Five Minute Interview: Felix Dexter
Felix Dexter is an actor, comedian, writer and, bizarrely enough, Law graduate. His 2010/2011 tour takes him to theatres across the country, from Milton Keynes to his closing show in Warrington on February 27th. Andrew Dipper spent five minutes with Dexter, and asked him as many questions as humanly possible. Enjoy.
AD: Hi Felix. How did you start out doing comedy?
FD: I was doing Bar Finals with the intention of having a legal career. During the year while doing Bar Finals I was having a passionate relationship with an American girl, who had to go back to America. She was studying at Stanford University. I convinced myself that I could take off to America and use Stanford’s very comprehensive law library and prepare adequately in the Easter break for my finals. In fact I spent my time on the beach. I didn’t take my finals. In the year I was meant to be preparing to retake I started doing standup which took over my life as what I really fancied doing.
AD: Has that initial motivation changed over the years?
FD: No I’m as passionate now as then that it is the right choice for me.
AD: Can you remember your first joke on stage? Did it work?
FD: “My next door neighbour’s a bit racist. Yesterday he said to me why don’t you go back home, which was odd as I’d only just come out. He’s moved now though I accidentally burnt his house down.” I don’t think it did get much of a laugh. Problem was my early stuff was quite angry and in your face at times but without much guile.
AD: Who is your favourite act at the moment?
FD: Of the newer crop of comedians Kevin Bridges is, I think, one of the funniest and most talented.
AD: Do you have any influences? Are you still being influenced?
FD: Richard Pryor, Richard Pryor, Richard Pryor, Billy Connolly, Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison. Sadly only Billy Connolly is still alive. But these guys made me want to do it and still do.
AD: You’ve done a fair bit of acting in your career, too, but which do you prefer to do on stage? Comedy is obviously a more interactive form of entertainment.
FD: It’s stand-up comedy every time. It’s a difficult but very rewarding “art form” – that sounds a bit poncy but that’s how I feel.
AD: How do you think acting compares to comedy as an art form then? Is it more respected?
FD: Comedians used to be the Mexican Roadsweepers of the Entertainment Industry. With the proliferation of successful standup shows on TV lately things have changed, there is more respect being accorded to good comedians now. It should be a respected art form. Whereas at any given time there may be twenty or thirty great actors in the world there is usually perhaps a handful say five comedians at any given time on whom you can bestow that accolade.
AD: You’ve won a lot of awards as a comic, including the Time Out Comedian of the Year – but do these accolades really influence you as an act?
FD: No they are very subjective. Their main value is as a marketing tool something to put on the poster.
AD: Finally, what can people expect from your tour?
FD: After seeing my show they will be devastatingly more attractive to people of the opposite sex and indeed of the same sex. This is a scientific fact.
More information on Felix Dexter can be found on his website.