CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
TM: We’ve performed in many different comedy and improv shows in the past, but as The Twins we have been gigging solidly for the past 2 years. In that time we’ve been really lucky to have filmed sketches for BBC3’s Live at the Electric and performed with some fantastic comedians including Nina Conti and Colin Hoult.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
TM: Our style of comedy has a very dark edge to it. A lot of it comes from a play between childish innocence and genuine horror; we are huge horror fans and have been influenced by classic to contemporary horror films. We are also fascinated by Victorian psychics and their supernatural showmanship. Having both trained in theatre, we bring this Vaudevillian theatrical feel to our hour long live show. All of these elements come together to create The Twins Macabre.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
TM: We both grew up watching Garth Marenghi, Nighty Night, The League of Gentlemen and Spaced, all of which have a black comedy edge and aren’t afraid to reference the horror genre as we do. It’s interesting that we both always loved dark comedy independently before we started working together.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
TM: We both trained in acting and musical theatre and have performed in many different capacities since graduating drama school. Comic characters have always stuck as a huge passion for us both. Writing and creating your own work allows you an incredible freedom. You can be your own boss, and if there’s no work around for you, you can make it!
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
TM: We met performing improv comedy shows, so a lot of our material comes about through improvisation and playing around. We often just have an idea for something that makes us both laugh, then we work around that by improvising and finding the dark edge to the sketch or song.
CB: Do you gig as a comedy performer full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
TM: In an ideal world performing would be our full-time job, at the moment though we do various jobs to pay the bills. We take influences from anywhere, so yes, there may be a few characters that crop up that bare a resemblance to people we’ve met in our day jobs. It works the other way around too – performing comedy gives you a good attitude in other forms of work – if you can get up in front of complete strangers and make them laugh, you can do most things!
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
TM: The most enjoyable part is definitely that you get to work with fantastic acts and comedians that you wouldn’t normally meet. There’s a real sense of camaraderie on the circuit. Previously when we’ve been working as actors/singers, you feel the industry is highly competitive and everyone has to be out for themselves. In comedy, every act has their own flair and quirks so it’s much more supportive. The most frustrating part is that sometimes gig organisers don’t quite know what they’re getting when they book us! If we go to a night with a lot of stand-ups who just need one microphone and they turn up in their own clothes not needing any prep, it can seem a bit of a shock that you have two fully costumed, fully made-up dead-looking children with lots of props and backing music! It’s a double-edged sword though – often it works in our favour that we stand out.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
TM: We love a lively audience that aren’t easily shocked or offended (for the more unnerving parts of our show). We have a bit of audience participation and it’s great when you get fun people who want to play as much as we do.
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?
TM: We generally don’t really get heckled as our audiences are probably too scared of what the Twins might do to them… just in case though, we have a couple of joint ‘psychic’ put-downs up our sleeves…
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
TM: It may be a cliché but hard work is key. No-one is going to give you anything without working for it. A nice bit of advice that was given to us whilst we were writing for BBC3: don’t write to please anyone – write what you think is funny and let the audience decide for themselves. You have to be prepared to gig and get yourselves out there, promote the hell out of yourself and take every opportunity!
The Twins Macabre will be performing their show ‘Small Mediums at Large’ at Pleasance Courtyard from 30th July – 25th August at 4:30pm (1 hour). Tickets