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Comedy Knights Fresh Comedian of 2015 Finalist PHIL LUCAS

InterviewPosted by Bobby Carroll Sat, August 29, 2015 12:28:29
What area of London do you currently live in or most associate yourself with?
I grew up in Twickenham, so I’m a proper suburban grub. I live in Brighton now though.

How would you describe your act in five words?
Multimedia nonsense. Everything is visual.

How long have you been doing comedy?
Live about three years, I think.

What is your day job?
I write comedy and do stupid comedy projects for websites, magazines and my own amusement. Because I work from home I often have afternoon naps. I love an afternoon nap.

What has been your worst job?
I once had to dress as a heraldic trumpeter and walk around Olympia. After an hour I despaired and locked myself in a toilet cubicle for the rest of the day with Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

Why do you love comedy?
I think life is absurd and ridiculous. Comedy is the best way to counter and make sense of that ridiculousness.

Who are your heroes?
At gigs I hear a lot about big US comedians that have influenced other acts. Most of the time I’ve not got a clue who they’re talking about. I was brought up on British 70s TV and that’s been my main influence really. So for me it’s Dick Emery, Leonard Rossiter, Yootha Joyce, Peter Butterworth, Kenneth Williams, Richard O'Sullivan - people of that ilk. I’m all for Louis C.K., but Dick Emery falling down a drain whilst dressed as a vicar is more me.

What made you bite the bullet and start performing?
I’d always wanted to do it, but had no idea how to. I knew I could never be a stand up with jokes and a microphone. It’s a truly beautiful and enviable skill, but it’s one I just don’t have. So it wasn’t really until the advent of social media and discovering PowerPoint that I realised it was possible to do the sort of comedy live that’s always going around in my head. And Rachel Parris once said I should start doing it.

What was your first gig like?
It was nice, a friendly monthly night in Brighton. I remember berating someone with a Kit-Kat. That bit never made it to the second gig.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I’m not sure I’ve achieved much really, but I saw Elizabeth from Poldark at an airport the other day.

What has been your favourite gig?
It’s hard to pick one, but a charity gig I did in Brighton for Sea Shepherd comes to mind as one of the loveliest. Sea Shepherd are a bit heavy on dead dolphin photos on Facebook, but they mean well.

And describe your worst?
Sutton Coldfield on a Saturday night. Every single audience member stared at me blankly with loathing in their cold, dead eyes. It was OK though because when I wrote on Twitter that I’d died on stage, Tesco felt sorry for me and sent me a voucher for some free Brussels sprouts and a pair of Beats by Dr Dre headphones, (it’s a long story). I got a fair bit selling those headphones on eBay.

Weirdest heckle?
By and large I don’t get heckled much. I think it’s because I shout and am quite high energy, so maybe people think I’m disjointed and I’d embarrass them if they heckled. I’m more than happy if they think that as it enables me to just get on with my set. Because I use PowerPoint I don’t have the option of adjusting my set in real-time to audience reactions, so I’d rather not be heckled.
Anyway, I don’t hold with the view that heckling adds something to a comedy evening. Hecklers are like viruses. I accept they’re out there, but I’d prefer it if they were eradicated.

What is the best thing about being a comedian?
You get to put the things that are in your head on stage in front of, mostly, nice people. You also get to meet some truly lovely comics and audience members from all backgrounds and perspectives.

What is the biggest lesson you've learnt?
If you’re serious about doing comedy you’ve pretty much got to want to live it, or accept that you’ve got to live it.

Where do you hope to be in ten years with your comedy?
God knows. I’m not interested in striving for fame or anything like that. I just want to continue working hard at something I truly love. As long as people like my stuff, I’m making a living doing comedy in some form, and can afford to go to Pizza Express occasionally without having to think about the cost, then I’ll be happy. I’m very ambitious in terms of producing the absolute best material my brain and the hours in the day will allow, but not in terms of entering an alternative rat race.

Any other aspirations?
I’d like to do a forward roll on the M25, own an aircraft museum and buy a single InterCity 125 train when the rail operators are finished with them. It’s a design classic.

What's your favourite joke by another act or from your childhood? In terms of other acts, Paul F Taylor, Sean McLoughlin and Andrew O'Neill have any number of lines and routines that I would give my less useful arm to have written. From my childhood, there’s a bit in Carry on Camping that ends with the punchline, “Gone for a P,” (as in the letter P). There’s no point in me trying to explain this gag in words though, it won’t work at all. I’m not sure how happy any of the above acts will be to appear in the same paragraph as Carry on Camping, but there you go.

PHIL LUCAS// // @phillucas