Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Ed Aczel

I’m sure someone has written a PhD on the genre of anti-comedy – the idea of laughter via an absence of conventional joke/punchline. And I presume they included Ed Aczel in it. After all, the Guardian called this deadpan genius “Britain’s greatest living anticomedian”. Aczel may look as if he is bumbling along, but as the cliche goes, it takes hard work to look this scatterbrained. I can’t quite see Aczel making it to Live at the Apollo, but, hey, wouldn’t it be great if he did.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Tom Allen

Smart stories? Check. Smart suit? Check. Household name? Why not? The eloquent, erudite Tom Allen has been on the cusp of breaking through for most of the decade and it finally looks as if he is having his moment. He has recently appeared on Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and The Great British Bake Off Extra Slice.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Abi Roberts

In February Abi Roberts gigged at the Moscow Comedy Club. Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran have appeared in the Russian capital, but Roberts claims to be the first English-speaking comic to gig there in Russian. Her show Anglichanka (‘Englishwoman’) is the story of her adventures in the capital during the 1990s, her love affair with the country and her overwhelming desire for Smetana and Tvorog (cottage cheese and creme fraiche).


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Al Porter

Al Porter is definitely going places.  Probably that primetime household name shiny-floored place. He certainly looks the part in his sharp suit and Leslie Crowther hairstyle. And he has the talent to go with it too. Still in his early twenties he is already a TV regular back home in Ireland and made a big impression when he appeared on Live at the Apollo last year. He certainly works hard too, squeezing more words into his set than most would use in a week.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Seymour Mace

Maybe it's when you don't give a toss about winning awards that you produce your best work. Seymour Mace has been delivering a particularly North-Eastern brand of offbeat nonsense (see also R Noble, V Reeves, B Mortimer) for over a decade now. This year he went up to the Edinburgh Fringe and performed at the Stand venue with a wilfully daft show entitled Niche As ****. And guess what, after all these years he was nominated for a Foster's Award.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Sam Simmons

2015 was Sam Simmons’ breakthrough year. He had always had a loyal cult following and had regularly picked up award nominations for his screwy comedy shows, but Spaghetti for Breakfast found him moving up through the gears. The wild unpredictability was still there but it was joined by both proper jokes and a personal back story that put his somewhat extreme behaviour onstage into context. He was a deserving winner of the Foster’s Comedy Award in Edinburgh.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Cariad Lloyd

Cariad Lloyd was nominated for a Foster’s Best Newcomer Award in 2011 and since then has also made a name for herself on the live scene, most notably with Austentatious, the highly skilled troupe who create a new Austen play at each performance. Lloyd is nothing if not diverse. She has been vocal about the tampon tax and created a character called Sanitary Bag Lady who shouted at men who might be disgusted by the mention of menstruation.

Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – John Early

John Early has been described as "endearingly honest and absurdly funny" by The New York Times, "a cross between Dennis the Menace and Christopher Guest" by PAPER Magazine and  "cute and young and blonde" by The Huffington Post. He'll be appearing soon in Neighbors 2 opposite Dave Franco, as well as the Netflix original series Love, executive produced by Judd Apatow. Early recently created and starred in a comedy special for Netflix, playing a variety of original characters, and he is a guest star in season five of HBO's Girls.


Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – John Robertson

I've had that John Robertson in the back of my lounge. A while back I was unable to go to his Dark Room show so he very kindly came to me to perform a bespoke intimate version. It was great fun but I am sure it is better when there is a crowd of people competing in what can only really be described as a live, immersive video game. If you like to indulge in funny, potentially scary choose-you-own-adventure activities this will be right up your street.


Interview: Matt Berry

I interviewed Matt Berry last month at Channel 4's offices near Victoria to tie in with the new series of Toast, which goes out on C4 on Wednesdays at 10.30pm. You can read the Evening Standard feature here, but this is a longer version. To be honest I found Berry rather frustratingly guarded.


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