CB: How long have you been gigging in stand-up?
AF: I’ve been doing stand up for pretty much exactly 3 years. I don’t mean to be weirdly specific but yeah, like 1090 days. I’m not much of a rememberer of things but I remember that apparently.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
AF: It’s quite weird. Not in an overly alienating way i don’t think but just not very conventionally put together. Kind of like if you got a bed from Ikea but used the bits to make a futon. It’s got all the bits to be a bed but it’s put together in a different way and the result is a bit lumpier and less widely appreciated.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
AF: I just like comedians that take comedy to a place I’ve not seen it go before. I’m a big Tony Law fan just because what he does is ridiculous but he’s stuck with it and it’s at an amazing place of effortless brilliance right now. Reggie Watts always blows my mind a bit. Louis CK is good but that’s not really news. Doctor Brown is incredible and I’ve got a substantial soft spot for the DO’D. I try not to get influenced too much but it’s inevitable I will be and if it’s any of those guys that have said influence it can only be good for me as far as I’m concerned
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
AF: Yeah. I remember my teacher in primary school mentioning a comedian. I asked her what one was, she said someone that tells jokes for a living and I thought that sounded amazing.
CB: How do you go about writing your material
AF: I don’t like writing. I produce a lot of material but it’s almost all in my head. I tend to develop bits of stand up by going on stage with a loose concept of what I want to say and filling in the gaps on the spot. Some bits are good right away, some take a few attempts, lots don’t work but that’s fine.
I think I could almost definitely polish my set substantially if I sat down and wrote it all out and stuff but even writing that admission was pretty boring to me. For me comedy is an exercise in maximum enjoyment, I do comedy because I love it and I want to produce my comedy in an equally enjoyable way. Writing bores me, I don’t have the attention span. It means my comedy is scatterbrained and discordant sometimes but so am I so I really like that. The only time I’d want to be polished on stage would be when I feel like I’m polished as a person and I’m really not. I’m a shambles and so is my comedy. That’s the way I like it.
CB: Do you gig as a stand-up full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
AF: I’d love to gig full time but I work as a teaching assistant to pay the bills as it is. I think it’s widely accepted that kids say funny things so some of those things may as well be in the set. I also like to be quite personal at times with my stand up so I mine my experiences quite a lot for material. So yeah I guess there’s a bit of influence but I wouldn’t say my style would be any different in an alternative profession, I’d just talk about a different job in the same way.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the open mic comedy circuit?
AF: I’m not really one to get very frustrated but competitions can rile me up a bit. Probably because I haven’t won any. I have quite a thick skin though so I enjoy a competitive edge to comedy sometimes because regardless of the outcome my self esteem is likely to remain untouched, it’s just a shame my love of competing doesn’t translate into an ability to thrive in competitive situations.
The most enjoyable bits are definitely the people and the good gigs. There’s no feeling in the world like when you smash a gig, it’s awesome and I’ve also met some absolutely fantastic people through comedy that I consider to be great friends so that’s all very enjoyable.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
AF: I like to perform to an open minded audience. I’m quite young and bedraggled looking so audiences can sometimes form an idea of me before I’ve spoken, I like a crowd that waits and listens before they make any decisions about me. Whether that decision is good or bad I don’t mind, as long as it’s all about the comedy and not my age or jeans or other irrelevant little superficialities.
CB: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started gigging? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
AF: I get heckled every now and then. I don’t mind it. Obviously it derails the comedy but my stuff is almost perpetually riding the edge of the rail anyway so it’s not much of a blow. It’s a good chance to test your wits a bit and experience something out of the ordinary because every heckler is different in their own little cute ways.
When I first started out I did a gig in a social club which was full of fairly burly working class men. I made most of them laugh except one. After about 6 minutes a joke about unicorns pushed him too far and he smashed his pint on the ground, stood up, shouted “I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND” and left. My favourite heckle by far.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
AF: Dunno. Not sure I’m in a place to give advice, if I had any good stuff I’d follow it myself. I’d definitely recommend comedy, it’s my favourite thing in the world but as for going about it that’s all down to the person. Just do whatever you think is funny, keep the faith and eventually you’ll find people that agree with you. That’s what I’m doing anyway. Hopefully it works out.