Five questions for Tommy Rowson
Quirky Welshman Tommy Rowson brings his debut solo show, Down and Out in Powys and London, to the Edinburgh Fringe. The former So You Think You’re Funny winner talks to Giggle Beats about stand-up, poetry and being Welsh.
Hi Tommy – how are you feeling about your upcoming run at the Fringe?
Excited but also scared. I’m not sure if I’m 10% scared and 90% excited or 90% scared and 10% excited. That’s what’s so exciting about it.
You use poetry in your show – was this a passion of yours before comedy?
I always loved Rap music which is essentially poetry to aphat beat. I first got into it listening to stuff like Bart Simpson and Vanilla Ice and later on Jay from 5ive. Nowadays it’s all become too commercial so I tend to listen to early stuff like Rappin’ Rodney Dangerfield(RIP) and Dee Dee Ramone (RIP) who are both (currently) dead. But their legend (currently) lives on in our hearts.
Is there a unique comedy voice that comes from being a Welshman?
I don’t know. There might be. But also, there might not. It’s a big place. Not as big as China, or USA, or Canada for instance. Or Russia for another instance. But it’s big enough to have a lot of different kind of places, for sure.
If you grew up on the mean streets of Cardiff, chances are you never went out lambing with my Uncle Elwyn in Brecon, whereas I did that when I was 7.
I was excited but also scared (a 90%/10% mix, not sure which way). I saw what I thought was Uncle Elwyn pulling a lamb straight out of a sheep’s arse as if it was “perfectly natural”. That’s an image that stays with you(me).
At 7 years old kids in the city have barely seen a bee have sex with a flower.
But city kids are streetwise. When I first went to Cardiff a man in a long beige overcoat, carrying an empty petrol can told me his car run out of petrol. He had an empty petrol can in his hand to prove it and was wearing a long beige overcoat so I trusted him. He took my address so he could post me a cheque to pay me back the £10 I gave him.
I think by 7, city kids know not to trust someone like that, even if he do have a petrol can to prove it and is wearing a long beige overcoat. Looking back, he did have a moustache so the warning signs were there (if only I’d opened my damn eyes to them).
Who are your comedy heroes?
Early Steve Martin, but also later Steve Martin. Steve Martin’s stand up is the funniest thing I, or anyone else, has ever seen, or ever will see. He doesn’t do stand up anymore but he still writes (books, plays, tweets, etc) and he’s still great.
Stephen Colbert is the funniest person in the world, possibly (probably) the Universe. He somehow managesto make politics funnier than even Nick Clegg (who is a total dreamboat/hunk/scoundrel) does.
And last, but also least, Sunil Patel because he has his own radio show (10am Monday morning on London Soho Radio). I’ve never listened to it but I have listened (religiously) to people who have listened to it and I’ve heard mostly great things. Not least from“the man” Sunil (Patel) himself.
Edinburgh can be very stressful for comics during the Fringe – how do you plan on keeping yourself sane?
I’m taking my Rocky anthology DVD set with me and I’ll be watching them a lot (apart from Rocky 5 cause it’s shit)
Also, hopefully, I’ll be drinking a lot every day, health/bank permitting. Shots, half pints, pints of lager.Or cider. Or Pina Coladas with Sunil Patel.
Tommy Rowson: Down And Out In Powys And London, Underbelly, Edinburgh, 30 July – 24 August, 6.45pm, £8.50/£7 concessions, edfringe.com