Yes But Why ep 217 Chaotic comedy with Alex Marion and Nick Hildred of Release The Clowns Podcast
This week on Yes But Why, we talk to Alex Marion and Nick Hildred of Release The Clowns Podcast.
From writing sketch comedy for “Week Ending” on BBC Radio 4 to orchestrating silly gags on “The Big Breakfast”, Nick Hildred has built a career as a TV and Radio writer and producer. Get ready for the crazy chicken story!
During this time, Alex Marion was performing comedy and running comedy venues. Later, he went to study improv with the Free Association and that is where he met Nick. Together, Nick and Alex produce the Release The Clowns Podcast.
Release The Clowns is what happens when a mix of comedy writers, performers and improvisers get together to have fun. Nick and Alex bring some semblance of order to the chaos, but only when they’re not causing chaos themselves.
These two were a fun pair to talk to. In our conversation, Nick and Alex tell me about the separate adventures that eventually led them to find each other and start collaborating. Tune in for Alex’s harrowing tale of booking venues with gangsters!
We had a lot of laughs throughout the episode and probably the most joking I’ve had in a long time. It was like talking to old friends.
For anyone interested in how to produce a fictional podcast, listen up! Get the inside scoop on making a sketch comedy podcast when Alex and Nick share the process of putting together Release The Clowns!
Support Alex Marion and Nick Hildred by listening to Release The Clowns Podcast, available on Podbean!
Yes But Why Podcast is a proud member of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts. Download the FREE HC Universal Network app for Android and iDevices or visit us at HCUniversalNetwork.com and join the fun.
This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible – get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.
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(production notes: recorded Zoom call with Rodecaster at the home studio on 6/1/2020)
TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai
Hello, Yes But Why listeners, this is your host, Amy Jordan. Welcome to episode 217 in which I talk to Alex Marion & Nick Hildred of Release The Clowns Podcast. But first, a bit about our sponsor. This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible. You can get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY. I just downloaded Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a wild study on human behavior and I’m loving it. You know this and a lot of my podcast interviews are me talking to strangers and my experience has always been positive! But that’s not what the book is about…haha…Audible is available for your iPhone, Android, or Kindle. Download your free audiobook today at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY. Nick Hildred is a TV and Radio writer and producer as well as an improviser and sound editor. Alex Marion started his creative career by performing comedy and running comedy venues, then went to study improv with the Free Association and that is where he met Nick. Together, Nick and Alex produce the Release The Clowns Podcast. These two were a fun pair to talk to. In our conversation, Nick and Alex tell me about the separate adventures that eventually led them to find each other and start collaborating. Support Alex Marion and Nick Hildred by listening to Release The Clowns Podcast, available on Podbean! I now present to you: Yes But Why episode 217 : Chaotic comedy with Alex Marion and Nick Hildred of Release The Clowns Podcast.
I’m Amy Jordan, and this is yes, but why podcast?
Go on Alex.
I was just so thinking about that. Well, I could go first I go, Oh, you go ahead then.
About 12 we did a comedy play. I was the villain. And up to that point, I’d been inquires, you know, singing church music and all that kind of thing. And I hated singing solo. Because my voice box would always close up from diagnosed stage fright or whatever. But I ended up being in this play and Finding that I could speak quite happily on stage, and really enjoyed it and enjoyed getting laughs and thought, this is brilliant. And then I put it in my back pocket for the next few years. And when I went to my senior school, the new boys, I mean, we were supposed to go into the cadet force. It was, it was either being in the scouts, or the cadets. And I said to my mother, I don’t want to do either of those because they’re stupid. But they had a drama class that only boys who are already at the school could do. So I said to my parents, well, I wrote one the drama cups that play I was in the previous school, tell them that and I can get into drama. And they put they managed to wangle it, I could do drama.
If they did help, it was really cool. And that drama club which was every every Monday I did that for I’ve never About five years at school, it was really cool. Really nice. Three hours every Monday and it was basically learning improv and having fun, you know? So three hours and then it went on from there.
I don’t think I know anybody else that are doing that kind of dedication. That’s amazing. Three hours every Monday. Yeah. Oh, I love it for five years. Yeah. Man, what a class. God bless them. Tell me about the teacher, that drama club.
Well, the first one was a really great guy. He was. He had a PhD, he says Dr. Hansen, and he was just very laid back really cool. And actually did it for I think three of the years. And he was just very, actually very modern sort of improv teacher in that very nurturing very, no, there aren’t wrong things per se. But there are were techniques you can use to make what you’re doing better. If you know what I mean. You know, so not judging. And that was really good. He created that very sort of a welcoming and fostering atmosphere you get in good improv classes.
So that was nice. Yeah, that’s nice. I wonder what he had his PhD in was it like, early education, that’s why he was giving you the nurturing parts of improv. I often think that that particular detail is about, you know, getting used to the fact that life is not really going to give you what you expect, pretty much ever. So like when you learn the ability of improv to like, kind of just go with the flow. It’s like, okay, it’s like my Zen life now.
I, funnily enough, I think I think his PhD was in something to do with Samuel Beckett.
Awesome, very clever. Something to do with Samuel Beckett. That’s what it says on the certificate. Yeah.
That’s awesome. What a great opportunity for you to have that drama club and I’m so glad that your parents like supported you and got you in there for you to be able to do that for is this. You said five years was that like pretty much until you went to university?
Yeah, pretty much i was i was in the drama club but that the whole time managed to avoid having to dress up in any kind of uniform or go camping, which was bloody marvelous.
I like it how I avoided going camping. Pretty good. Yeah. Alex, what about you?
Weirdly enough parts of it’s very similar, although there’s no oh captain, my captain moments in my story. I was. I was I never liked the school play. Because I never liked auditioning because I was I was never I was never one of those kids who was just so confident that I could go in an audition and blow it up I’d be so mumbling on stage and then come off and then someone else would come on, like eight years old. To be or not to me, for God’s sake, I’m third tree on the right again ,aren’t i. So school play was awful for me. Um, but I remember going to scouts was one thing we did we used to do what was called a gang show, which is kind of like a review that the troop does. I remember hearing about that and thinking, right, that’s mine. I’m taking this over. So I wrote it, I cast it, I performed it. It was all me it was awful. But it was really good fun. And I thought okay, so I can be in charge of everything. That’s good. First thing, hmm. And also remember about the same time I used to go on camps in the summer than in the countryside. And we’d have at the end of the week, there’d always be like a little show around the fire. And I just remember finding out that I was I was good at making people laugh. And that was so much easier than school plays because school plays it was there was all serious bits in it. I’m really like that, because I never really believed what I’m saying. But if I could get go and mess around and be stupid, everyone laughs That’s great. So I remember I took that away with me. And then by my late teens, I’ve started to discover stand up. And I was just absolutely fixated on the idea of doing that but absolutely terrified by doing it. So it took me several years almost till the end of my university, in fact, to finally get around to actually doing it, but it was always fixed in my head from that point that I want to Do something was around making people laugh? because surely that’s it. It’s just the best job in the world.
