Comedy blog

Alexander Bennett: Edinburgh Fringe 2017 interview

alexander bennett edinburgh fringe

A former ‘most beautiful baby’s smile’ winner who’s performing both a solo hour and hosting last years cult hit game show Hell to Play.

Hello. How are you today?

I am very hot. I do not like being very hot. London is currently very hot. I moved here for the culture and the opportunity, not to sweat to death whilst trying to stop myself shouting ‘arse-face’ at every milky-skinned meat fuck going into shops and restaurants topless, passive aggressively challenging the rest of us to not be revolted by their unusual body hair.

At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?

A bit. Everyone knows the programme blurb (written months in advance) is no way to express the nature of a living, breathing piece of art, with all its nuance and variable interpretations. Anyway, I put it in the comedy section and it’s still funny. And the basic premise is still there (I have had a drink).

Have the momentous events of 2016 affected your comedy in any way?

Yes, but the momentous events in question are personal rather than events that effected everyone else (as If I’ve ever given the tiniest sniff of a shit about what’s happening to the other badly organised collections of cells I happen to share this planet with (I do care, if I didn’t why would I bother doing anything?)). I suppose you could say I’m being more direct this year, I’m hiding behind far fewer layers of ‘persona’ and am letting myself be angry and miserable on stage (and in interviews. I’m quite drunk)

Who are you sharing a flat with this festival and how will you help each other survive the month?

I share with a wonderful couple (Helen and Tony) during the fringe and they are not comedians, thus they are essential to my survival as they do not tolerate any of my horse shit. Also, last year Helen got drunk and in order to advance my career walked around a performers bar shouting “Industry! Industry!” and pointed at my head. It didn’t help.

Any shows you’re particularly excited about seeing?

I’m looking forward to seeing John Kearns back at the fringe. Also looking forward to seeing Mat Ewins follow up his show from last year, which was one of my favourites. Then there’s folk I’m always excited to see, like Joz Norris, Ali Brice, Tom Ward, Lucy Pearman, Helen Duff, Richard Todd, Fern Brady, Geins Family Giftshop, Andy Barr – the list goes on. Obviously, the thing I most want to see is a brilliant act I’ve never heard of

Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?

Just seeing the city again, it is a truly brilliant city to spend time in. I’m looking forward to seeing the sea on the train up. It’s also a pleasure to see so many comics who live in different parts of the country/other countries all in one place.

What celebrity death hit you the hardest in 2016 (mine was Wogan)?

Bowie, though I bloody love Ronnie Corbett and wish I’d met him. Perfectly formed, wonderful performer and utterly charming.

Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.

Joz Norris is an award-winning actor, comic and writer based in London. His solo comedy shows, which have ranged from character and stand-up shows for the Edinburgh Fringe to conceptual performance art one-offs for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, have all received acclaim and accolades including TimeOut’s Top 10 Free Shows at EdFringe 2013 and The Skinny’s Top 3 London Alternative Acts at EdFringe 2015. Beyond Edinburgh, his solo shows have also played comedy and arts festivals nationwide, including Latitude, Leicester, Nottingham, Glasgow, Bath, Brighton, York, Swansea and Salisbury, where audiences loved him, even if they found him a bit creepy.

He is a frequent collaborator with several cult comedy groups, having been a key member of the two-time Chortle Award-nominated Weirdos Collective since 2012, and in 2015 became a regular member of the also Chortle Award-nominated Comedian’s Cinema Club and an Honorary Board Member of the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (in which he’s known as ‘the creepy one’). He also collaborates with the award-winning Heroes of Fringe, having performed at festivals with them including Edinburgh, Leicester, Nottingham and more for the last two years.

He is a prolific actor and writer for comedy film projects for both TV and online. With Little Rock Pictures he co-wrote and starred in The Girl Whisperer, his own webseries, with Ralf Little, which was released to critical acclaim (despite his creepiness) and now has a second series being released this spring. He played the regular role of intern Toby Tadpin in Wild Seed Comedy’s Shambles webseries, and he starred in and contributed additional material to Hoot Comedy’sHodge Podge sketch pilot commissioned by Channel 4. He also contributed additional material and starred in John Kearns’ edition of The Dave Talks, produced by Dave. In 2015 he won Outstanding Creepy Supporting Actor at LA WebFest for his role in the webseries The Backbenchers, and he has appeared on BBC Radio 4 Extra’s The Comedy Club Interviews. He is currently working on several scripted film and TV projects, including the short filmDouble Act, to be produced by Turtle Canyon Comedy this year.

“A born entertainer and a great comedy writer…Norris is clearly a creepy young comic going places.” – Chortle

“A potentially massive future creepy comedy star.” – The Herald

“Simple, silly and screamingly creepy.” – Fest

“A genuinely brilliant character…The audience loves every creepy second.” – The Skinny

Alexander Bennett’s Terrifying Smile
Heroes @ Dragonfly
3-27 Aug, 2pm

Hell to Play: The End Times
New Town Theatre
2-27 Aug, 9.45pm

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