After a sold-out and critically acclaimed run at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Carl Donnelly is set to embark on a UK tour, Bad Man Tings, stopping by at Camberley Theatre on 23 February.
We had a chat with Carl about the upcoming show, veganism and his strangest audience member encounter to date.
TIOT: How did you get into comedy; has it always been your dream or did you fall into it?
Carl: I totally fell into it. I had never even seen live comedy until my early 20’s but once I did see it I just had a feeling I needed to give it a go. My first gig was my first time ever onstage doing any form of performance and it was like a film in that the moment I got onstage I knew that stand up was what I was meant to do with my life. Everyone I know thought I was mad! All of my friends have proper jobs so they assumed I was having some sort of crisis as was in a job I hated. Little did they know I was actually making the right decision.
TIOT: Where do you draw your influences from?
Carl: It sounds like a cop out but I get them from everywhere. I never write material based on what I think I should talk about but from what is going on in my life or what I’m interested in at that point. This show was a weird one as normally my shows are predominantly stories and in the last few years i’ve had a lot going on so there was rich pickings. This year my life was actually quite stable and nice so it was fun getting to talk about more upbeat stuff (like my new penchant for gardening and my weird love of Kanye West).
TIOT: We’ve noticed you’ve done a few shows around our area, what is it about Surrey & South West London that keeps you coming back?
Carl: I grew up in South West London so its my old stomping ground. I grew up in Tooting Broadway so naturally when me and my friends reached drinking age we started hitting the clubs of Kingston. Many a night was spent in such horror stories as The Works nightclub or Options (which later became Oceana). We never ventured as far out as Guildford but once I started doing comedy, I was still living South West so gigs in the Surrey were nice and convenient. My knowledge of areas on and off the A3 is second to none.
TIOT: We actually saw you in Kingston last year warming up for Edinburgh Fringe Festival! What response did you get from the festival and have you made any changes as a result?
Carl: The response from audiences was great. I don’t read reviews (or anything about myself) so I’ve no idea what critics thought. By the time I got to the Fringe It was probably my most joke heavy show ever so in terms of consistency over the month it was definitely my best. The tour version has loads of new stuff in and is a bit more relaxed as doesn’t have to squeeze into the 60 minute fringe slots.
TIOT: We’re looking forward to your pre-show podcast featuring an audience member! What’s the strangest reaction you’ve ever had from someone in the audience?!
Carl: The strangest ever was at the fringe in 2012 I was telling a story from my childhood and mentioned a friend I’d not seen or had any contact from in twenty years. For some reason I said his full name and I heard a gasp from someone in the audience so I asked what had happened and it turned out he was sitting in the second row. It really threw me and I got quite emotional as had genuinely lost contact (he’d been in prison I found out post show). What is even weirder is that he’d only found out I was a stand up a couple of days before. His girlfriend had taken him to Edinburgh for a birthday present which happened to be during the fringe. His brother then told him to look out for my name as he knew what I do now. They bought tickets to the show and next thing he knows I’m talking about him! Weird.
TIOT: As a dedicated vegan, can we expect to see you at Kingston’s Vegan Festival on March 25th?
Carl: I’m actually away that weekend annoyingly but if I was around I would definitely be there as tend to go to any of the vegan festivals I can. I’ve performed at a few which is always weird. It’s odd performing to a room of people who totally agree with you on your lifestyle. Normally, if I talk about being a vegan onstage, the comedy comes from me being either the only one (or one of two or three max) in the room so its fun playing around with being the outsider in that situation. With a vegan audience, I lose that weirdness.
TIOT: Lastly, in 3 single words describe what people can expect from your Bad Man Tings show.
Carl: Really Excellent Comedy!
If you fancy seeing the hilarious Carl Donnelly on his hotly anticipated ‘Bad Man Tings’ Tour, click here for more information and tickets.
Whilst fellow comic and partner Chris Martin on the aptly named podcast Carl Donnelly and Chris Martin Comedy Podcast (included in the Guardian’s ‘top 10 comedy list’ and over 50,000 followers) is in Los Angeles, Carl is on a mission to fill the void and presents fans with a unique opportunity to guest host on an episode in each town he is set to perform in. If you believe you possess the wit and charisma to take on the task, Tweet @CarlDonnelly or visit www.carlandchrispodcast.com to take part.