Surely. Yeah. I like it. I like that you were led into stand up. It’s very interesting to hear the, the way that you know, you, you got into it, you know what I mean? It was like these gross, you know, boring school plays as most of them are. And, you know, just not something you wanted to get into. Unfortunately, no doctor of Samuel Beckett to help you. So I like that you wrote and created that whole show. Are you kind of an organizer now? Like, are you the one who organizes you know, your podcast stuff? Or are you the one who’s like, producing shows and trying to get things going? Is that your vibe now?
I think that’s sort of between both of us, isn’t it, Nick?
Yeah, we’re pretty much 5050 on the on the podcast, it’s about 5050 isn’t it?
that’s nice. You’ll never hear that.
On the day of on the day of recording, it sort of tends to be because you’re in the studio so there tends to be me Evan sort of organized casting and making sure this the sketches are set up and everyone knows what they’re doing. From time to time.
And Nick’s on the technical stuff?
Yeah, so I run the studio. And you have to do all the technicals.
Cuz I’m not allowed.
Same. Same Alex.
There’s what not allowed? What’s that Alex?
I’m not allowed to touch anything.
Oh, geez, no, no, Alex isn’t allowed to touch any any electrical equipment.
I have this sort of reverse superpower where any any, not just electrical equipment, anything that’s standing up, if I touch it, it’ll fall down
me too! me too! I got the same thing.
God I need to send you a photo
of the room I’m in it’s like I’m in my husband is AV tech thank God he knows everything. I know nothing if he didn’t press the buttons like 30 seconds before I got on the zoom I was like babe the buttons they’re not working the way they’re supposed so like that’s me. So I feel you, brother and also to Nick the tech wizard. aaah so I appreciate you as well because without you It wouldn’t sound as nice i like i was going to compliment you guys on the smoothness of your podcasts that it sounded very well edited and put together so good job.
That’s all Nick Mr. Audio magic.
Well it’s good. smooth.
Yeah.The funny thing is, of course, is I spent most of my career not being technical at all. And then yeah, I just kind of fell into doing technical stuff. I want to hear more about the technical side
All right, yeah, well let’s come back to it again.
All right. Okay, we you you had Mr. Holland’s Opus and then we had Alex talk to is about to do stand up but we’ll come back to you. After you are your are you performing at university? How did you get into technical stuff? or What were you doing previous to you’re developing your technical acumen.
Okay, well, a very potted history. At the university, I joined the comedy club which was not the best comedy club in the world. It’s got to be said it was it was called the pig funders Guild, pig farmers comedy Guild. And they were very I thought they were a bit too amateurish for my liking. You know, some We’ll just get drunk before going on stage. I literally drunk and then stumbled my way through sketches and it was excruciating. But their mates found it funny saying But me and I know three or four other guys joined at about the same time, that all had the same kind of thing of, we actually want to do this stuff and go to Edinburgh and be good. And so so we got it on a much more sort of proper footing and did halfway decent shows and a couple of runs in Edinburgh, you know, the usual the usual sort of thing
in Edinburgh, so it’s not quite usual for me. I don’t know I don’t know also, I was going to ask is, is the idea of going to that festival kind of like part of like when you’re in college, do I theater stuff is that like kind of one of the things you guys consider as like, if we’re doing well, we could bring it to the festival? Or are there multiple things like that where you’re like there’s four festivals per year and everybody goes to all of them. What’s the when you’re in school? It’s just that interesting. Awesome. Good for them.
Yeah, cuz we were doing sketch comedy at university. And there’s really only the one outlet for that kind of thing. And that’s the Edinburgh Fringe. Because everyone wants to become the next Peter Cook and Dudley Moore or the next Monty Python team or the next. No. Emma Thompson. I didn’t want to be the next Emma Thompson. I want to make that very clear.
I want to be the next Dudley Moore. So I mean, I really appreciate the references that you get who I know so.
But it’s super interesting. The idea For me like that, that Edinburgh is always like a possibility where you guys are like working towards it like on on the regular. Like, that’s pretty great. Like I don’t think I ever submitted to a festival until I was in my 30s. You know what I mean? Like, I didn’t think that any of the things I was doing were like good enough to show people I guess. I mean, I did lots of plays and lots of different stuff. But yeah, I don’t know. The idea of that is just wild.
Don’t get the impression that any of it was good enough. You did. laboring under a myth. False apprehension
wasn’t good enough. Well, it’s like an option. Yeah,
I mean, we got our review. Oh, wait, we got some terrible reviews. I think one of them was It’s hard enough to do sketch comedy, when the the audience is outnumbered by the The actors and then he went on with something like but this unadulterated pilot dog was never gonna get along. So that was one of our reviews
I like to use memorized if you have a tattooed on your arm
naturally. The funny thing is though, similar to to that thing of the Amy Poehler except not nearly as good is I after doing that and being at university, and then getting jobs in TV I met a number of people who are at Edinburgh at the same time as me who I knew were in other reviews and or other shows. And they were saying that some of their reviews were just as bad you know. And these are guys who, you know, paid TV, comedy writers who got reviews like lobotomize, see, sponges could have done this better.
That’s just a writer Who’s jealous they didn’t get into the festival. Like if you get a review that’s that well written. That’s just jealousy. You know what I mean? Like minimal artistry to your writing is all I’m saying. Keep it simple. So you worked in television after after college, what kind of television jobs What did you get a degree in?
A good degree in philosophy, make sense? Make sense? Which, which qualifies me for nothing. And then I don’t listen to the radio, right? Well, I went to the radio writing first comedy. And then was very lucky, and then went into TV for a few years.
What is radio writing? Like?
Writing shows, comedy shows, you know, oh, Writing the scripts for Oh, for radio show
I can Oh, okay. Okay. I’m thinking like, you know, a guy’s on the radio going like, Hey guys, I’m gonna play this next thing and I was like I’m pretty sure they don’t write a script for that guy. But no, no
it wasn’t it wasn’t just any sketch show either, wasn’t it? Oh, well we can ending. Yeah. Okay. It was week ending on radio four. Ah, which means nothing to pretty much nothing to anybody these days. But it was a long running satirical radio shows that have been going for 25 years. I mean, you know,
radios. Thank you, Alex. Don’t
sorry, Alex. It was something of an institution. It was Yes.
See, that’s nice.
Well, you’re right. Everyone was crazy in it. Yeah.
But that’s fun. Like, it’s amazing that you got that gig right out of school like you’re working, you’re writing sketches. Somebody must have seen you and thought it wasn’t so terrible, right? And they gave you that job. So you’re writing sketches? And are you performing them or other people performing them?
No other people were forming a great
dinner, but way low stakes, in my opinion, when other people are saying and I’m like, Oh, yeah, whatever. Here take the script.
Yeah, exactly. No, it was it’s kind of a rite of passage for a lot of comedy writers. Or it was I am until I asked the show, so Um, so yeah, it was all very good. And so I did that for a while and
with a lot of people that were working in that kind of scene. If it was a rite of passage, then there is a lot of people that are going through that thing. I also find it awesome that other people who got bad reviews at Edinburgh got the jobs with you and television. And it was like you know, there was one guy who was just like Find everybody with the worst reviews and hire them. Why? Because they’re actually good. The reviewers are mad. And they’re like, I mean review, you know. Yeah. But so what’s the TV thing? So you after doing week ending, which was a big deal. Thank you Alex for letting me know. It’s, uh, you know, you’re you’re working in TV. Are you writing in TV writing comedy in TV?
