CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
J & A: As well as performing individually, we have been writing/gigging together as a double-act, Twins, for the past year and a half. We started performing comedy in 2010 when we were both cast in The Leeds Tealights, University sketch comedy group. Since then, we have managed to get rid of the other members, whittling it down to just the two of us, so we could afford to spend more on props. And by props, we mean other cast members*.
*No, we do mean props.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
J & A: Our most recent review described us as ‘consistently inconsistent’ which probably goes some way to describe what it is we’re trying to do.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
A: I’m not sure which comedians directly influence me, but I think Sheeps, Tim Key, Nick Helm & Mae Martin are all amazing. I’d like Mae to MC my life.
J:I like Louis CK and Dave Chappelle. They both grew up in poor areas of the States, so I can relate to them.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
A: No. I went through phases of wanting to be a policewoman, a chef and then a lawyer. I suppose comedy is the middle of that Venn diagram.
J: Yes. Ever since I was a child. I only applied to university because I wanted to go to Cambridge and be in the Footlights like all my heroes. When I wasn’t clever enough I went to Leeds and joined the Tealights. I probably shouldn’t have told them that in the interview.
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
A: We write down things which we think are funny, then talk about them together and eventually try and write something which resembles a joke.
J: We see. We are inspired. We create.
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?
J & A: Unfortunately we both have full-time ‘proper’ jobs too.
A: I worked at a gallery for a mad Australian woman which was good comedy fodder, but I am too scarred to go into details. Before that, working as a waitress was similarly useful for material- everything is useful… The more jobs you do, the more you realise that everyone is completely mad.
J: I work in marketing.If you write on KFC’s Facebook, I’m the guy who writes back. I spend all day talking to maniacs.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
A: There are frustrating elements but it is great being able to hang out with your friends in a pub under the guise of a career. My brother is a doctor, so speaking to him puts things slightly into perspective; I mean, he could be doing something much more worthwhile.
J: Sometimes dealing with all the fan mail can be a bit of a burden. Twist: there is no fan mail.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
A: The audiences who go to The Invisible Dot are usually great to perform to; they tend to be comedy savvy hipsters. The nicest audiences are often students who are very enthusiastic (and drunk).
J: Any audience that are actually up for a laugh. So many seem to think of you as some sort of coin operated laugh machine. Guys, if you’re not ready to have fun, you’re not going to.
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?
J & A: We’ve been heckled a bit. You tend to get it less with sketch than you do with stand-up.
A: I did a weird gig in Brighton where an old man shouted ‘good joke!’ after a punchline I did. It’s nicer when people just laugh at the jokes.
J: My favourite heckle was at a music festival. A girl of about 10 ran into the tent in the middle of my set and yelled “Dad! How come you never pick me up from school anymore?” Then she ran away laughing and screaming before I could say anything. I mean, she’s a genius.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
A: Don’t do it. There are too many comedians already.
J: Yeah, stay the hell out of our way.
Twins is comprised of Annie McGrath & Jack Barry and they will be performing at Laughing Horse @ The Blind Poet from 31st July – 24th August 2014 at 4pm (50minutes). More info.