CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
SA: 3 years and 11 months – not that I’m counting!
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
SA: Funny I would hope! I find it really hard to deconstruct my style but I think a combination of observational and storytelling probably sums it up well.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
SA: Pryor who was an absolute genius. Chappelle kills me always. Deborah Frances-White has been a strong influence too.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
SA: This may sound silly, but I never thought of it as a possibility for me. I’ve always written comedy and thought that it would be great to be a writer. Until I discovered the circuit I genuinely never considered this as a viable career option. I enjoy amusing others and saying ‘I’m just kidding’ has got me out of a few sticky situations and so I guess I owe a lot to comedy for that!
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
SA: It varies, sometimes I start with small bullet points and expand, other times I start big and edit it down.
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?
SA: Currently stand-up is something I do part-time, it’s my passion and creative outlet. I have a sensible job which no doesn’t influence the material much although that may be more to do with the secrecy clause in my contract rather than the lack of inspiration.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
SA: I think the most enjoyable part is making people laugh and being inspired with new ideas. It’s fun to meet your audience and get their feedback first-hand. I think the frustrating part can be when people take it a little too seriously.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
SA: I like audiences who are up for it and who are not easily offended.
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?
SA: Fortunately I spent a long while not having really been heckled, but to go from not really being heckled to a guy once asking me to get my tits out was a rather steep learning curve. I don’t particularly remember responding. My issue with heckles is that I usually figure out the best comebacks about 2 days too late! Saying that, as stand-up is a collaborative art-form I have learned to view heckles as a good thing where audiences want to have their say and get involved. As long as it isn’t in the middle of a fundamental set-up or coming in just before a punchline I think it can be funny if they’re a good sport and can handle a rebuttal.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
SA: Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy it. It’s a very unique and exciting vocation that allows you to air your voice and also to have the ‘undivided’ attention of so many at once. It should be fun, and as cliched as it sounds, don’t give up.