Yeah, yeah. So So um, so I just went on to write various entertainment shows, this is the sort of one of those regrets you think, Oh, if only I’ve got a sitcom. But you know, you can’t you can’t go back to that. Yeah, so I wrote various entertainment shows, you know, gags for the for the presenters and that kind of thing. Basically, think, crap TV. I wrote a bunch that I’m not proud of it.
I feel like perhaps our definitions of crap TV are different, potentially. And also, like you underestimate the level of like terrible choices I have available to me every day. Where I’m like, Yeah, I could watch this guy literally dig this one hole for 45 minutes. This is a riveting show. So, you know, there’s a lot of things out there. Don’t sell yourself short or writing comedy show. I’ll it’s on Hulu. It’s available. I’ll see you maybe it’s just a US show, you know, so we feel good about ourselves. God, that guy dug a hole. He really did something. Anyway. And what’s an entertainment show? Like, like meaning like there’s a celebrity host who’s interviewing other celebrities and they like you’re the one who writes that they get like do a slip and slide like are you the guy who makes like the big
one was the big breakfast wasn’t it which is sort of like a morning, TV. magazine show on crap.
Yeah, that’s actually very, it was a lot of it was on crack.
That’s to be said, Okay.
Yeah, these early. Sorry
late 90s early noughties.
Okay, good. Good, huh. Make sense? Cool.
yeah, I was I was great
Doesn’t Yeah, I wish I’d done the drugs that everyone else seemed to be doing because they seem to enjoy a lot more than I did. But you know. Yeah, it was it was good. It was it was it was a great thing to be doing and yeah, you know, that was good show actually was he that I had high production values, you know, it’s the kind of show where we’re gonna have a chicken on the show, a four legged chicken. Okay, so can you imagine this? They found a chicken with four legs. That thought it was a dog And would follow vocal commands from its owner. And they’re very excited. They were like building the entire two hour show around this chicken. And then at about 430 in the afternoon before before that program was due to go out one of the producers went to the executive producer and said, we got a problem with the chicken. They said what? It’s died today the chicken is die. And we with barely half a second. The the executive producer just said stuffy, get it stuffed and get it on the show. I want that King chicken on the show tomorrow morning. phoned up a taxidermist. So that’s what they did. They had a taxidermy brought on the show.
Oh my god. I really didn’t think it was gonna actually happen. I thought it would just be like yeah, but it turns out taxidermy takes multiple weeks so oh my god, imagine Okay, I’m sorry. All I can think right now is about that taxidermist who got the phone call who’s like, I’m sorry, why? But I mean, I don’t usually do that rush of a job. How much you can pay me? Oh, yeah, I mean, I can do it. Where do I need to pick it up? Yep, no problem. I got this. Like, I love you do that. Like, oh my god, that’s great. Isn’t it funny? How like, the best stories are like when everything went terribly wrong. Like, it was not fun at the time. You’re always and I try so hard. Whenever I’m having the worst worst time. There’s a voice in the back that goes like, you’ll tell this and it’ll be funny. Don’t worry. Like, okay, hold on to that hold on to it hard. I mean, I’m literally doing that. Now. I said that like today I was like, Man in five years. I can’t wait to talk about this. Like I don’t want to talk about now but But in the future when we are like laying on soft couches, and everyone’s super safe and healthy, I can be like, Guys member crazy. Like, and that’s the fun times, right?
Yeah. I guess. Yeah. It’s true. It does have its moments, but none of the time. At the time. It’s excruciating and painful.
Oh, Nick, I’m so sorry. You seem to have had a rough time.
No, not at all know that. I was doing that show during the big breakfast was like being in an abusive relationship. You, the senior executives were constantly abusing people and shouting at you and I once had, and had the senior editor come in, and swear at me, literally, for about one and a half straight minutes of just swearing. And since we’re not doing profanities, I can’t even I can’t even say what his first sentence scores. But let’s see, Nick you the third word was an F word, and it got worse from there.
Did you know specifically what he was yelling about? Was it like, Oh, yeah, I messed this up our Oh, I feel like he didn’t like my copy, like, was it a clear thing? Or is it like one of those bosses where like, they come in at any moment and you were there screaming at you? And while Yes, you’re feeling it? You’re also thinking like, what could this be about?
Oh, no, I was in no, no doubt what happened was the producer I was working with and kept misinterpreting what the executive wanted. So the executive would say to him to the producer, I want x and then the producer would come into me and say, Ben wants y. So I’d write y and send it to Ben, who would then call the producer and say listen I said I wanted to x and I’ve got why Could you get me x and the produce would come back to me and say, Ben wants Zed. So I’d write Zed. And once we’ve done that about three times, Ben went completely mental and came into the room and just, like I say, swore at me. And after he’d finished swearing, it’s one of the few times in my life I’ve actually come up with a quip on at that point. So he finished swearing, and I said, so do you want me to rewrite it then? And he said, Yes, he do. And the thing is, he then he told me what he wanted. So I wrote it. And he said, yeah, that’s fine. But the producer was in the room as well. And and he stood there, and let me just take it without intervening once to say, Oh, actually, I think I got that wrong. Yeah, I wouldn’t. Yeah, what was it? I wouldn’t I wouldn’t have put my head above the parapet is
So, yeah, anyway, it’s like come on, let’s be honest. Every one of us in that situation would have been like, Oh yeah, I’m not directing that wrath my way. I’m just gonna hang right here. See what happens? Yes. If he turns it to me, I’ll take it but I’m gonna wait. Wait.
That’s my story. Yeah.
Rough stories. Yeah, Rosa. Did you in other television shows after the big breakfast or did that sort of burn you from the scene?
No, no, I did a bunch of other
shows. But when my daughter was born in 2007 I gave up TV completely
lie just too many crazy hours.
Too many crazy hours. Also, almost everyone I know works in TV is divorced. Oh, yeah. You know? And I feel I I really like my wife.
Nothing she quite likes me. Oh, that was that was gonna be my line. Oh, oh, sorry.
Sorry Alex. TV
take any more the hours. Yeah so
the hours the stress the yelling yeah I hear that the drugs even if you’re not taking them they affect you oh man cuz that’s a real thing. I mean wow
no no I
caught him anyway. Yes So I’m much happier now I’m doing this than I ever was writing TV so I’m
like Alex was saying it’s like Alex was saying when he did his review his his review with the scouts and he was in charge with this we’re in charge So we can we can create the atmosphere that we want for our co conspirators. And own and it’s a happy ship. And we can do things the way we want to do it. You know, I think it’s a happy ship unless you’re about to tell me something like get stuffed legs after the break this bombshell.
Yeah, this is a gotcha podcast for sure.
So I’m absolutely on board with that. It is it’s it’s us doing what we want to do with people that we like, which is, broadly speaking, unlike any other job I’ve had.
The collaboration you are directly talking about right now is the release the clowns podcast, correct?
