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Profile On… Andy Storey.
Mike Manera – Piccadilly Comedy Club, London.
Recently he has been on cracking form. His dry delivery matching the excellently crafted material, wringing gales of laughter from packed audiences. He is quickly establishing himself as a must-see act.
We thought it would be a good time to catch up with him…
Where are you at this moment, and is it fun?
I’m drinking coffee from a ‘Votes for Women’ mug. It’s my girlfriend’s mug, but I hasten to add that I made the coffee myself. She’s out at work all day. I adore coffee. Coffee and peanut m&m’s. I need to wash my beard today as there is a build up of Silvikrin firm hold. This week someone told me that I had a hard beard. I wasn’t offended.
What made you first want to perform comedy?
It’s less about the laughter for me and more about doing something in a spotlight. A man, old now and sitting forward in a dressing room chair. He hears the quiet mumbling of the audience. A man doing nothing. He’s not even thinking anymore. A knock comes on the door. “Mr Storey, they are waiting for you!” – “Fuck off, I’m busy.” A man spent. I want to feel spent. Donald Wolfit, Frankie Howerd, Edmund Kean, Dorian Yates, Frank Skinner, Elaine Stritch.
What do you do outside of performing stand up comedy?
Every night I have date with Adriene on a matt. Forty five minutes of Yoga. She talks me through it via You Tube. Yesterday I argued the case, very well I thought, that wet cardboard should go in the ‘garden waste’ bin. I went to a Pantomime after party once and danced the night away with Linda Lusardi. I have served green beans to Andrew Loyd Webber. I once went on a ‘Party Bus’ in Old Street. The driver played Mr Vain by Culture beat and a drunk man was getting naked and setting his chest hair on fire with a lighter. I didn’t enjoy it. I went to Drama School with Matt Baker. I shared a dressing room with Tim Pigott-Smith.
Describe your comedy using only the titles of songs or films that you like…
Big Momma’s house.
What are your favourite comedy clubs (remember who’s asking this)?
Mike Manera’s Comedy Carnival, Big Mike’s Big mike, Mike’s Stand, Comedy Mike’s Comedy Night, Piccadilly Comedy Club London, Piccalilli Comedy Club, Big Mike’s piccalilli Club. Manera’s Sombrero’s. Too much coffee.
The most embarrassing thing you have ever done while drunk is..?
Getting naked and setting my chest hair on fire with a lighter, while listening to Mr Vain by Culture beat on my i-pod. On the number 53,Old Street.
Describe your best and worst gigs?
I did a gig in a naval graveyard. It was winter. The audience were in-doors, and I was outside. They were watching through some open doors. I took a coffee on with me. My teeth chattered for the first 5-7 minutes. I was on for twenty. And the worst gig I ever did… was as a warm-up act in a Theatre before a play. After an argument with an audience member, who I couldn’t see, I exited the stage shouting into the dark “I hope you burn in a house fire.” As the play started directly after my act, I found myself trapped in the auditorium until the interval. When the house lights came up, I ran and ran… I’m still running.
What would you cook us if you invited us to yours for dinner?
I don’t usually answer the door to anybody. I even sign for parcels with the chain on. I don’t mind meeting you at Chiquitos at the O2 later on. You can wear the big straw Sombrero, give off the impression you’re enjoying yourself. Imagine if they gave out comedy turbans in an Indian restaurant.
Do you have any advice for anyone just starting to perform comedy?
Andi Osho Once said to me ‘Come on in – the waters lovely.’ Early on in her burgeoning comedy career. Kind of thing a shark might say.
What have you got planned for the rest of the day?
On a Sunday my partner and I order an Indian takeaway from Cafe Raj in Eltham. Hilary warms the plates, and makes two orange cordials. When the man knocks, I pay him with the chain on. We sit and eat while watching cheap TV. Then we take off our comedy turbans, and get under a sheet on the sofa for a film. In the spotlight or under a sheet. That’s where I’m most happy.
Comedyblogedy.com interviews… Andy Storey.
Sara Shulman – Comedyblogedy.com
How long have you been gigging in comedy?
