Andrew Dipper

Jonny And The Baptists Q&A

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Nigel Farage’s worst enemy Jonny and the Baptists return to the Edinburgh Fringe in August to heap more misery on UKIP and their politician pals. They talk to Giggle Beats about the inspiration behind their songs, new show The Satiric Verses, a possible round two with Farage and more.

How did Jonny and the Baptists form?

Well we met at a wedding (not our wedding – that would be weird) and bonded over a mutual love of comedy, Lead Belly and free booze. Plus we were the only two people not dancing, and lonesome pissed people gravitate towards one another. We’d like to make it clear at this point that Paddy was not dancing due to choice and severe inability, whereas Jonny had just hurt his foot. You should see him dance – his hips are like cobras. Big majestic hip-cobras.

What inspires your songs?

It really comes down to actually caring about things. Our songs are driven by issues and things that have upset us, a lot of honesty, and the odd fictional encounter with famed children’s author Quentin Blake. Hopefully we write songs that are at first hysterically funny and then profoundly though-provoking. Like Ke$ha.

Talk us through your writing process…

It’s all over the place. Sometimes we start with a massive topic that we feel needs to be debated through the time-honoured classic of comedy song, other times it’s more ‘check out these two chords – aren’t they just the best chords you have ever heard?’. Some songs take months of work and countless redrafts otherwise we just knock them out in six minutes over the eleventh Tequila Sunrise of the afternoon. Again, just like Ke$ha.

You recently feared the wrath of UKIP supporters – did you anticipate the kind of backlash (and support) you received from the tour?

Mostly it was all a bit baffling – both the level of attacks from UKIP and the incredibly flattering support we then received for what’s essentially two blokes doing jokes with a guitar. At the end of the day, we were just happy to sell a few more tickets and have some new material for the next show – so the Edinburgh run will hopefully bring that all up to date!

Tell us about your new show, The Satiric Verses.

The Satiric Verses is our call to arms – it’s a show about British revolution, stamping your feet and raising your fists. But politely and with decorum. We’ve travelled the country over the past year and witnessed the contrast between the press’ and politicians’ perception of Britain and the reality – The Satiric Verses is the result. With jokes and songs.

What’s your lasting memory of the Fringe?

Still to this day it has to be our first year. On day three, Paddy slipped on a puddle (of course he bloody did) at Marcus Brigstocke’s The Early Edition and ended up in hospital having broken his guitar over his already buggered arm (it’s a long story…. The whole Baptists team had wait in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary feeding Jonny skittles to calm him down.

It was hellish, the feeling that our whole Edinburgh run might already be over – but he pulled through thanks to some brilliant doctors and an enormous amount of rhinoceros-grade painkillers.

In retrospect we shouldn’t have worried – he’s been shot with a crossbow, hit with an axe, electrocuted on stage and knocked over by an N28 bus (Camden Town to Kilburn High Road) and he’s basically fine. Sort of.

Jonny, you’re also doing a stand-up show on the Free Fringe – what can you tell us about that?

It’s called Class Whore – and it’s really about being very confused by the British class system. It’s quite a personal show, hopefully with some very funny stories and the occasional attempt at a one-liner. Basically I grew up with a single mother on benefits but now I have a very posh voice. The show is about me trying to make sense of that – and my mother, who in some ways is the most complicated bit.

What’s next for Jonny and the Baptists after Edinburgh? Round two with Farage?

Well we’ll just have to wait and see! We’ll be doing another UK tour next year in the run-up to the General Election, that much we can tell you. In the meantime Jonny has a lot of stock to make (chicken, ham, etc.) and Paddy really needs to work on his dancing if he’s ever going the get that role in ‘The West Wing: On Ice!’. It’s just like the old saying goes: ‘Soup and Skating? How cool’ (Ke$ha, 2014).

Jonny and the Baptists: The Satiric VersesPleasance Dome, Edinburgh, 30 July – 24 August, 9.40pm, £11/£10 concessions,