Just making sure neither of you have said that. So I just was like, yeah, Hey, man, maybe. Maybe they do a lot of things together. Because Hey, you know that that’s how that works out. So let’s try Back to Alex Not only do I have a I know there’s a sweet Edinburgh story ready to come in, but we have just begun to explore Alex’s stand up career. What? Uh, how did that go? Did you have like
so basically, I, I didn’t get involved in the comedy society university because there wasn’t one of our university. What there was was the theater society which was full of drum rights taught about the people audition. So I, when I was at school,
it was all of them.
All of the all of the biggest show offs you can imagine, and I just wasn’t interested. So I basically spent my university years drinking and watching comedy but not doing it. right up until the end, when there was a room. We decided to do a sketch show which was great fun. really sort of rekindled my my enjoyment in doing comedy and being on stage making people laugh. So a few of us decided we were going to do our own group. So we set up this night down the road from the university. And we just sort of threw everything into it. We were we were going to do sketch we were going to do improv. I was going to compare it so I thought I should probably learn how to do stand up on stage. So I, I finally bit the bullet and went and did some stand up gigs. Which is terrifying. So bear in mind, I’ve wanted to do stand up since I was about 14 or 15. And at this point, I was 25.
I thought to myself a gig. You had said you had to book it like weeks a couple of months in advance, and it wasn’t until I was on the train on the way to the game. I thought I should probably actually write something. So I sat on the train and wrote this routine, which I thought was going to be about 10 minutes but actually lasted about four of the most gut wrenching terror. And people laughed at bits of it.
And I thought, yeah, I can do that. So I carried on.
Unfortunately, not long after that I started teaching and I was broke. So teaching paid the rent, so that had to take most of my attention. And really what happened over the next decade or so was that I stopped doing I stopped doing stand up and get just to the sort of fringes of moderately successful and then drop out of it because teaching took over again, and I never really wanted to be I was I was a bit conflicted about the whole fame thing as well. I never really wanted to be famous or As always careful never to be good enough.
Oh, yeah, me too.
Yeah, that’s a strategy, Nick. It works. It’s very considerate of you. Alex is very considerate of me.
And so I just sort of saw, I was doing it and I wasn’t doing it. Then I got distracted by things. So I went traveling around the world for a couple of years. And then me and my wife started running rave nights. And that was another big distraction that came in. It was great fun, but it didn’t really doing teaching all day. Doing raves all weekend and then fine to do comedy at night. didn’t really fit together that well.
Reduce the hours.
So like, tell me about these rave nights. Tell me what that means. You and your wife are like, Hey, you know what? It’d be cool. 400 people dancing in a room. Cool. We don’t have a room. That big how do we do it? How do you do it?
Well, how we did it? Well, we went to a place that we knew that would be raving out in North London, which was it was called trends. It was in Stoke Newington, and it was an old club that actually been owned by the Kray twins, who are very famous London gangsters
and still had an all the old fittings, old velvet seats and mirrored ballrooms and all this sort of stuff. And it was run by this some this yardie guy called Danny,
who charges rent and put security on and it was, it was all good. It turns out in the end that Danny didn’t actually own it.
And actually what happened, but um, at some point, which I think was when the last of the Kray brothers died, the estate must have come in and touched him and it turned out he’d been squatting it for 20 years while they were in prison. Oh,
prison and or death and or So yeah, that’s basically what we did we, we, we paid money to a person who didn’t own a place to do it do a thing in a place for a while and then stop.
You know, it’s crazy. I feel like I also have done those things. You know what I mean? Like, I feel like three quarters of the theaters quote unquote, I’m doing air quotes here that I rented to do plays throughout my life for like, definitely some scam of some kind or like, I paid for some sort of terrible drug ring or whatever. Like there was always just like, I am just two shades of Pollyanna where I’m all like, He’s fine. He seems very nice and people sure he should. That guy and I’m like, you guys are being jerks. Like you’re being a no, he is fine. Oh, man. I think about the plays that we did where it was like, why can’t we get this construction debris out of this room? Oh, oh, So we just we just have to put a fake wall up in front of it and make that the theater. Okay, that’s fine. Like or no, why doesn’t the door lock? Should we bring our props home with us? Yes, we should. Okay. Um, so I mean crazy things. I love the fact that like, it turns out that you’re doing a rave on on the rags in like a, you know, mobsters club, unbeknownst to you know this situation like, oh, man, that’s a sweet movie right there. I like that. That’s super awesome. Oh,
that’s so funny enough. That theme is going to come back.
Basically, as Nick said, like the hours get you in the end of teaching all day and then dry. I was driving up and down the country go into gigs all over the place and it was great fun, but I was knackered and I just got to a point where I I stopped I didn’t start again. And then some friends of mine put to me the idea of going out to Edinburgh. So as I said earlier at this point, there’s, there’s, you can do free shows. So basically people don’t pay to go in and on the way out, you wave a buck at them. And if they liked it, they put money in. And that keeps things really cheap for the artist, because they’re not paying huge rent for the room. And they’re not doing ticket splits and all of this sort of stuff. So me and some friends who had been around the free fringe for a while, said, Well, why don’t we try and give it a go? Well, no, that’s not exactly what happened. What happened was they they wrote a letter or we wrote a letter to the guy who runs one of the main three branches out there, suggesting some changes, and he been an absolute nutcase when the public saying that he’d been stabbed in the back Come betrayed and he wouldn’t work with these people ever again. So we thought, he said if it’s if you think it’s so easy doing this, why not do it yourself? So we thought we will. Oh, so we went up and we we got agreements with loads of rooms, one of which was a huge room in the center of town or a huge building in the center of town, but we split up into loads of rooms, which is run by gangsters. Quite a lot of what happened. The fringe is run by gangsters, I now know. Wow. So we did it for a family and the Masons. And the Masons, indeed, didn’t fall foul of those though.
we had all of these rooms, we got all of our accent. This is 2014. We had a great year for rooms, lots of really good reviews and awards, all sorts of stuff. And we’re thinking about This is it. We’re really good at this. We should do it again. So we went back the next year to do it. We haven’t spotted the biggest hole, which was that we got a sponsor. And the sponsor even in the first year, even before we started was already screwing us. Basically not fulfilling any of the promises that they’ve made. I’m not gonna say who the sponsor is. I don’t anyone who’s he’s in Edinburgh at all. all I’ll say is it’s a well known Edinburgh based pizza chain. I’m not gonna say any more than that. So a well known Edinburgh based pizza chain that runs stalls. I’m not gonna say that it’s the ones by the Tron Kirk. But anyway, so we went back to the second year and even before we started doing this, it was clear that the sponsors we’re going to screw is even harder and even longer and even deeper. than they had the previous year, but we still kept going with it. And we booked out. So my job was was booking the x. So I got hundreds of videos and applications and everything I would watch every single one I read every single word I put together with great though. The guy who was supposed to be sorting out the rooms assured me that they were, what I now realizes is that a friend of mine, by the way, so
it’s fine. You just don’t
tell he was having. He was having a manic episode.
And he hadn’t secured the rooms at all the gangsters who we haven’t secured them with, He then made a phone call to say, Well, if you’re not if you’re not going to do what we want you to do, we’re going to go out and we’ll go somewhere else. And he said where to go somewhere else and he went to the nutcase who kicked kicked them out in the First place and said you want this room he jumps in and did it and we went in one overnight. In one night, we went from being about 20 grand in profit to about 20 grand in debt. Wow, I’ve had had to keep going. So I spent the next two months setting up a new venue me and the rest of the set up a new venue which the sponsors set up for us promise now pay for and then didn’t.
