CB: What is your show about?
ZCM: My show is about when a terrible offensive sexist standup gets in trouble for being terribly offensive and then tries to do a silent Gaulier clowning show that won’t offend anyone, which may be more offensive than his stuff in the first place, losing his mind and himself in the meantime and becoming a parody of himself. So, essentially it’s about a snake eating its own tail, or one of those cereal labels with a picture of a kid holding the cereal box, which has a picture of that kid holding a cereal box which has a picture of a kid holding a cereal box… It’s also about gender and online bullying and all those other buzzwords that are trending right now. It’s very “now”. Tickets still available.
CB: Why did you want to write this show?
ZCM: I’ve been working with this character Dave for a few years, this sort of old school, racists, sexist, idiot comedian persona. And it seems like in the last couple of years, that kind of guy has really started to feel a lot of backlash. Because of the internet, and the current conversations around race and gender and feminism, you can’t make the kind of jokes you used to and get away with it. So I was thinking about how Dave would be dealing with that and I suddenly thought ‘oh, he’d probably go to Gaulier’ and then I laughed for about a week at that image and it snowballed from there.
Also, I haven’t done stand up as myself for about 5 years now. The last gig I did, the guy on before me lost it, like LOST IT, Michael Richards Kramer style, and started yelling about rape on stage, to the degree that he was pointing at a girl in the front row, describing the ways he imagined she had been assaulted. It was, needless to say, pretty awful. And then I got up! Woo! The audience was traumatised, I had a terrible time of course, and then spent the next months imagining all of the ways I could have totally owned it. Too late, of course. This show, I am beginning to realise, may be 5 years of comebacks built up from that last gig…
It’s interesting and meaty and there was a lot of stuff I wanted to talk about, but also, I just find the idea of a standup trying to do a clowning show and failing really really really funny.
CB: What comedians and comedy writers have impacted on the way you develop your show structures and material?
ZCM: The Young Ones for sure. I love how totally idiotic they were. That messy anarchic thing just blew my mind when I was younger and kind of started my obsessive search for rules to break. Ab Fab, for the characters and the stupidity and I also love stand up. I remember watching people like Sarah Kendall on TV and falling in love with the craft of it. Yes, the “craft”. I’m a real nerd for comedy. A nice pullback reveal? Yes please. A good call back? Delicious. Ok, sorry, I’ve grossed myself out now.
CB: What is your advice for new comedians and writers who want to write their first show?
ZCM: Um. Just write it. Write all the time. Bomb a lot. Use words like “craft”. Regret it, but leave it in anyway. Don’t listen to me. Just write what you think is funny mate!
Zoe Coombs Marr will perform her new show Trigger Warning at the Edinburgh Festival. Tickets