Performer: Tom Ward Photograph by: Steve Ullathorne Show: Popcorn Lung Venue: Just the Tonic at The Mash House Promoter: CKP and InterTalent Group
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
It’s about how we get feedback from the world about who we are and what’s working / not working. Mirrors, photos, eye contact, comments, sex, all the good stuff.
Tell me about your first gig.
It was at an open mike gig in London, called Comedy Virgins. I was so nervous I forgot everything I was going to say after a minute and had to walk off.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
Yes, stand alone, talk to myself for a bit, relax, look at the audience sneakily behind a curtain to get a sense of them. I assume the Ronaldo position just before he takes a free-kick too.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
My best review was from The Herald who called me ‘Staggeringly Impressive’ My worst was from Fest Mag who said I was like an ‘Indie Jim Davidson’ ha ha. I love that.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
No thanks. It’s a stupid thing to do, like stopping behind doors as you leave somewhere to hear what people say about you after you’ve gone. Needy and pathetic.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
Fine, they have their uses and act as bystander who won’t blow smoke up your arse. It’s useful in some ways to be told how it looks by someone who has nothing invested in you either way.
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?
Well criminal perhaps not, but utterly useless and regressive yes, and if it is deemed criminal perhaps that’s good as it discourages things that can get nasty.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
No, it’s all there for the talking, you can’t put rules down on what can and cannot be said, it’s just whether the comedian has the skill to do it.
Have you ever gone too far?
Yes, I was so nervous at a big gig years ago that I came down too hard on a woman in the front row whose phone rang, and told her she was too old to have a mum. I felt awful, that’s not my vibe at all.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
Best? Mmm, tough one, probably BBC Best Newcomer Final in 2014 because I did a new joke live on the radio about Patrick Kielty and Jools Holland and it went so well. I was high for days after.