfriend can work through this revelation.

 

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