And also redistributing all of our x who’d paid to be in this one big building.
to other promoters or to other rooms that we had finally got to Edinburgh we were just desperately trying to tread water here. Turns out that the venue the new venue that we had, which was an old set of railway arches,
When our railway arches
it was in a complete shambolic state we had to go in and do all about.
Nobody knew where it was, even though it was in the center of town. Nobody could see it. Google Maps had it on the wrong Street. It turns out lots of people were turning up to the street above ours. If you know Edinburgh at all is on levels, people were turning up to the street above ours, but not coming into ours. We were desperately trying to get people in as much as we possibly could. We finally managed to have on a Saturday, the second Saturday night at the festival. We had a really full crowd that a party had loads of people down there seem to be turning the corner. Four o’clock the next morning, we had a phone call from the sponsor saying I don’t want to alarm you just had a report. There’s a fire down at the arches. And it turns out what happened was someone have gone in, switched on all the staff I think they’ve broken in with some people with some girls, two guys have broken in with some girls and tried to impress them by switching everything on and showing that they were in charge of this place.
And then a fire had started and they run away. So we now it’s pay for the bat fire. We had to pay for the fire damage. We had to pay for the damage to the bar, who were also screwing us because they never gave us any money.
And then right at the end of it, everyone else bought it off the turkey and I had to stay there on this site, desperately trying to shift all the equipment and chairs we had to try and get the money back in. So it’s not so much a great story as a deep trauma. But
no, I think it’s a very important story. Both for you and for you know, the listeners to hear it’s something that actually happens. Also, the idea of all this stuff that you’re responsible for, is important to recognize I know tons, thousands, millions, even of people out there producing shows with no knowledge of like, you know, insurance or sponsorship or what happens when this goes down or what happens when you have to switch something like just the the fact that you the fact that anything happened at all is amazing. Like, like, you guys could have just been like, nope, and walked away after like the gangsters were like your we sold the place to another place and other people. Like there’s just, you know, there were so many times in that story when it went terribly wrong. And it seems that
that’s just the edited highlights, right.
Yeah, plus, that’s not even experiencing it. That’s Like a that’s like a sweet five minute version story of it right? Like, as opposed to like, No, no, this was months of my life like ripped apart, I get it. And the fact that you kept at it that you were like, I’m making this happen. That’s admirable, right? You could have quit at any point but you didn’t write you kept trying to make it happen. You kept trying to honor your commitments, you kept trying to put this show together, that that matters. That’s a good story. And that in and of itself is a good thing, like a quality to have when you’re a person who wants to do you know, this kind of stuff. You want to work in comedy you want to produce shows great, well, this is stuff that happens. So can you handle that if you can’t, then it’s really nice work and at the grocery store, like, you know what I mean? Go ahead, you know, it’s an honorable job. I’m just saying like, you don’t have to worry about producing the whole thing if you don’t have to worry about it right. But what’s out what’s funny in your story, Alex and and you know, Similarly in the, in the terrible stories of Nick as well, is that you kept good doing it right. Like, like what you wanted. Okay? It was still there. No, no, you’re trying to find something we all are. That’s why I keep doing stuff like, like I, you know, come out to like, stupid roaming monkeys. Yeah, absolutely, but in a good way, in a good way, in a fun way. You know, like you can’t stop being who you are, you can’t stop wanting what you want. I would like to do comedy. It seems let’s try it this way. Ah, every single roadblock available was put in front of me. Maybe this isn’t my path. Let’s try another one. Right. And that honest to goodness, really and truly is what I’m always trying to communicate with this podcast for real is that like, you might have to reinvent yourself and do different things and also you might find that the light style required of one of these jobs that you thought you wanted isn’t the lifestyle you want to live. Like we’re all different we all some people like it, you know like staying up late and stuff like that like, like when I heard that SNL didn’t have to do the overnight thing but that they do it because it’s cool. I was like, Get the hell out of here. Like, like they could work nine to five and just go to bed like normal people, but they don’t, right. That’s their choice. That’s what they want to do. That’s the lifestyle they want to live in the same way that like building a festival like Edinburgh requires like a nose to the grindstone insanity negotiation with 1000 people who have a likelihood of taking advantage of the situation. And you know, you’re trying to do art and they’re just trying to do business and they don’t care who you are, you know, like but that’s real. That’s that’s real life. If you’re not famous and somebody who’s not going like you want to work for this program your boots on the ground, asking a person Notice you have this open space can I rent it? Like, and that guy’s good or bad? And you deal with that, like, I know it’s real. It’s like you keep trying to do it and clearly You’re such a producer, Alex, rave nights, like the efforts of all of these things is so intense, like, I don’t know what I when I listen to people’s stories, I glean things and I put together a full story but I’m not living it. What do you think like, Is it like you keep doing it because you love it or, you know, are you Sisyphus, up the hill or whatever.
Um, you keep doing it because you love it.
Once things start to go wrong. To begin with you keep doing it because you’re convinced you can make it right.
In the end, you keep doing it because
you can’t stop because there are too many other people relying on
So you have to keep going.
Yeah. I mean, that’s the honorable thing to do. To continue to honor your commitments, you’re like I said, I would do this and even if it doesn’t work out the way I wanted it, I’m doing it. It’s happening.
Man, you’re good.
That was one of the things that I, I thought, Oh, I reckon Alex would be a really good person to do a podcast with because I, I used to do a podcast back in 2005. I did a podcast called wipe my Bush, which was a satirical podcast about George Bush Jr. and Tony Blair and john Prescott. No various, it was a satirical show and, and my co producer of that, sadly died after various years and things, and I must take me Oh, seven, at least seven years to find a new creative partner, which is Alex. Alex, you’re my new creative partner. Am I? Yeah. Oh, no. Bad news. Yeah, but seriously, you know, yeah, it’s really difficult when you creative partner dies cause you sort of lost, you know, especially if you’ve been doing I mean, me and my creative partner was guy called Ed Ricard bell. We did I know three different podcast series which are all perfectly successful, you know, good listenership, etc, etc. And then he got, he had a brain tumor and he passed away. And it’s difficult to find someone that you can rely on creatively and in a in a Sort of organizational way to go. So yeah, Alex, you, you, you’ve got something to say on this, as well. Well, yeah, I think he’s, I think he said, I think it really is those two things you’ve got to be, you’ve got it, you’ve got to get each other creatively. You’ve got to want to do the same things. But you’ve also got to know that you can rely on each other to get jobs done. I’ve had lots of things that I started off with people and it became really quickly an errand but they weren’t interested in, in doing any of the hard work, and it all sort of falls or ends up falling on you.
Which is just not fun. At all. I mean, I had one sketch I had one sketch group, but those are
where it started off. It started off we were going to write together we’re going to perform together we’re going to book gigs together.
It ended up that I was writing all of the sketches. I was booking all of the gigs. We also agreed to set up a night for a night so that we can have a place where we’d definitely be able to form regularly. And I ended up having to do all of the work on booking, setting up the room and and promoting it. And at some point, I just turned around and said that I’m not doing this anymore. Because
you’re clearly not that interested in doing any work. And I think that happens quite often. Whereas with clowns.
