Interview with Joe Barnes, Harry Michell and Abi Tedder.
CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
Joe: As a three we have only actually been gigging together since May so it’s all come together rather nicely in time for the fringe. I spent two years as part of the Leeds Tealights and this is my fourth fringe.
Harry: Abi and I spent three years with the Cambridge Footlights. This is my fifth fringe.
Abi: What Harry said!
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
Joe: I think it’s fair to say this is more understated than about wacky characters. There’s a fair amount of unresolved tension and deliberate awkwardness going on throughout the show. We are sat on three chairs performing out front to the audience for the whole show. It’s very stripped back!
Abi: Minor Delays is a ‘comedy-wig free zone’ – no costumes, no props: it’s back to basics.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
Joe: I think the show’s been influenced by sketch acts like Cowards and Man Stroke Woman. It’s about going for something funny and very real.
Abi: I’m influenced by Victoria Wood, Julie Walters, Woody Allen, Izzard etc – I think we all like comedians that are also good actors and can portray real people and real situations.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
Joe: I always acted but at University I joined the Leeds Tealights and that’s how it all properly started. The whole process is really exciting – you never really perform exactly the same show as it’s changing all the time depending on the audience you get on the day.
Harry: I want to be a film maker, so comedy sort of took me away from that in a great way. It’s taught me a whole lot more about telling stories and making people laugh than I could ever have wanted.
Abi: I always wanted to go into comedy. I studied hard to get in to Cambridge just to join the Footlights!
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
Joe: I ask Harry to do it.
Harry: For this one I’d think about what I wanted the show to be examining, what themes I wanted to bubble through, then I’d exaggerate those themes in silly situations to hide my pain and grief.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
Joe: The nerves tend to kick in for me a good hour before the whole thing starts which makes me an absolute joy to be around. The whole process of putting a show together though is greeeat.
Harry: For me that just boils down to good gigs and bad gigs. When a gig goes well I want to be a comedian forever, when it goes badly I want to be a chef or something.
Abi: Harry’s right – it’s the uncertainty of being a comedian. I think the travelling round is hard and the competitiveness between comedians, but when a show goes well this stuff is all forgotten.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
Joe: You can’t really ask for more than an audience that’s really up for being entertained to be honest! (They must also laugh; I must stress that).
Harry: The right side of tipsy is always good.
Abi: A really ‘up for it’ audience is always ideal, but sometimes it’s nice to turn around an audience that weren’t sure to begin with. When an audience comes round and goes from minor hostility to being totally on board – that’s incredibly satisfying.
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?
Joe: Sketch comedy doesn’t tend to attract that many hecklers so we’ve been rather lucky as far as that’s concerned. So far anyway…
Harry: Yeah, not many heckles.
Abi: Our show isn’t particularly hecklesome. Maybe we’ve jinxed it though…
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
Joe: Just bladdy go for it guyyysss!
Harry: Make sure you take advice from people you know and trust. Trust me.
Abi: Make sure to drink water – hydration is very important.
Minor Delays will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe from 1st-25th August (not 11th) at the Gilded Balloon at 3pm (1hour). Tickets