CB: What is your show about?
LC: It’s really about how I live my day-to-day life as someone with cerebral palsy who has to rely on other people to help me with things like dressing and shaving. I talk about what it means to me to live independently. However along the way it covers my 8 week stint in Scottish physical dance theatre (not an obvious career choice for a wheelchair user!), being impersonated by Daniel Radcliffe and what to do when 500 incontinence pads get mistakenly left on your doorstep!
CB: Why did you want to write this show?
LC: For a long time now I’ve really wanted to make a show about what it’s like to go through life relying on others to do personal tasks for you. Oops, as I typed that last sentence and read it back I realised how dodgy it sounds! I mean the kind of things I can’t do for myself. When I came up with the title ‘Independence’ back in January I had no idea just how topical it would be at the moment! There is a bit of politics in the show, but mostly I think this show is very personal to me. I’m probably the only comedian on the fringe who could deliver this material.
CB: What comedians and comedy writers have impacted the way you develop your show structures and material?
LC: I love a good call-back! I work hard to create a world within my shows where the same things keep coming back to bite me in the arse. I guess years of rewatching Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm have had an impact on me. My director Matt Holt yesterday said some of my indignant delivery in this show reminded him of Larry David, which I took as a big compliment. I was gutted with my last show, Moments of Instant Regret that a lot of people guessed the final reveal. Basically the show started with me recounting heckling Richard Herring years ago. Then throughout the show a foul-mouthed animated monkey called Chip, representing my inner voice would pop up and interrupt me. At the end it’s revealed that the voice of Chip is really Richard, thus I’ve made amends with him by letting him interrupt and heckle during my show. Of course, the problem was lots of people recognised Richard’s voice right from the start! But so far with this show, I’ve had people come up to me afterwards to say they didn’t see the final reveal coming which is a good sign.
CB: What is your advice for new comedians and writers who want to write their first show?
LC: Watch as much comedy as you possibly can. Think about what made you laugh and what devices and structures the writers used to achieve that. The downside of this is that, once you start analysing comedy, you find that less and less actually makes you laugh. I’m probably the last person you want in an audience nowadays as I hardly laugh at anything! I just sit there smiling and appreciating the writing.
Laurence Clark will perform his new show Independence at the Edinburgh Festival. Tickets