Edinburgh Festivals – August 23rd, 2011

You spend quite a bit of time podcasting these days. What’s the appeal?

      The appeal is no showbiz. No meetings, no notes, no suggestions – just direct communication between me and the listener. It is free to download, and it is portable and worldwide.

Why did you decide to call your podcast The Smartest Man in the World?

      It is a joke based on my own supercilious personality. My friend Phil Beauman told me to call it that, and I listened for once.

What should people expect?

      Topical satire, knob gags, drinking, and tears. Then I start the show.

Are podcasts like blogs for stand-ups?

      No. Are newspapers like iPads for the elderly? Kidding. Podcasts are usually quite specific and sincere, that’s why people are responding so well to them.

You’ve worked as an actor, a talk-show host, a comic and on TV, stage, radio, and film – what do you most enjoy doing?

      Podcasting and Set List with Paul Provenza, the improvised stand-up show, are the most fun I have had in years. Acting and all that is great, but the agents and managers in Hollywood really harsh my mellow. They think they know what real people like and are like, and yet they have an assistant place phone calls for them.

How does Set List compare to other forms of improv?

      It places the audience squarely with the comedian. They want you to succeed, and when they see the degree of difficulty they are wildly supportive. It is for me the real deal of improv because we aren’t asking for suggestions, we are just brewing instant comedy. The challenge is how far and how imaginative can one be.

What are your favourite memories of the Edinburgh Fringe?

      Barging into the Doug Anthony All Stars show with 100 people, then singing Your Cheatin’ Heart. Having a guy have a heart attack at my show then sending me an apology. Getting my stuff stolen from Bannerman’s pub then having construction workers find it in a skip and return it to me. Going to a chip shop not believing as they ran out of fish. Any restaurant by David Ramsden: he is a treasure. Being taxied up Arthur’s Seat, very high, by Bob the crazy taxi driver while Malcolm Hardee yelled: “Watch the road, Bob.”

Back To The Articles Archive