I was escorted rather forcefully by my elbow to my first gig on the 16th of November 2010. I didn’t want to go. Why would I? I wore a brown suit, black dress zip boots, the kind Elvis wore in the rehearsal sequences in ‘That’s the way it is.’ and a green T-shirt. I wasn’t sure I enjoyed myself. I didn’t enjoy myself. Be careful what you wish for.
How would you describe your comedy?
Every time I find something it’s usually not what I was looking for. Either you’re trying in vain to paint yourself into a corner, or you’re looking down into the well. It’s never what you think it is. Years ago a girlfriend of mine shouted across a room in desperation “For God’s sake, why don’t you just join in!” I knew what she meant. I’m trying to move around more on stage. Be more animated. “Why didn’t you smile?” My partner says to me after my gig. “I thought I was.” I always say.
Which comedians influence your comedy?
I urge you to watch ‘An audience with Kenneth Williams.’ LWT 1983 I think it is. Quite brilliant. The early incarnation of Frank Spencer. I once spent many months salving a bruised spirit with a four cassette collection of Max Miller. Other influences would be Quentin Crisp, Liza with a ‘z’, Elvis, Chuck Berry ( Who I actually met ) Doris Stokes and Bob Dylan. The last one was a joke! Incidentally I also spent a long period of going to bed with a double cassette of ‘On The Road’ read by the late David Carradine. I used to enjoy a cup of tea and an audio tape. I’ve calmed down now. You can’t sustain that kind of lifestyle forever.
Did you always want to go into comedy?
I think I have searched out a spotlight my entire life, in one way or another. I don’t know what pull us into it. The ‘why’ I suppose is really of little interest. I’m quite practical now and I’ve learned to think less. I’ve always dreamt of doing it. So I’m doing it. Every night I don’t want to leave the house. Yet I always go out. I quit every day, and gig every night.
How do you go about writing your material?
I write every day. Allow it to unfold. Be there. Write something. Anything. That’s all you can do.
Do you gig as a comedy performer full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
I’m out of the house as much as I can. Six nights a week is usual. I always try to have one night in where I climb under a sheet on the sofa with my partner and watch something about Myra Hindley or the One Show. I am paid to gig now on a regular basis, but I couldn’t, if asked this very minute just nip out and purchase, for example satin trousers with the money I’ve made this month in Comedy. I once wore linen trousers to a barbeque. Within about ten minutes the trousers smelt like pork. Even when I wasn’t near the pork.
What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
I love the discipline of leaving the house. Waking up and writing with coffee. If I don’t have a routine of sorts I’ll just whirl around in the centre of the living room. I have a friend who tells me when he’s alone he’ll walk around the house like a dinosaur. He needs a routine. I need to be weighted down or I’ll spin off.
I love the solitude of it. Virginia Wolf said. ‘ ..Human beings do not go hand in hand the whole stretch of the way. There is a virgin forest in each; a snowfield where even the print of birds’ feet is unknown, here we go alone and like it better.’
I love that!
I adore it when my Hilary comes to watch. Then we can go for an Indian before the gig. She likes vegetable Dansak.
“Would you like any Poppadom ?” – “Yes please, One each.”
I don’t find anything frustrating. If I don’t like something I simply avoid it. The end. My granddad used to say “End of chat!”
What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
I often forget, but I really do think you have to talk to the audience and share something. Absorbing the mood from them. Somehow feeling what it is on that particular night. Adapting the way in which you might move or the energy with which you speak. And often you get it totally wrong and it falls apart. You really have to be alive only then, and for them. It’s people in a room. Of course if you’re opening and they are all eating ham sandwiches, then you’re fucked.
Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started gigging? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
I shall never forget a barely audible ‘Oh dear’ during a pause in what was already an unbearable Opening twenty in a very busy room. I lashed out the next day at a weekend girl in my local co-op.
What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
I’ll let the words of the divine David Hoyle sum it up for me.
“Who here hasn’t worn a broach, which was sapphires ruby’s and emerald’s, welded to the back of a cockroach. I think we all have.”