It’s Comedy Festival season and welcome to all things Camden Fringe! Apart from having exclusive access to The Scribbling Apes run of the festival, we have a whole bunch of fantastic interviews with acts performing as well! We sat down with a comedian who is part of the Comedy Acoustic Metal Comedy group, ShitStorM who is about to embark on his debut Camden Fringe solo show – Gary G Knightley.
Location: Etcetera Theatre
Date: 17th -20th August
Price: £7, £5 for Concessions
Hello Gary, tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am a 32 year old foreign exchange specialist, playwright, aspiring comedian. Plus actor. I am taking my debut solo hour stand-up show, Twat Out Of Hell, to the Camden Fringe this year.
How did you get into stand up?
I have always loved live performance, whether it be stand up, theatre (especially musicals), concerts, street performance and even karaoke. I have flirted with most of these areas during my life. Comedy is the best for me because it is fluid and current: if something happens in the room you can react; or if something major happens that day you can tweak or even disregard your set. You can’t get away with that in theatre.
Tell us all about the show that you are bringing to the Camden Fringe Festival?
Twat Out Of Hell is about my utter failure as a human being; my desire to be seen as a decent person who makes a positive impact, but how I always end-up making things worse. It is inspired in part by the brilliant Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical currently on in London, and does feature me butchering some Meatloaf songs. There will be laughs and low-budget staging!
It’s your debut solo show – how are you feeling about it?
I am feeling apprehensive. I am currently going between “this is shit, kill yourself” to “this is The Shit, I am going to kill” about 20 times a day. It makes me a nightmare to be around, so pity my poor wife. But then I calm myself down and think: this is the first time I am trying to be a bit more honest on stage, and what do I have to lose?
What are your favourite things about performing to an audience and why?
Some people shy away from crowd work, but I thrive on it. Why would anyone want to listen to me talk for an hour, if I didn’t include the audience? I think it creates an individual performance every time. So even if the material is pretty much the same every time, I try to create a unique experience in every show.
Plus there is something about the energy between performer and audience that is hard to replicate. In that moment where they are hanging on your every word you have a power that feels amazing. The trick is to keep that power flowing throughout your performance, so sometimes Chris the plumber with the mohawk from Rochdale can give you a kick-start.
What other comedians groups do you find inspiring and why?
I could write about this for days so I will do my best to limit it to a few key picks! Nick Helm, Doug Stanhope, Josie Long, Bridget Christie, Sarah Silverman, Johnny Vegas, Jerry Sadowitz, Frankie Boyle, Trevor Noah, Jamali Maddix, Michael Legge, John Robertson, Dave Atell and Zach Galifinakis are all people I look up to and admire for various reasons.
Helm shows are always epic and really move away from just a human and microphone. Stanhope is visceral and no topic is a taboo. Johnny Vegas is the greatest comedian of all time and you literally never know what is going to happen when he hits a stage. Bridget Christie, Josie Long and Sarah Silverman destroy the ridiculous argument that women aren’t funny. If I could be half as successful as any of those I would be over the moon.
Who else are you looking forward to seeing at Camden Fringe and Why?
Time to plug some friends! I have to say that this year, for comedy especially, is possibly the best year that the Camden Fringe has seen. The fact that the Angel team at the Bill Murray has got involved means there are some truly great acts that we probably would never normally get to see. My top 5 picks are:
o Nick Helm at Aces and Eights 745pm 31st July – 5th August
o Kevin O’Connell at Camden Comedy Club 31st July – 2nd August
o Elena Fedotova at The Bill Murray 22nd August
o Ian Lane at Camden Comedy Club 6th -8th August
o Anna Savory at Camden Comedy Club 7th – 9th August
And I also want to see a play called Greenery at the Etcetera Theatre 25th -27th August. There are so many wonderful shows this year, I just wish I had time to see them all. But Twat Out Of Hell is definitely the best, remember that.
You are part of the Comedy Acoustic Metal Comedy group, ShitStorM – tell us a little bit about your group?
We are the UK’s premier acoustic heavy metal band, and finalists of the Musical Comedy Awards 2017. I’m on lead vocals, and comedy genius / sexy man Matt Smith (not that one) is on the axe. We only perform about 10 times a year, but we love it because it gives us the opportunity to be rock stars and utter arseholes in the name of comedy. The fact we are one of the best musical acts of all time goes to show what natural talent we have.
Explain the writing process you go through to produce your jokes?
Painful. I tend to have a smidgen of an idea that I will then try to write out as full 5 minute bit. Then I go out and perform the 5 minutes at an open-mic night, realise that it is rubbish and forget about it. Usually about a year later I will be doing some crowd work, and for some reason that piece of material is relevant and exciting again. For Twat Out Of Hell, I am trying to actually write a structured piece. It has been hard because my brain doesn’t work in that manner, it leaps and jumps and veers off on strange tangents and I always assume everyone else sees what I can see.
And Finally – in three words, why should people come and see you at the Camden Fringe Festival?
Beards. Beers. Meatloaf!
If people want to find out more about Gary G Knightley on Facebook, or you can follow him on Twitter @GaryGKnightley instagram @shitstormuk
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