We’ve been fans of Chris Boyd fever since we saw him eating a yoghurt on stage. Since then he’s only gone on to better things, and this year he returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with a show all about storm chasing.
We spoke to Chris about this twisted show, which promises to cause a hurricane of laughter. Or is that a tornado of hilarity?
Hallo. How are you today?
I’m alright mate thanks. It’s 3pm and I’ve managed to have a shower so not doing too badly at all.
This is your first full solo show at the Fringe. How are you feeling?
Really eager to get going with it in Edinburgh. I had a year off the Fringe last year so it feels like I’ve been working on it a long time.
I only ever feel nervous about the show when other people say “Oooh debut hour mate. Don’t mess that up eh?” The only pressure I’ve put on myself is about making it as good as it can be and getting it as close to how it is in my head which at the moment has the emotional resonance and gravitas of a Tarkovsky film coupled with the production values of a Michael Bay film.
You’ve performed at the Fringe before, including a double head with Nathaniel Metcalfe. What have you learnt in that time?
What have I learnt? Christ. Something I hope. Erm that’s it’s not a race, it’s a dance. Or something along those lines. It’s summat to do in’t it, stand up? Gets you out of the house.
I guess I’ve learnt to try to relax on stage a bit more and enjoy performing recently. It’s supposed to be a laugh isn’t it? You can do whatever you want. It’s not like anyone is saying ‘Do this’. No one is forcing you to do anything. Or something. I don’t bloody know. You’re asking the wrong guy for comedy wisdom. I’m doing a show about storm chasing for heaven’s sake.
From Nathaniel Metcalfe though, I’ve learned that you can never have enough butter on your bread. Literally and metaphorically.
Your show is about storms. Have you always been a fan of extreme weather?
Yes it is and yes I have. Mostly tornadoes which I’ve had nightmares about for about 10 years. There’s not much extreme weather in the north of England where I’m from so part of the show is trying to uncover where the obsession comes from.
I went storm chasing in the States last year and I thought that would offer some kind of catharsis but if anything it made matters a lot worse.
Did you consider any other names or themes for the show?
‘Caution to the Wind’ came quite quickly. It’s something I’d hear people say when I was growing up. It sort of sums up the show’s outlook and has an end-of-the-pier sound to it. It was either that or something crap like ‘Storm Chaser’.
There’s about three other themes going on in the show so if you’re not into weather then there’ll be a daft joke or some other ridiculous concept to think about or look at before long. Storm chasing felt like a proper thing to do a show about rather than just another hour of comedy from another lanky young(ish) white bloke moaning about his life.
I’m still working on Nekromantik: The Musical but never say never.
It’s directed by Ben Target. Did he suggest you cover yourself in pink paint?
Not quite but he has been incredibly helpful. Ben is without a doubt one of the most brilliantly unconventional people I’ve ever met, both on and off stage, so when I thought I’d like someone else to take a look at the show I immediately thought of him. We had done gigs together and I think he got what I wanted to do with the show and knew where I was coming from. I think he sees himself more as a show partner than a director.
He’s got this uncanny knack of listening to a lot of waffle and then saying two sentences to you and opening up an entirely new area of ideas. I wish I’d have known him years ago. Someone who would have said ‘You’re good at this particular thing so do that and embrace that’. The government should probably put him and James Acaster in charge of comedy if ever a Bureau of Comedy is set up. They’re both wise beyond their years.
Do you have a favourite memory or experience of the Fringe?
Bishy Stacks show in which he tried to make everyone leave by the end of it was a particular highlight a couple of years back. Two thirds of the way into the show, the crowd spontaneously formed a giant womb and gave birth to members of the audience whilst shouting ‘Womb him / her!’
Also Laugh Out London with their tops off singing The Smiths at 2am at an indie night in what looked like a school hall is also embedded into my brain (No memories of this – Ed).
And a Russian physical theatre group called Derevo who create very strange and unusual images on stage. Their stuff is pretty mind-blowing.
Other than see great shows, what would you recommended to someone visiting Edinburgh?
Soss. Chips and soss.
Here’s a space to write anything you want about any subject. Go for it:
Keep supporting live comedy.
Well, keep supporting the good, interesting, smaller live comedy not the big stuff. Although you probably need that big stuff as well so there’s something to react against.
So keep supporting the big comedy as well. Maybe once a year support that. Buy a ticket to a stadium show or something.
That’s as much doing your bit for alternative comedy as going to a free gig in a basement.
Yeah. I’ll just reiterate the first phrase. Keep supporting live comedy.
Caution to the Wind
Aug 2 – 23, 1.10pm
Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street
Chris is also one of the organisers of the Balham Free Fringe Festival – a weekend of free comedy shows in Balham held June 20 to 22.