What inspired you to get into comedy? | The Big Ask

What inspired you to get into comedy?

The Big Ask

Watching Monty Python for the first time at a party at the neighbour's farm. A lot of info to get in. Being funny for love as a child. Tony Law, A Lost Show, Monkey Barrel, 15:00

I started out as a singer-songwriter. Some of my songs were funny, so I tried them out at a comedy club. I loved talking and getting laughs In Between the songs so much, I decided to see if I could do it without the guitar. So, one of the biggest inspirations for my getting into comedy was not wanting to carry an instrument around all the time. Myq Kaplan, All Killing Aside, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 21:15

I did it for a bet, no idea if I've won yet. Nick Page, Yes, That Nick Page, Apparently, Mash House, 16:50

Ricky Gervais's vast fortune. Stanley Brooks, AAA Stand-up at Underbelly, Underbelly Cowgate, 18:20

I worked behind the bar at the Glee Club in Cardiff for a while, and thought I'd give it a go. Seeing Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Return Letter To Richard Branson show made me want to do more story-led shows, though. Robin Morgan, Robin Morgan: Honeymoon, The Pear Tree, 16:00

Peter Kay. Never has anyone concealed the art so well - perhaps too well, even to the detriment of his being recognised as a real genius of the form. While making it seem like he’s just a confident chatterbox, his range is as good as any comic I’ve ever seen. He can communicate ideas with laser-beam precise language and dramatisation. He does a Nan going home early at a wedding party as ‘Yoda from Star Wars’, and for me it’s like someone broadcasting to you on your exact frequency - and the picture is so clear and precise it’s as if he literally formed it in your mind for you. No one would ever say it, but he’s also fantastically self-ironising and postmodern: he delivers one-liners at the top, and then dissects their cheesiness, thoroughly aware of the expectations people have about traditional comedy. When an act can literally change the way we talk about everyday life - and I think it is possible to talk about garlic bread, or biscuit dipping in terms of pre and post-Kay - then they achieved something quite special. Moon, Moon, Pleasance Attic, 21:30

The Doug Anthony All Stars. I idolised them when I was a kid in Australia, they were pure visceral subversive comedy anarchy. I knew all their material by heart. They showed me that if you don't sweat you haven't done a show. Last year I was lucky enough to meet my hero Tim Ferguson from DAAS, he is a bloody legend and inspired me to keep going. Nathan Lang, The Stuntman, Just The Tonic @ The Caves, 14:45

YouTube - Spending too much time binge watching stand-up specials and interviews with comedians meant the advice of 'just do it and keep going' stuck in my head so I have. Even though when I started I was dire at comedy I have kept trucking along and would hope I have now made it to the rank of acceptable. Struan Logan, Struan All Over the World, Counting House: Attic, 18:05

In 1995 my father gave my mother a Best of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band CD for her birthday. It was the first CD that we, as a family, owned. I was nine years old and the excitement was palpable. Three months later, when he gave her a CD player for Christmas, it reached fever pitch. I remember listening to it over and over again. I think the song Mr Apollo might still be the funniest thing I can think of, and I knew I wanted to do something like that. Douglas Walker, Douglas Walker Presents: Of Christmas Past, Underbelly Clover, 22:50

Margaret Cho, Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Tiffany Haddish, Natasha Leggero, Chelsea Peretti and any woman in comedy owning her voice as she conquers. Jake Howie, Read My Lips, Just the Tonic Caves, 21:30

Back in 2016 I was crowned winner of London's "Not Another Drag Competition". Before then I had never really performed in drag before. Every week of the competition we were set challenges, and one week we had to put together 15 minutes of material. I decided to do a stand-up routine where I performed a séance and contacted all my favourite dead celebrities, culminating with the spirit of Prince possessing a dildo, which I had to exorcise. Thoroughly. It was the first time I had tried stand-up, and it felt so natural and good, and the jokes just sort of spilled out of me. Oh - and people laughed! From that moment I was hooked. Georgia Tasda, Georgia Tasda Means Business, CC Blooms, 22:30

Jen Brister, after seeing here show many years ago and I thought if this is what comedy is I like it and I want to be friends with her! Ruth E. Cockburn, Love Letters From Blackpool, Summerhall, 14:40

Growing up, I assumed everyone could recite a two-hour Victoria Wood stand-up set or know every French and Saunders sketch, or every word of Blackadder. It's only when I got older that I realised maybe I was a bit more into comedy than other people. I eventually got into doing stand-up because I'd moved back in with my parents for a bit and, to be honest, I just needed to get out of the house. Emmy Fyles, Live Your Best Life, Hanover Tap), 13:15

My drama teacher at school always gave me the comedy parts, saying I had great comic timing, and she really encouraged that. She t old me to watch people like French & Saunders, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball so I could hone in on it. So Mrs Bray, along with the people she told me to watch, really inspired me to pursue comedy. Maisie Adam, Vague, Gilded Balloon 16:30

Ricardo Salami. A street performer I saw as a child who never knew he changed the course of my life forever. He since died, and I never got the chance to thank him. Hopefully he won't mind that I took his name and carried it with me on my adventures. Mat Ricardo, Mat Ricardo vs The World, Las Vegas Room, City Cafe, 12:30