I said, that’s really selfish, man.
So to answer a question that you asked quite a while ago, Amy, I’m not a natural organizer. I don’t think I think anyone who goes into comedy
is a natural organizer. No.
It’s funny cuz I went into comedy for the organization.
Yeah, I mean, with your sketch show says it was a it was it wasn’t funny, but it was really well organized. Yeah.
Oh my God, I’ve gotten that review.
no I mean, I think there’s two different kinds, well, probably there’s about 40 different kinds of comedians out there. But like, in my experience, I find that there’s people that want to do all the work and all the parts and all the organizing and, and then there’s the people who want to just show up and have it happen around them. And I wish I didn’t have to work with the people who wanted to show up and have it happen around them, but I do. So I you know, I often have a group of two or three people where we’re kind of like the The leaders of the group, and we take most of the responsibility. And then we just give, you know, small bits to the people who we have know aren’t going to do the other parts. Like, I, I’ve given up trying to like change people or try to make them work when I know they’re not going to work. So instead, I just take note of who works and who doesn’t. And then I’ve put people into where they want to be, like, I can’t fight with that. And it’s not like comedy is not where I think, to the point of comedy isn’t really where you find a bunch of organizers. I think it’s like, comedy is not where you’re gonna do well being like, guys, we’ve got to play by the rules. What are you doing? There’s not a lot of that, that goes well. You know what I mean? So you have to find a way of getting what you want out of the situation without nagging about it. And I snagged for years. Oh, my God, I nagged for years, and I had a bunch of People come to me and be like me, I really can’t do this anymore. So now I just wait and watch. And then whatever that person provides, I take and you know, if they don’t do if I give them five jobs and they do two jobs, I have a backup for the three jobs. They don’t do, like, but I’ll usually also work with people where I know more about the way they work, or I have somebody that I know that works with them. So I can be like, how are they with learning lines? Like, oh, they don’t learn lines, but the audience loves them and you’re like, cool. What about showing up for rehearsal? do they do it? Yes. 20 minutes late, excellent. I’ll put their stuff at the end of the rehearsal. Like you can’t like like I’ve stopped trying to make people arrive on time or, or do the work that they need to do I give them just enough, and then they do that. Right. So I don’t know. I would consider myself a producer and an organizer. I see that you’re not that that Alex you don’t feel that way. You do do a lot of producing just from The stories I have been told, just seems to be a skill set you have in case you are unaware. But, but I get not wanting to do it who boy who or how they do I I too, have taken a break from producing shows since I had my child in 2017. So I’ve been sort of stay at home momming for the past three years. So I haven’t been producing shows in theaters anymore. And going out and doing that. I still teach classes but mostly online or, you know, like a weekend. weekend level one improv here and there. But, you know, it’s not the same kind of thing. I’m not like everyone. Ready. What’s up?
You were already set up for lockdown there.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, lockdown is pretty much just like the rest of the world learned what I’d been doing. No, I like Not even a joke. like everyone’s like, Oh my god, how am I gonna sit inside all the time? I was like, Yeah, I got over that hump after the first year. Like,
for me, for me, lockdown has been a nightmare because I work from home normally. Normally it’s me and the dogs, and nobody else. And since locked down, it’s been me, the dogs, my wife, my daughter and my mother in law. all in the same house. Hmm. And I still got to do the same thing. I haven’t written the sitcom. I still haven’t written a sitcom. Yeah.
I mean, you don’t have to write it. You just have to put cameras up and then just put it the transcript of the videos into an AI and then there you go. Your script is
writes itself writes itself, my terrible life and that’s what’s called
is the name of a show already on its own. So
a terrible life probably. And it’s probably like, I live in a mansion. I don’t have enough diamonds you guys like
that’s what it is. I was like don’t Don’t get it twisted. It’s not about actual terrible lives. Those are. That’s just real life. Oh my god. So let’s get to you guys released the clowns podcast you guys didn’t know each other during these amazing journeys that you’ve shared with me all these things that you’ve learned all this like comedy that you’ve been doing but separately, how did you mean Tell me about that Kismet moment.
So basically, after the atom debacle I went through about a year when I just I did not want to go out of the house, meet anyone do anything. I was genuinely just decided to lock myself away. And then my wife, who I rather like, I just thought I’d get that in there.
It’s good TOEFL.
she spotted these Some improv classes and said, Well, why don’t you kind of do that? Just go and do something to get yourself out again.
And I started going and really enjoyed it. And that’s where I met Nick. Oh, where was it? In? In the was it?
North London? Yeah, North London, sort of, sort of Austin of London.
Okay, okay. Like a theater or like a group. what’s the what’s the crowd? Who did you take the class with?
is a group called the free association. Hmm. I would have said as a collective with improvisers. Yeah.
And I had had started doing improv, I think it was two years previously. And I’d done the level one course and then a level two course with the complete In different group called monkey toast, and then stopped for a year, and then did the level two course again. And I think the level three course. And at the end of that you do a show and it was all great. And you know what it’s like if you’re an improv class, everyone’s like, we’re gonna be the best friends forever. Yeah. And what happened was I, everyone else signed up for the next level class. And I realized it was clashing with I was on holiday for a week for one of them. And then two of them I couldn’t do for various family reasons. And I said to the teacher, well, I can’t do three of the 10 classes. Is that a problem? He said, You can’t do the class. Oh, no. Okay. But I really wanted to do another improv thing. So I found the free association signed up to their class and the first night, the first class My first sketch was, I think with Alex was with Alex. mending a broken TV.
Oh, I love that you remember it?
Yeah, it was it was a fun little sketch. Isn’t that brilliant? It was one of those things. It just worked. It worked really nicely. It was dumb. So the the only the only direction we had was that we’re fixing a TV and we sort of built this scene where it became apparent I was having an affair with Nick’s wife. Yeah, in next scene wife, by the way, I should clarify that. Sure. And it was it was really good fun. Yeah, it was it was really good fun and you know, you die. It’s kind of like well, in some respects, it is like meeting a romantic partner totally, you know, normally within the first side know 10 minutes or so. Whether you Get on. Oh, yeah, no, there’s a chemistry there. Um,
you know, it’s funny, I think you’re right that it actually is like that. And I think that a lot of times that’s what people like, misunderstand that, that the feeling can represent different things. You know what I mean? Because I definitely have, I call this one guy that I work with Patrick I call him my work boyfriend. Like because and my husband calls him my work boyfriend, right? Because like, we are together on stuff, like when we make stuff, it’s awesome. We love working together, you know, that kind of stuff. But it’s like, but it’s like I didn’t, you know, if I were no younger, I guess I would potentially be like, Oh, no, but what if I like Patrick wood? Does that hurt? My marriage doesn’t hurt my marriage? Who cares? Like, I’m not trying to date Patrick, right? I’m just trying to make stuff and he also wants to make stuff and we like making the same kind of stuff. Cool, right? Yeah, I think Yeah.
Well, that’s one of the good things about getting older. Yeah. Is that, you know, we work with a number of really talented women who, you know, you really connect with in a scene. And I just I, I don’t know about you, Alex. I mean, I just get on with the women we have in released the clowns so wonderfully well, yeah. And I know the other side of being a male female relationship doesn’t even occur. It’s just really lovely. Having a that, that connection is just brilliant.
