In his first new show in two years, the master of surreal comedy joins forces with a Camembert piglet join forces to tackle the big issues, such as terrorism, immigration and Ant 'n Dec.
Fans of comedy will need no introduction to Paul Foot - a man often described as a sublime and original comedy genius. In between regular outings at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and collaborations with other big-hitters, such as Noel Fielding and Russell Brand, Paul has found time to get back on tour with the show that offended a thousand piglets. Ahead of his date at the Colchester Arts Centre next Thursday, September 21st, Colchester Life pinned him down on a few burning issues:
How did you settle on the name ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet’ for this tour?
I saw a piglet, and I thought it was a pity she were a piglet and not a person. People have slightly better lives than piglets do. All that mud. I can’t bear to think of it.
Have recent issues helped to inspire it?
Not the title, but yes, parts of the show itself are inspired by certain recent events. There’s flavours of all your favourite tropical issues such as terrorism and astronomy and Spiderman. It’s all in there.
What can audiences expect from it?
I don’t know. I don’t even know what to expect from it. It’s half surreal, half silly, and half hard-hitting satire...and one third trout.
How would you describe your sense of humour?
I mainly laugh at wedding cakes falling over, or newsreaders messing up. I love it when weddings go wrong though. That’s the funniest thing in the whole universe.
You have an extraordinary ability to create hugely funny sets based on topics many may
never consider an area for comedy. How do you come up with these ideas?
What? People don’t think the dwindling numbers of Shire horses is an area for comedy? I thought everyone laughed at stuff like that. I guess the ideas just come from seeing a Shire Horse, or ordering a Chinese takeaway, or taking a walk by a pond. All sorts of ways.
To what extent do you improvise in your performances?
It depends which performances. My tour shows are very carefully planned and executed, even if they don’t look that way. But when I do my Secret Shows for my Connoisseurs, I sometimes improvise the whole show, for 2.4 hours.
You previously worked on a skit about film ideas. Do you have any plans to write a script for
film or TV?
No. I love stand-up comedy. It is my job, and my hobby, and it’s my only focus. All my creative energy goes on writing my stand-up shows. That’s what I really love doing.
How do you try out your new material?
I often try out my new material at my Secret Shows first. So the top Connoisseurs of my comedy see it first. And then I try out the comedy at various shows I do around the country. I eventually premier the new completed show at the Edinburgh Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sturgeon.
What do you wish you knew when you started out in comedy?
I wish I’d known that, one day, I would be successful. Nowadays, weird and surreal comedy is quite popular, but when I started out I was one of the only weird ones, and no-one wanted the weird comedy. I was spectacularly unsuccessful for about 14.3 years, earning no money and getting booed off stages. And it was very difficult, but I stuck to my instincts, and one day, after 14.3 years I became an overnight success. It would have been nice to know in those long years that it would all be OK one day.
Do you notice any differences in audiences around the country?
Not really. I find that, wherever I do a show, the people that come to see me are very plugged in and sophisticated. They know what to expect and they come to see the surreal humour. The shows are always wonderful and filled with top quality people.
Don't miss the chance to see this surreal and hilarious comic at the ever-reliable Arts Centre. Tickets are still (just!) available here.