Performer: Richard Todd Photograph by: Lorna Milburn Show: We Need the Eggs Venue: Pleasance Courtyard (The Attic) Promoter: CKP and InterTalent
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
It’s about the obsessive pursuit of absurd ideals in spite of history and experience telling you they will end in failure. And the perpetual resurrection of hope. And crisps.
Tell me about your first gig.
I performed in a pub basement to no audience and about thirteen other male acts, all doing masturbation material; the phrase ‘Like the previous act I also wank’ became a necessary opening line, for what increasingly became a support group for onanistic obsessives. I did five minutes about a boy with a Spatula for a head. The other acts watched with suspicion.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I smoke a single cigarette, like a condemned man enjoying a last request, then I have a priest pray for me and a guard walk me to the stage, whereupon, after an apology to all my victims, I plunge towards the mic, whilst simultaneously voiding my bladder and bowels. And then things get really upsetting.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
I had lovely reviews last year but they all suggested I was mentally broken or physically wretched so I couldn’t show them to my mum. They were the best of times, and the worst of times.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
No. But I will of course.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
I read reviews all the time to get an idea of what music, films, comedy, theatre I might enjoy so it’s hard to be dismissive of reviewers. That said, there is a difference between a review – which, at its best, contains an understanding and appreciation for the medium – and an opinion – which at best contains an understanding of yourself; I could offer an opinion on Shakespeare but not a review, since his words are, for me, a shitty muddle.
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
The dog’s raised paw was due to Pavlovian conditioning, I’m sure, and not borne of any Nazi affiliation. So the dog’s off the hook and I demand you rephrase your question, and stop putting words into his paw. Fascist pugs are my legal speciality.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
Have you ever gone too far?
I shouldn’t have said ‘your mum’. It was childish, and I apologise.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
They have all blurred into one now. One recurring groundhog day with incremental improvements, followed by crushing set backs, in an endless drive to escape the monotony of repetition that is the nature of the act. Great times.