Edinburgh Fringe Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Steve N Allen: Page 2 of 2

Edinburgh Fringe Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Steve N Allen

6. What do your parents think of your job?

 

I come from a long line of miners so they were happy that I don't have a job lifting rock for a living. My father has dementia now and one thing he remembers about me is that, as he puts it, I tell dirty jokes on TV. He says it with such a smile that I think he's happy about it.

 

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

 

The driving. It's several hours on the road to do one hour on stage. I read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers where he explains the 10,000-hour rule. That means years before I become a passable stand-up comedian I would have become a great taxi driver.

 

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'm OK. I spend a lot of my time and energy doing things to make people laugh or entertain them, and that's not a bad thing to be putting out into the universe.

 

I don't watch back my own work much or listen back to my radio comedy. I suppose it's because I've heard my jokes before. That's why I really enjoy the moments on stage where you're nowhere near the script, just reacting to the moment because than whatever I saw is new to me too.

 

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

 

I get by. The bills get paid and once a year that self-assessment bill crops up and I go back to having to use up loyalty card points to eat.

 

If I could double it or maybe treble it I'd be a very happy comedian. If I could multiply it by ten you'd probably never hear from me again.

 

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

 

It's hugely important. It's shocking how being funny isn't the best indicator of success. We all know of loads of acts who are great but they never get the breaks.

 

I suppose it's because there are loads of funny people wanting to fill the gaps, so the thing that lets some succeed where others don't must be some random chance.

 

I've had luck. We made the first pilot for The Mash Report back in 2014 and the TV channels weren't interested. The, as luck would have it, Trump got elected and Brexit happened, as those things helped relaunch my career. Lucky, eh?

 

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 the second. I see it in myself, where I can spend so long replaying gigs in my head. The good news is, a few weeks after most gigs, I know exactly what I should have done. It's a shame the audience aren't there in my head to see it.

 

It's in my nature to worry and obsess. Plus, I can't play golf, so it would be a waste if I were one of those happy comedians.

 

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

 

It's probably my music teacher from when I was doing A-levels. I know that sounds like I'm going to turn into one of those musical acts, don't worry, I can't sing.

 

Other than all of the music stuff he taught me I got the lesson that it's OK to find your own path. Other people will try to tell you what you should do, what you should like. They're not always doing it for bad reasons, but ultimately you have to do what's good for you.

 

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).

 

So tidy. My obsessive nature means I like things to be symmetrical. At university we were taught group theory which basically meant I learned even more symmetry to be obsessed with. So I like things neat and ordered. I also watched a lot of Marie Kondo on Netflix so now I hardly own anything, which makes it easy to be neat. (He says, sat in a room that looks so bare I could probably file a crime report.)

Picture credit: Zeppotron

 

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