A video cassette of Eddie Izzard. And Don Ward, the owner of the Comedy Store in Mumbai, refusing to let me leave without an audition. I'd come to do an article on him opening his club in India in 2010. Anuvab Pal, Empire, Pleasance Courtyard, 19:00

My dad, the comedian Mac McDonald and one of the funniest people I know, took me and my sister around the comedy circuit with a cabaret comedy act when I was 10 years old and I never looked back. Naomi McDonald, Naomi McDonald: Stardumb, Fireside, 15:45

Josie Long and my grandma; people who pull you into a story you wouldn't care to hear from anyone else Helen Duff, How Deep is Your Duff, The Hive, 21:00

> My late director, Frank McAnulty. I took an improv class at The Second City on a whim after seeing an online ad (they work!) and then got accepted into their conservatory. I presented a comedy song for our classes graduating sketch revue, and his excitement and investment in it (and in all of us) made me feel like I should continue with this comedy thing, even thought I still had no idea what it was. And now, many years later, that same song is in my musical comedy that I am bringing to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. So, thank you Frank! Anesti Danelis, Songs For A New World Order, Laughing Horse @ The Hanover Tap, 12:00

The seriousness of life Juliette Burton, Butterfly Effect, Gilded Balloon, 16:15

The worrying thing is I have absolutely no idea. I did sketches in s Ian Smith, Craft, Underbelly: Buttercup, 17:15

wful clients at my last desk job, John Pendal, We Are Family, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 17:30 A

A free CD that was on the front of Loaded magazine with clips of stand up on it. I remember the routines to this day. Brett Goldstein What Is Love Baby Don't Hurt Me, Pleasance: Beneath, 19:00

Jack Daniels and Desperation. Garrett Millerick, Sunflower, Tron, 17:00

The man who mistook me for Reg D Hunter at a gig and then wet himself when he heard my Oldham accent. If it all fails I could be a tribute act Che Burnley, Elvis Was Racist?, Bar Basis, 21:30

Dave Chappelle and the Goon Show Pierre Novellie, See Novellie, Hear Novellie, Speak Novellie, Pleasance Courtyard, 19:15

comedian came to my uni to put on a comedy writing workshop and there was an open mic night at the end of it, and from then I was hooked. I bumped into that comedian who put on the workshop in Edinburgh a few years later, and I thanked her for getting me into comedy, and she said: 'OK, well I probably got paid for it anyway” and walked away. Cool! David McIver, David McIver Is a Nice Little Man, 14:30 A

I've done lots of grown up jobs. I've run a successful business. But I'm rubbish with authority and I'm always distracting people from their work. There's nothing else left for me to do. Plus, I saw Suzie Ruffell's show a couple of years ago and she made it look do-able. Sam Fraser, Stand Up, Weather Girl!, Counting House, 19:45

A combination of Mike Leigh's mid 70s TV films and the adverts at the back of The stage And TV Today Graham Fellows, Completely out of Character, Maggie's Chamber @ The Free Sisters, 16:30

Intellectual bravado and physical cowardice. Lee Apsey, CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 15:35

I grew up watching comedians like Frank Skinner, Lee Evans, Dave Allen, Spike Milligan etc. but it never crossed my mind that I could be a comedian until I worked at Up The Creek. I owe that place everything. Rich Wilson, Still Relevant, Sneaky Pete's, 18:15

I had years of people telling me I was funny/weird and that I should try stand-up, but I had never really been exposed to it outside of TV. I had a break up that made me finally say fuck it and I went to do it. What a cliche! It was actually a weird feeling of relief finding comedy and when I looked out at that first crowd I realised it had been in my heart all along. Matthew Highton, Insufficient Memory, Heroes at Dragonfly, 20:40

interned at a radio station during college. The breakfast DJ is a stand up comedian called Bernard O'Shea. He suggested I do comedy, I batted it off and he organised a five minute support slot. I thad two weeks to write five minutes. Most of my first set was about my nan drinking hot tub water with a straw by accident and the IRA's love of denim. I was so nervous and the adrenaline rush was amazing. I fell in love with comedy instantly and I've been chasing that same rush and never came close. Alison Spittle, Worrier Princess, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Balcony, 17:15 I

I wasn’t inspired, I was cursed. A witch I think. Terrible business. I thought it was a free potato, but it turned out it belong to her. John Luke Roberts, All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy!, Assembly: Studio Five, 17:30

I just wanted to be Rowan Atkinson. He got to say all the funny things but other people wrote them for him. Seemed absolutely ideal. Kieran Hodgson, Kieran Hodgson: '75, Pleasance Beneath, 20:15

It’s so uncool but it was actually my mum who encouraged me to start stand up. I was always writing funny stories as a kid and would do anything to avoid work and have a laugh at school and in subsequent jobs later on so she suggested I give stand up a go. I thought it sounded the worst idea ever but turns out she was right. Rachel Fairburn, The Wolf at the Door, Underbelly, Dexter, 21:30

I met an open mic comic and realised people were allowed to be bad at it Jez Watts, #1 Comedy Great Fun Best Show Jez Watts, The Three Sisters, 17:15

Published: 23 Aug 2018

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