CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
RO: Well I’ve been gigging regularly from around 2011, but my first gig was in 2007. My 10th gig was in 2010; you get the idea.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
RO: Silly and self-deprecating. My finale is currently quite sad, and I do try to evoke a feeling of sympathy. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting an ‘awwww’ instead of a laugh.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
RO: Zach Galifianakis, Tim Key and Jack Dee are probably the main ones. John Kearns and Pat Cahill are excellent. But I’m probably most influenced by my friends Will and Paddy. They bully me into saying stuff all the time.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
RO: I’ve always wanted to do something funny, but I only discovered stand-up at university. I was relatively unaware of the art-form prior to that and mainly wanted to write sketches or play the funny parts in plays.
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
RO: I talk to myself and anything I find funny gets written down. It means it’s impossible to write in public places e.g Starbucks. I also have an extremely short attention span, so it’s usually for 20 minutes at a time.
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?
RO: Part-time hobby. I run a gig as well which takes up a fair bit of time. So it’s the 9-5, around 3 gigs a week and then Tickled Pig organising in between. My main job doesn’t really influence my material, much to my colleagues’ distress. “You should put this in your stand-up show” is something often said, invariably from one guy who knows sickipedia off-by-heart.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
RO: Enjoyable: the weird gigs which look as though they’ll be awful, but end up being great. Small, fun rooms (I’ve never really done a big room, apart from the ‘2nd largest event space in Kent’).
Frustrating: Worrying about how well you’re doing, rather than just having fun and doing what you love.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
RO: An audience that aren’t feeling self-conscious, packed in close and in a giggly mood. Around 60 of ’em will do. I’ve gigged a lot to students for the Tickled Pig Student Competition, and they’re always lovely.
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?
RO: Yes, I get heckled a lot; mostly about my height (“It’s supposed to be ‘stand-up’ comedy” Dan from Brighton). I’m not even that short. The best was from someone who farted halfway through my set. There is no heckle put-down that’s funnier than a fart, apart from maybe a bigger fart.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
RO: Write material that you like, not what you think the audience will like. The more truthful you are, the easier it is to write. Focus on your own thing, not on what others are doing. Have a good time. This is all stuff that I’ve been told by much wiser heads, and it’s helped a lot.