Interview: Craig Campbell
If you haven’t seen Craig Campbell perform before, I’d thoroughly recommend it. He’s a larger than life comedian, and, thankfully, his material is just as bold and funny as his persona. Oh, and he likes wood. Having recently supported Frankie Boyle and appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, it looks like the Canadian’s comedy is now reaching a wider audience than ever – and that’s a very good thing. Editor Andrew Dipper and Craig Campbell recently exchanged emails, and here is the result. Enjoy.
AD: Hi Craig! You’ve been doing comedy for years now – what made you want to do stand-up?
CC: Overwhelming desperation to avoid donning a suit, doffing the hair and sucking the proverbial cack fer a living!
AD: How did your first gig go? Can you remember your first joke?
CC: Oh gangbusters, got a key to the city and a recommendation for a Nobel prize in Gigglology! But seriously folks. The show went fine, they lived to laugh again, I lived to gig another day.
Yes I remember my first joke. Oh you want to know it? No, it’s between me and my old friend ‘The Yawning Chasm of Silence.’
AD: So when it comes to new material, who is the first person you tell?
CC: One of my many colourful personalities. If that doesn’t make sense to you don’t consider getting into stand-up.
AD: With your upcoming tour, you seem to have now established yourself as a top comic. How difficult is it for a comedian to go professional and really ‘make it’ in the industry?
CC: First off ‘seem’ is a powerful word but…
If by ‘make it’ we agree means only ‘not having to do another job’, probably not that difficult; however if it’s ‘pulling that off while keepin’ yur dignity and friends we’re talkin’ about?’ Fucking nigh on impossible.
AD: Do you have a favourite act at the moment? Who is the best act you’ve worked with?
CC: L’il Glenny Wool when he’s worked into full bluster is perty damned awesome.
I did a night with Stewart Lee at the fab Electric Palace in Bridport recently and it could well have been the most perfect execution of live stand-up I’ve ever witnessed. There, is that good enough Stewart? Now, give me the fucking money.
Was a long time ago but feck it – I opened for Jim Carrey on NYEve 94 the year Pet Detective was released, although many people in the UK aren’t huge fans now, if you’re open minded enough to allow yourself to float back to that period in time you might not find it difficult to imagine that he was f’in unbelievably funny then.
AD: There are so many comedians around at the moment that they seem to dilute the quality of the industry – do you think there are too many comics doing the circuit?
CC: No, I’m bangin’ a promoter at the mo and know first hand the anguish there is in putting together a well rounded high quality comedy bill. The UK’s appetite for drinkin’ and laughin’ is voracious verging on ravenous. I’m a ‘more the merrier’ which in comedy’s case is literal ‘kind of feller.’If there’re too many doin’ the circuit then some will die off, that happens, that’s life!
By the way, I say I’m ‘bangin’’ ‘er – we also live together, have cats, horses, verbal discourse and some fond memories but also I’m bangin’ ‘er!
AD: How does the Canadian comedy scene differ from the UK circuit? And how does life in the UK differ from Canada? Do you miss home?
CC: It differs in that the UK has one. My bread comes from many baskets on this side which is awesome and provides stability. In Canada ‘the guy’ tells ‘his wife’ to tell ‘the other guy’ to give you ‘the job’ and then they all go to church to discuss the effect your comedy’s having on the children of their village.
I miss the icy temperature of the water coming oot (Get it? We’re Canadian, we say oot and aboot a lot) of the cold tap in the winter, making the jump from a sauna to a shower tray (we also enjoy sprinkling a little froggy aboot in our conversations) exciting. Since forgoing class A’s my thrills have proportionately diversified.
AD: You recently appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Russell Howard’s Good News – how was your experience of mainstream television and are you interested in doing more TV work in the future?
CC: Loved it! The Devil’s cock tastes unsurprisingly like honey, if that’s what this question was probing for? You’re the same ol’ guy slingin’ the same ol’ shite but suddenly millions more people are aware of it – is that a great thing? Sure makes life easier, seems more of them believe your shite might be funny before it starts tumbling out of your smug face, ‘How could him not be funny Maw, he’s were’s on the TV’!
Are you funnier than you were? Of course not, but more people believe that you might be. As for wanting to do more? Yes please! I want a Devil’s cock honey dispenser mounted on our kitchen table, my woman’ll get used to the unsightly vision of me choking on it (just as I’ve done for her) once she pieces together for herself that, despite the minor loss of dignity, it’s where most of our fun will ooze from!
(Ooze, great word…love that word by the way…Ooze)
AD: It is a great word. You’ve got your tour coming up in 2011 – what can we expect from that?
CC: The unexpected – comedy relies upon that.
AD: Finally, if you could give Sweden one safety tip, what would it be?
CC: Sleep with one eye open, cause I’m comin’ back!
If you’re looking to see Craig Campbell perform his 2011 tour begins on February 22nd in Cardiff and ends on June 30th in Swansea, stopping at Darlington (27th February) and Middlesbrough Town Hall (3rd March) on the way.