CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
BC: Around two and a half years.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
BC: I write painstakingly well-constructed songs with jokes in them. I then sing them at a keyboard or with a guitar. Occasionally I say words in between the songs, though not if I can avoid it.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
BC: I’m a huge fan of David O’Doherty and Flight of the Conchords, but I guess the biggest influences would probably be Mitch Benn and Tim Minchin, in the sense that I try to write really good songs and the jokes are all in the lyrics – as opposed to the music ‘being’ the joke (as with a Bill Bailey mash up, for example). I’d love to be more influenced by Flight of the Conchords, but there’s only one of me.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
BC: Actually no, I’ve always been a musician and songwriter – I didn’t know I could write funny lyrics until I tried it – though thinking about my teenage years, I was always interested in comedy and had books of comedy scripts, and wrote sketches for revues at university. I also remember writing a humorous poem when I was about 6. Something about a tooth falling out and hitting a piano key. Can’t remember what happened after that (in the poem I mean, not my life).
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
BC: Pain, sweat, more pain, staring at blank page, tearing out hair, crashing out on the sofa, chipping away, fashioning something, wondering if it’s any good, not knowing if it’s funny, then playing it in public for the first time and discovering that it’s NOT JUST YOU (though sometimes it is, and the song gets quietly ditched).
CB: Do you gig full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
BC: I would love to gig more than I do – but I don’t consider it a hobby. In my main job I write music and songs for cartoons and children’s telly, which is literally the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. The only downside is I get stuck in the studio all day, and when I’m busy I don’t get time to write my own material. So in an ideal world, I would like to be doing more comedy, more live performance, and a bit less TV work (don’t tell TV I said that).
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
BC: Well, it might be obvious, but the buzz of performing is the enjoyable part; that and the groupies (there are no groupies). The frustrating part is that there are no groupies.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
BC: Good question. I like to think most of my material works across a broad spectrum, but my favourite audiences are probably middle-class, and educated to degree level (is that wrong?). I like geeks, nerds and academic types.
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?
BC: It’s quite hard to heckle in the middle of a song, so I have that advantage. People are generally lovely – one person said ‘you’re so charming’. I said she should go back to heckling school, because she wasn’t scaring anyone. Someone shouted out ‘I love you’ during an intro to my song about computer passwords. Which I thought was lovely, until I realised he was answering my question about the most popular computer passwords….
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
BC: I don’t really feel I’ve earned the right to give advice – I guess I would say: gig more than I have; write more than I have; do something only you can do.