Following two sold-out London runs, a sold-out award-nominated trip to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and a third London stint in the West End – award winning comedian, relentless innovator, author, and poet, Tim Key brings a new show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Martin Walker exchanges emails with a comedy innovator.
“My show is called Single White Slut. The usual horseshit really, I read small, inconsequential poems and talk a bit about girls, Hollywood, tooth fairies and owls. This year I’m wearing a denim onesie so it’s a bit more relaxed than previous shows. I did it as a work in progress last year, and have improved the show in all departments apart from the denim onesie. I just couldn’t let it go.”
Tell us about your involvement with The Invisible Dot
“I was fortunate to hook up with the hunched proprietor of The Invisible Dot in about 2007. We hatched an audacious scheme to take a show to Edinburgh and not lose £7000. It worked and we’ve been collaborating ever since. The Invisible Dot has grown since then and is now a kind of office/performance space/hotbed of young talent. Fair play to the guy.”
How do you describe your comedy to people who haven’t seen you before?
“It’s fairly basic stuff. I tend to need some kind of theatrical nonsense propping up the comedy. So there’s a bit of that floating about in my hour. There’s also a fair amount of Soviet Lounge Music (though I’m trying to cut back) and then there’s the poetry, which is just something we all have to deal with. Sometimes, this all comes together.”
For you is stand-up a career choice or a calling – and why?
“Yup, I definitely miss live stuff when I’m not doing it. It’s in many ways the purest type of comedy. You’re there, the audience is there, you’re making various claims about how funny you are. It’s obviously a dangerous thing to do. But that’s why it’s rewarding when you feel like you’ve made it work.”
If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“Oh very nice. I think I’d probably need Simon Amstel in there. He’s clever. I’d have Maeve Higgins, she’s very funny, and also Irish and therefore exotic. Adam Buxton’s obviously got to be involved. And then Alex Horne and Daniel Kitson. It’ll be a long night so I’d need Mark Watson to compere. He’s got stamina and gets on well with the acts so it would be a riot backstage.”