Leo Kearse - On The Mic

Leo Kearse may be the only comedian at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe who has lost part of their body in a shark attack. And we’re almost certain that we won’t meet anyone else who’s been a backing dancer for David Icke at Wembley. Martin Walker asks Leo about his pun-tastic Edinburgh show.

The Mangina Funalogs is a show about being a man, with all the howling confusion, rank idiocy and punning that suggests. As well as the aforementioned experiences, I cover sex tourism, breast feeding, deep fried pizzas, nagging mums, homophobia, wanking callouses… then medieval witch hunts, the pornification of society, pollination, religious fundamentalism and the complexities of buying a train ticket. And doing a massive shit in Thailand. And a ton of puns.”

Why did you choose to perform as part of Freestival?

“I like and trust the people running it and I know they care about comedy rather than just treating it as a business. The venue will – hopefully! – be excellent too!”

For you, is Stand-Up Comedy a career choice or a calling?

“Nobody’s going to say career, are they? You can tell it is for some though, they’re like politicians, they have a very careful approach to what they say and what relationships they cultivate. It’s why so much comedy is dull as piss in the UK – all these young fopping ditherers and beta-lads.

“I don’t know if it’s a career for me but I’ve sacrificed a lucrative career to pursue it – in real life I’m a Senior Consultant in national security. Comedy’s a marathon, not a sprint. I see some comedians getting pushed up by the industry when they’re not ready and they crash and burn or just don’t do very well. Unless you’re a prodigy you need at least four years of gigging just to get decent.

“If I could make a living doing comedy I’d be very happy, and I feel like I’m on the way there. I get booked by some promoters who I really like and respect for their approach, like Ivor Dembina and Erich McElroy – they really care about their nights but also trust the comedians to be good. I have to get on stage every couple of days or I get depressed and antsy. I’m going to see how far I can take it. The happiest times in my life have been at comedy festivals.”

Have you ever gone too far?

“My show goes to some pretty extreme places, with the shark attack, the pig rimming and the pollination bit. You can’t go straight in with filth. The great thing about having fifty minutes instead of a twenty minute club set is that you can go further. But if you charm people at the start and amp it up til you hit a crescendo, it’s nuts what people will feel comfortable laughing at.

“I still get some people finding it a bit much – in Adelaide I was heckled by someone shouting ‘what is wrong with you??,’ Hahahaha. But to see how fast you can go, you’ve got to crash the car.”

If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?

“Darren Walsh, Darius Davies, Lindsay Sharman and Tony Marrese – why these people aren’t on TV anyway just boggles me. They destroy rooms. And they’re all really unique, innovative acts too.

“Here are some of my puns:

  • You know what my biggest kitchen utensil is? It’s ma sieve.
  • My girlfriend was taking ages to get ready. I shouted up the stairs, “What’s taking so long?” She shouted back, “Makeup crisis”. So I shouted “Scotland’s invaded Iran!”
  • I got a new laptop. It ate five cream puffs then sang a song about getting dumped. It’s a Dell.
  • My mate sat on my pumpkin. He butternut squash it.
  • My mate thinks all life on earth began 6,000 years ago in Dubrovnik. He’s a Croationist.
  • We’re having pork mince for dinner AGAIN. Ground hog day.
  • Went for a pedicure this morning. It didn’t work – I’m still attracted to children.

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