I need some Pepto-Bismol for the soul | 20 questions: Liam Mullone

I need some Pepto-Bismol for the soul

20 questions: Liam Mullone

Which comedian(s) inspired you to become a stand-up?

When I started I knew three fifths of fuck all about stand-up; people around me still discuss 'household names' I've never seen. Now I'm really paranoid about watching other comics because I don't want to copy them subconsciously, so I still know little about the industry I'm trying to be in. Originally I wanted to be like John Cooper Clarke. He's still my hero.

Where and when was your first gig?

The Laughing Horse, Richmond, August Bank Holiday 2002

How did it go?

I was expecting it to be empty; in fact there was a queue going right down the street. Every fibre of my being was screaming 'run!' and I drank far too much just to go through with my five minutes. The crowd was fantastic, I had a great time and then two foxy gothettes took me and my mate home. This sort of thing never happened again, and every subsequent gig for the next year was something of a letdown.

What's the best gig you’ve ever had?

The Comedy Store two years ago. Exactly a year before I'd come badly unstuck there, and had to wait a full year to try again. It turned out it was the exact same lineup as the year before; it felt like Groundhog Day. So it was very, very good to ace it on the second try.

And the worst?

Torquay, about six months in. A Formula 1 fan threatened to kill me for defaming the name of Ayrton Senna.

What’s your ultimate ambition in comedy?

To get out of journalism [he's a Times obituary writer], and never again need to clock on anywhere. At my day job I only need to be in at 11am but still I'm always late. I really don't like daylight; it actually hurts and I can't think in it.

What’s the worst thing you've ever regretted saying on stage?

Every now and then I'll get tired and just tell a heckler to fuck off and die, which is very dull and means that they've won.

What's the worst thing a critic has ever said about you?

Someone on a freesheet said that I was a poor man's Stewart Lee. I'm only halfway to being a comic, but I'm not going to be upset by someone who will never be a journalist. And I've not yet seen Stewart Lee.

When did you first come to Edinburgh, and what did you do?

In 1992 I was living in Edinburgh and performed satirical poetry, in my bid to be the new John Cooper Clarke. It was tosh. One night I got a standing ovation at the Teviot Wine Bar; the next night everyone threw bottles at me. The night after that they closed the Teviot Wine Bar.

What’s been the biggest change since then?

The locals. Back then Edinburgh was full of casuals and it was pretty fucking scary at night - especially if you were English, a student and had a Ned's Atomic Dustbin haircut. You never felt too far away from a kicking, especially round Cowgate. Plus thousands - including me - were unemployed and just generally angry and resentful most of the time, and I had a girlfriend who kept making friends with drug dealers and bank robbers which didn't help.

Is the Fringe still where stars can be spotted?

Yes, but it's getting too much. We need a fringe of the Fringe.

What’s you favourite Edinburgh experience?

I know it sounds wanky, but this is my first Fringe as a married man and seeing how much my wife believes in my stuff has been amazing.

And your worst?

Same answer... She deserves better than to hand out my bloody flyers in the pissing rain.

Where's your favourite place to eat in Edinburgh?

The mussel and steak bar on Grassmarket.

And to drink?

At home. I don't like pubs any more. Since the smoking ban they all smell of piss and bleach.

Where do you go to escape the festival?

We went to Dalhousie Castle, which was pants. They put us in a semi-detached house in a field, and called it the 'castle lodge'. Their 'falconry range' was a bunch of unhappy owls virtually nailed to their perches.

What’s your view of comedy awards like the if.comedy?

I think there should be more of them. Prizes for everyone.What one bit of advice would you give to someone visiting the festival

Bring some friends. The numbers are way, way down this year, whatever 'industry' people may pretend.

Apart from your own, what other show would you recommend?

Alex Horne drove me to the Royal Infirmary when I was Doubled Up with stomach cramps on Hanover Street, so I must big up his Birdwatching show. It's both fascinating and civilised, a bit like that nice James Dowdeswell's show about wine. Funny shows with gentle themes; that's what I want in week 3. Pepto-Bismol for the soul.

  • Liam Mullone: Health + Safety is on at the Pleasance at 23:00

Published: 23 Aug 2007

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