Andrew Dipper

New Act of the Month: Stephen Frizzle

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Stephen ‘Friz’ Frizzle is a 26-year-old comedian from Lincolnshire who performs musical comedy in Newcastle. He is our September New Act of the Month.

Frizzle used to describe his act as: “plinky plonky laughy laugh.” Now he goes for: “I will ruin your favourite songs. It’s better than it sounds.” He speaks to Andrew Dipper about comedy, being a flippant nine-year-old, Chris Moyles, Adrian Chiles and more.

AD: Hi Stephen. First thing’s first, talk us through how you got into comedy…

SF: Comedy has always fascinated me. When I was about nine, I was an avid reader of the Calvin and Hobbes anthology of cartoon strips by Bill Watterson. I remember the library had about five collections, which I consistently read back to back.

Watterson’s way of wit showed me a way of looking at the world differently, but also introduced me to sarcasm at a very, very young age. I remember a Primary School teacher stating in my report card that I was very “flippant”. A flippant nine-year old. Great start to a comedic path.

I spent university performing my material to dorm rooms, and after I graduated, I was introduced to Pink Lane Poetry and Performance, a monthly night that used to happen at The Jazz Cafe on Pink Lane.

That introduced me to performing to an actual audience, and I’ve never looked back since. The regular shows sadly had to finish after Keith Crombie, the owner, passed away.

I’m forever grateful to Robbie Lee Hurst, Jessica Johnson and Keith for making that happen, and the nights will sadly be missed. Everything I do in the future of my comedy career is down to them.

AD: Why did you decide to do musical comedy instead of straight stand-up?

SF: I grew up listening to Chris Moyles’ parodies and trying to record them onto a cassette. Luckily, I grew out of that before all hope was lost. A friend introduced me to “Weird Al” Yankovic and I started collecting his albums and then performing his songs ad verbatim on the back of a bus to various friends. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I was being annoying as hell.

As the years went on, I was introduced to other parodists (Bob Ricci, Amateur Transplants, Luke Ski, Bob Rivers, etc). But, then it was the dream of writing and performing my own material that convinced me to do my own stuff.

AD: How would you best describe your act?

SF: “Plinky Plonky Laughy Laugh” used to be the go-to description of the act. Now I tend to go for “I will ruin your favourite songs. It’s better than it sounds”.

AD: You’ve got a distinctive look on stage – do you think image is important in comedy?

SF: Most definitely. It was never the plan though; I wore a hat once to perform and the next time I was at that venue, people didn’t recognise me – legitimately saying “didn’t you have a hat last time?”.

I don’t have that problem now. It’s my gig outfit. I do have a sneaky suspicion that people think I dress in a blazer and trilby get up all the time.

AD: If you could gig with one comedian who would it be?

SF: If I don’t do a duet with Tim Minchin at least once in my lifetime, I will be severely disappointed.

AD: Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

SF: I’d love to be hosting Never Mind the Buzzcocks. REACHING FOR THE STARS, ME.

AD: Your album on BandCamp is 52 tracks long – would you say you’re a prolific writer? Talk us through your writing process.

SF: I try and keep writing when I can and I like to include something new in every performance that I do, but I often feel like what I do is cheating.

When you take pop songs and rewrite them, you have so much material to choose from. You have over sixty years of source material. So when I realise “Hey! Umbrella sounds a bit like Salmonella!”, I can get writing and have a minute’s worth of material within an hour. I have nothing but respect for people who actually have to write a minute’s worth of actual jokes.

But some of the stuff I do takes bloody ages to write. My rap about Adrian Chiles took the best part of a month. And, if you’ve seen what I’ve done with Les Miserables, you would wonder where the hell I have all the free time to write that sort of thing. I’ll tell you where: unemployment.

AD: You’ve got a song about Miranda ­– are you just not a fan of the show or is the song more of a comment on modern TV comedy?

SF: Ha! You would have been part of the lucky few who witnessed the one time I attempted that song. I have absolutely nothing against Miranda Hart. In fact, I have decided to retire that song completely. Not out of respect or anything, just that it was a parody of Unbreak My Heart, which has some very tricky high notes.

AD: Tell us something about you we didn’t know already…

SF: I wrote my first parody song at the age of seven. It was of Wet Wet Wet’s “Love is All Around”. The first lyric was “I feel it in my wellies / I feel it in my toes. It feels a bit like jelly / or just a flock of crows”. I peaked young.

AD: Are you on Twitter?

SF: Yes! @FrizFrizzle. I usually use it to post drunken selfies or live commentary to The Apprentice.

AD: Finally, where can we see you next?

SF: 26-28 September and 6 October at the Newcastle Stand. I’m also part of the first birthday celebrations of Broken Mic Comedy on 10 October at The Telegraph, also in Newcastle.

Giggle Beats readers can get Stephen’s album, Live In The Wrong Key, half price from BandCamp; just use the voucher code ‘gigglebeats’. Click to buy.