Yeah. You know, I often thought about it when I got married. It was like I was released from the, from the burden of having to try to date I was released, like, I could look at every One like a human again. I wasn’t just like who wants to do it? Like it was just like
Yeah, of course.
wants to do.
Oh not not out loud under my breath.
Are you sure? Are you sure?
I mean, I go up to small groups.
those situations in your head
Are you sure?
No. But then when I got married, I was released from that and have to worry about
cares. I’m not doing it with anybody. Right. So I was like, able to make friends again and like, really talked to people and it wasn’t like, it wasn’t like do I have Question this person What’s going on? Like? Are we like friends? Are we like dating and I don’t know why it’s just like a weird gross drug that is in yourself for until you’re finally your your body says to you this one we’re gonna stick with this one so you can just stop worrying about all that crap and then it went away and I was like, Ah, look at my I have guy friends again like honestly for years I’d stopped having guy friends in high school. I only hung out with guys because I wasn’t doing anything in high school. I was just being a person, right? And then I started dating in college and all of a sudden that kind of guy friends. I didn’t know why. Just cuz I wanted to do it. I kept saying, hey, do you want to do it? It was very uncomfortable.
But I’m sporting a pattern here me.
It’s my it’s my problem. But let’s talk more about your love and how it developed and blossomed into this beautiful podcast.
Oh, Okay, yeah, I like
this one. Oh, okay.
You guys are two different story. I don’t know.
What happens is a me, a daddy improviser, an another daddy improviser who loves pretty much get together. Um actually what happened was we did this course together. And one of the things we worked out from like the second week was that we literally live about 500 yards away from each other. And we were both having to schlep up to North London from South London. And quite often I’d be cycling up there. And Alex would usually be driving because he’d be coming for work. And then some days I’d have no if I’d gone in, buy the tube and the train. I’d say say to Alex Jones. car with you. That kind of please. And he go Yeah. And then we’d have drive back across town and have all that extra time to like, you know, you can sort of de pressurize from from the from the class. You’ve been in chit chat and, and just over the course of that time I thought, You know what? I reckon we could do a podcast here. And I’d been coming up with an idea of doing a podcast sketch comedy show. And yeah, so we just kind of thought, Hey, why don’t we do this? And and because we go getting we’re go getting can do guys. We did it. You know, it took it took us about what, six months to get our act together. Yeah. But that was because I’d had a very big break. You know, like a seven or eight a break from sound editing. So I needed to get back up to speed on how to do it.
oh, yeah, technology changed.
Yeah, well, I mean, well, it just just I hadn’t done it in that long. I still have the same equipment I was using in 2006. So, you know, it’s a really old, old studies Pro Tools, though. So I mean, it’s a very solid, but it is 2006 Pro Tools. Anyway, that’s beside the point. But it did take us It took us six months to line up other performers to be in it other people to write, you know, because it’s not just us the rights the whole show. That’d be too much work. And, and just to get that sort of collegiate feel, but with us at the tiller, you know, yeah. And then we we launched
Did you go with like multiple episodes done? Because you said you took a little time did you like, record a bunch of stuff and get like three or four episodes done before you started? We I mean, we already had one
episode fully edited. But the way the way we do our recordings we do over a couple of days. This might be one whole weekend or it might be the Saturday, one weekend, Sunday, the next but over those couple of days, we get everyone in. And we just record a load of sketches. I mean, yeah. Often we got within about those two days with 2530 or more sketches. Well, we’ll do 20 in a day. Yeah, easily. Yeah. So I think our record for day I think might be 27. Yeah, and I think our record for a weekend was was 40 something. Yeah, yeah.
More like six or seven. Yeah. Okay,
so one of those recording sessions sets us up for quite a while and then there are editors, but we so we didn’t have a bunch of shows we, we didn’t really know much about launching a podcast to be honest. So I know some people say you should have a few shows all ready to go. We didn’t do that. We were in a completely different way. And we started originally we were doing it weekly. First, what was it 12 shows? Yeah, we were getting out one show a week. And it was just brutal. The schedule was brutal and and mostly for Nick. It was just the the pressure of editing the show. I love doing 25 hours of sound editing a week that
I’m sure you do show you sure we should be doing this weekly and you get done. Yeah, yeah. In the end, you said No. Do you mind if we go to fortnightly? No, I wouldn’t mind. I’ve been saying it all the time.
It’s hard though. You know, you look at things online that say, Oh, it’s gotta be this all it’s got to be as regular. As long as somebody keeps getting it, even if they don’t if they get it once a week, or once every two weeks, or Heck, once a month, like, as long as they know, they’re fine with it these days, but, but I understand putting, like, you know, expect expectations on yourself. Like, I have to do this and this must happen. Why can’t I do it? And then super sorry, but it’s difficult. So you got to give yourself a break. I’m glad you gave yourself the break. I was worried you’d be like, and we still do it weekly. And you know, he had a mental breakdown a couple months ago, but it’s okay, I’m gonna be fine. So
the original podcast I did wet my bush. We were doing three eight minute episodes a week. So it was a 24 minutes of scripted comedy a week. And that was that really was brutal. Because that was that was a minimum of you know, pretty much I was doing 45 hours a week on that show on top of my normal paid work. So was it all just about politics was it just wasn’t like all the sketches were about the same kind of thing. I was really a sitcom. It was a sitcom about George Bush Jr. who normal drums failed. So but we had, we had some very good impressionists. And then we play with it. So we’d have all shorts negatives in every show, as one of george bush’s cohorts, and Donald Rumsfeld rather than trying to do Donald Rumsfeld’s voice, we had him as Yoda. Yeah, or Yoda as him Sure. And, you know, just just just silly, crazy stuff. But some Yeah, no, it was all political satire. Yeah.
Well, I was just thinking like that makes it even harder. Like when you’re doing comedy and you’re like listening stuff, whereas you’re editing it. It’s not like the worst. Like, I like editing these episodes. Because I get to like, re Listen, I take time I like I’ll put this away in a folder. And then in three weeks, I’ll come back to it and edit it, and I’ll relist into it. And I’m like, oh, remember, that was nice. You know. So it’s like a whole new experience. And with comedy, you get to enjoy that and get through it and make it sound good. But I imagine going through the politics can get a little heavy,
silly politics. I mean, none of it made it was you know, things like one scenario was George Bush gets lost in Europe. And Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister here at the time, and all sorts, nega and Condoleezza Rice how hire Mr. T to Be the fourth member of the Abba tribute band yabba dabba Doo and go undercover in Europe to rescue george bush.
Okay, so now like Oh, hi. Yeah, it’s not like the hard topics like no hard hit. Okay, cool cool. guys remember when garius thing remember? Yes. Those are the day I’d love to i’d hug him right now if I saw him and hug him right in
Coronavirus and all. So you guys, okay? I’m sorry you’re I hear someone
saying no, no, no, you go you go.
