Laugh Out London’s Jack De’Ath chats to Viv Groskop about her new chat show / therapy session all about dying on stage.
As a stand-up comic (shut up I am one) I have plenty of experience going down to silence for ten minutes before apologising and walking off stage to silence. I personally like to repress this until it can develop into a fully formed neurosis. However that doesn’t appeal to Viv Groskop who thinks it would be a better idea to talk about these thing like we comedians are actual adults.
Thankfully she is doing this in an entertaining comedy night format with top comics sharing their own personal pain and misery. We met up on the internet to discuss dying on stage this like proper adults would do.
Hey Viv, how the devil are you?
Thank you for asking! I am as devilishly well as a person can be when they have birthed three children who now live in their home.
So a chat show about how it feels to die on stage hey? What’s that about?
The Night I Died is an improvised chat show which rapidly descends into a chaotic but intimate therapy session. I delve into the joys and horrors of the performance history of four comedians. They get to share funny stories. They reveal their worst heckles. And they frequently say things they didn’t mean to say about what they really think of the audience. At the last one Tom Webb went off on a fulminatingly hilarious mad rant about being small, Pippa Evans gave a masterclass in heckle put-downs and Rich Fulcher of The Mighty Boosh fame just kept repeatedly asking me if I was Chinese.
I can’t imagine you dying onstage, but I guess as comedians we have all had our share of deaths. What’s been your personal lowlight?
That is very kind of you. But unfortunately I have died many hideous deaths. My favourite was the time I tried to perform some material about the 18th century feminist Mary Wollstonecraft as I stood on a wet square of cardboard (the “stage”) in a pub in Croydon whilst a teenage junkie punched a toothless octogenarian a foot away from me. I went into headmistress mode and broke up the fight. I saved the lives of two men. But there wasn’t much laughter that night.
After I have died I personally like to eat as many skittles as I can fit in my face in one go. Do you have any tips for recovering after dying?
Buy everyone you know a drink as if the death didn’t matter, then feel depressed about what a sucker you are to buy everyone a drink, then realise the death did matter, then cry all the way home, go to sleep crying and wake up crying. Sarah Millican says you have to stop thinking about it after 11am the next day. But I like to think about it for the rest of my life.
There’s a theory that every time a comedian dies they only have themselves to blame, thoughts?
I totally agree with this theory even though it’s brutal. Yes, there are some circumstances in which it is very unlikely that you will do well and get laughs. Croydon is probably one. But you can always learn something and you can usually do something to make it slightly less worse than it might otherwise be. If you don’t do that, then, yes, you only have yourself to blame. Holding the MC responsible is quite satisfying, though.
So who have you got on at the next “The Night I Died”?
On Wednesday 24 April at the RVT, we’ve got Lucy Porter, Jane Bussmann, Tom Allen and Scott Capurro. It will be wild! And if anyone dies, it’s a bonus.
Sounds lovely, here to dying in stage! Cheers!