Title of Show: Hal Cruttenden: It's Best You Hear It From Me Venue: Pleasance Courtyard – Two Time: 8.10pm Dates: 3rd – 28th August (except 16th) Photographer: Matt Crockett Links: Profile and Social Media
Tell me about your 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.
Well, I was struggling to find a strong theme to my show but then (thank god) my wife left me at the end of last year. This gave me a strong theme and, while the personal loss is heartbreaking, it’s been great for my stand up – which is the most important thing after all. I can’t imagine why she left, can you?
You talk a lot about personal and family experiences on stage. Is it sometimes hard to be that truthful in front of an audience? How do you find the funny in relating serious real life events?
If you knew me you’d know that I have no difficulty sharing all the details of my life. The fact that people laugh at the things you share means that they connect with whatever you’re sharing. The only really embarrassing time is when you do jokes at a new material night and share something that you think is universal and actually it’s only you that does disgusting things with marmite. Those are the exposing times and you make sure never to mention them again… apart from in interviews when promoting a show…
The funny is actually easier to find in more serious events. There is great power in making fun of things that are seen as very serious or taboo. I make jokes about horrible things like nuclear war, death and Boris Johnson. It’s all about the way you handle the joke. It’s never just about the subject matter.
As well as performing live on stage you work extensively for TV and radio. Which do you prefer? What are the pros and cons of each?
Live is the most dangerous but obviously the most rewarding. If you’re having a tough night with a dodgy audience, a bit of sharp editing can still make it look great on TV. When it’s live you have to rely on yourself to get out of the situation.
Radio is fab because it’s somewhere where ugly people can perform. It’s never been a natural home for me.
Working live is always the ultimate. Whenever I feel moany about the travelling that I do for a tour, I stop for a second and remember that my dream was to reach a stage when people came to a theatre to see me do my own show. Having achieved that is the biggest success of my career.
Tell me about your love of rugby. Now explain the rules to me.
It must be some sort of connection to my dad. He took me at 5 years old to my first international – England versus Scotland – and I was hooked. It’s the physical challenge mixed with immense skill that makes it the best game in the world.
I wasn’t much of a player. Luckily I suffered quite serious knee problems as a teenager and had to retire early. My dad pretended to be sad but was secretly overjoyed that he no longer had to endure the trauma of watching me play.
Rugby doesn’t have rules, it has laws!!! It’s also full of silly snobby old men who make comments like my previous one.
They are always changing the laws so it can be complicated. Basically, you pass backwards, you kick forwards and you hit people really really hard, below the shoulders preferably.
Finally, ask and answer a question of your own.
You look amazing, Hal. How (and why) have you lost so much weight? You always looked gorgeous to me.
Well, even British George Clooney’s like me can sometimes do with shedding a few pounds, so I decided to get in shape for this new show. I did quite an extreme 800 calories a day in January and February and the weight just fell off. I could say that I wanted to feel healthier and happier but, to be honest, I mainly lost weight to get my wedding ring off. It took a diet, a lot of olive oil and huge amounts of shouting and swearing before the bugger came off.