So I wanted to you guys have talked about like developing this team that you do the sketches with that you’re working with? So you’re essentially like the two main producers at with a crowd of people that are developing this material with you both writing it and performing it. What is that like? Like? How many people How does it work? You said you do it like two days a month. Is it like every weekend or you know, like once a month for two days, like,
in normal times, it’s between normal times, I guess is that every five or six weeks, Nick? Yeah, yeah, we have one of these big marathon recording sessions. And we have, you know, we got people we know who, right. And we asked them if they got sketches. If they’ve got them, they send them if they don’t, they don’t we both writes as well. So I’m certainly more recently, we’ve been carrying quite a lot of the load of writing, but we also did at one point, we did an open call for writers
which pulled in a lot of a lot of very, very, very bad stuff, but some really, really good new writers.
And that is was a bit of a pleasure, actually, so quite a few of those are working with us as well. And then in terms of performers
some of them were from the improv classes. Some of them were people we knew from around the circuit. And it’s whoever can turn up. Really?
Yeah. Okay, so it’s not like this, around five or six people that do it every time. It’s like, you cast a new with each with each meeting.
It depends. Off 1000 or so who’ve been there pretty much all the time. And then there’s other people who sometimes they can sometimes they can’t.
Yeah, it’s a it’s a it’s a sort of
a Moveable Feast, a loose conglomeration, because obviously, these guys you know, the actor’s life the writers life is is difficult to predict. So, we’ve always made it very clear to anyone, anyone who We’ve had in writing or acting with us. Look, if you can’t do it for six months or a year, that’s fine. Come back to us when you can just let us know. And and you’re always welcome, you know, because unless somebody doesn’t fit with us, and so far, I think that’s down to literally one person. You know, we’re really happy to just just let people mix in every
turn up for a couple of hours. Because that’s cool as well.
Yeah, that’s true. I mean, you know, people might literally say, I can do two till four. Is that all right? We’re like, Yes, we’ll line up the sketches flute for when you’re there. Yeah.
It was made it a bit more tricky is obviously locked down. So what we’ve, what we’ve been doing, obviously, we had a big load of sketches recorded from the last big session, which has been keeping us going and then we’ve been doing monologues so we send we aren’t we asked for scripts for monologues and we produced that we wrote some as well. And we sent them out to some of the actors or we’ve done some of them and sort of fitting those into the shows as well to help make our material go a bit further. Totally.
Totally. That’s great. That’s a great idea Plus, you know, hey man, exercise a new writing you’re usually writing for multiple people now you got to write for one doesn’t mean it can’t be just as good a sketch.
Yeah, true. Totally.
I one of the things I’ve been teaching a sketch comedy writing class on Saturdays, and do like a five week workshop situation where it’s like the first three weeks are like just basic ideas on how to come up with sketch ideas and different ways to look at it. And then the fourth week is solo sketches and the fifth week is multiple person sketches, and my homework for the solo sketch day, as always, write me a two page monologue and if you can record it and put it on the internet, cuz Why not? Your home? Yeah, get her down. Right. So that I’ve been trying to, like do that, you know, just to a lot of people were looking for something creative because there aren’t classes happening right now and nothing’s going on. So I’ve worked with a couple of different like troops that will come to me and be like, we all want to take it together. And then that way they can take what I’ve told them and work on their own thing together separately. But, but yeah, you know, solo sketches are really great. I love the fact that you’re like getting them from people and like trying a new different thing. I feel like the nice thing about having to adjust the way that we perform with the lockdown has really opened up a lot of creative solutions for a lot of people and I find that it’s great. I feel like a lot of a lot of things had been stagnant in You know, sort of creative things. Okay, I guess is how we do it. Awesome. So now that we have reinvent a little bit, I think that that’s helped. That’s really like, you know, got people’s imaginations going, trying to look on the bright side, you know?
No, I think absolutely. It’s been really interesting. How how people have coped because because part of my day job is I direct voiceovers nice, short animations. And, you know, normally I’d go to a recording studio, sit with the engineer, have the vocal artist in the booth, maybe have the client with us or at the end of a phone and all of this and and what we’ve been doing is literally it’s it’s the voice artist at home, with their computer in their microphone. Then the engineer is at his house or her house. I’m at my house. We’re all doing it over zoom. It’s It’s crazy. It’s really worked, you know, so. So it’s, it is fascinating how people are coping.
Yeah, sort of reinventing how they accomplish the task. Like, that’s awesome. I’m so glad
Yeah, well thankfully one of one of those voiceover artists is one about performance. So he has a really sweet setup at home. So when he’s doing stuff, it actually sounds better than the stuff we recorded our booth at my house, which is where we normally record so.
So in the future, we’re just going to his house. That’s the plan.
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think that would be the way to do it. In fact, turn around the casters all around to cast buzz.
Oh, please, everyone. Don’t rush this house right now. Put your masks on. Stay away. Yell from the window.
We wish we could come in your microphone is beautiful.
We can do that. Now. The lockdown is almost finished here. You know and if you remember the weeks ago
Yeah, sure. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the world. I’m not going to pretend to know. But what I would love to hear from you guys sort of as a final question to wrap it up is you’ve told a lot of great stories, a lot of different experiences that you guys have had along the way. do either one of you or both of you have any advice for people who would potentially be you know, like you were when you just met you know, or or in various creative things. How do you keep it going when, when things don’t work out? Or, or how do you find somebody like what do you need to be open to to get the work done or find somebody to do the work with any advice you have?
do you have any thoughts? Um
Well, good people you get on with
thanks. Work with idiots.
I work with people who don’t want to think that would annoy you, or who
want to do what they want to do, and don’t really care about what you want to do, you have to have that relationship where actually, you’re both enjoying what you’re doing or you’re all enjoying what you’re doing. And that’s the main thing is you just enjoy it. Do something you enjoy doing. And if you don’t enjoy doing it, don’t do it. Hmm,
yeah, I’d agree with that. Especially, I mean, you know, cuz I’m doing things that when you got a podcast, you know, there are times it’s not easy. You know, if you’re looking at your numbers, you’re not happy with the number of listeners you’ve got and you’re trying to work out how to how to get the word out about your wonderful podcast, and it can be it’s not necessarily all fun. Or even if you know sometimes I’ll be doing editing a show and it’s not going according to plan. And one sketch has taken me six or seven hours and I’m wanting to tear my hair out. And you know it. You need to be working with people that you get on with in those situations, because otherwise you very rapidly fall apart. You know, and I think it’s mutual respect as well. That doesn’t matter. Yeah. It’s like a marriage. As soon as the respect goes out of the marriage, then the marriage is really doomed. I’d say you’ve got to like the person and respect them as a person. Or result respect to me, Alex,
good creative advice, and marriage advice, guys.
You’re really doing it.
course I respect you. That’s good.
Because I know that I know that you like to ride around with other creative partners.
And that’s just unit Yeah.
We found that with true
uses protection when he writes with
them. Oh, thank goodness. Okay.
guys, thank you for being on the podcast and chatting with me. I really appreciate you sharing stories of your life and being so open about everything. You guys are really fun. I also loved all the riffing that was really enjoyable. And I’m excited for all of your future episodes and collaborations.
Well, thanks, Amy. It’s been
thanks for listening to us but why podcasts? Check out all our episodes on yes but why podcast calm or check out all the content on our network at Universal at HC Universal Network calm