Andrew Doyle is a brutally funny openly gay comedian whose debut solo stand-up show “A Crash Course in Depravity” elicited critical acclaim and five star reviews at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
The show was intelligent and razor sharp and covered subjects as diverse as the Marquis de Sade, the Pope, Grindr and Bonnie Langford. It was described as feeling like the most bizarre and intense Gaydar meet you can possibly have and part of the fun was guessing which audience members were going to leave in a disgruntled huff. In spite of this Doyle is a charming and engaging performer (and is also boyishly good looking) who could never be accused of smuttiness for the sake of a cheap laugh. The show also carried a warning of full frontal nudity. What’s not to like? He’s back again this year and we’re looking forward to what he has to unleash for us.
So, Andrew, this year’s show is called “Whatever it Takes”. Can you tell us a bit more about the new show?
It’s about a humiliating near-death experience I had in Suffolk. I was walking by the coast and found myself caught in wet mud. I sank to my waist and was unable to move. The tide was coming in and there wasn’t a coastguard in sight. You’ll have to come along to my show to find out whether I survived or not.
I hate to mention it but can we talk about the Mickey Mouse incident? How was it for you and are there going to be any more puppet sex shows for us this year? Maybe Orville might be free?
I deny everything.
You asked audience members about their own acts of depravity last year and you asked me to leave the room for being too depraved for words (it involved a Roman Catholic priest). Were there any memorable depraved acts which were shared?
Plenty. One woman told me about a threesome in a skip. Another guy told me about his fetish for uncooked ham. It always surprised me doing that show how open people would be with their experiences. I suppose if you buy a ticket for a show with “depravity” in the title you’re up for anything. (That said, some were offended by the content. The title was fairly self-explanatory, as was the warning at the box office, but there will always be some idiots who just wander in because they like the pretty colours on the poster.)
Is there a danger of being an openly gay comedian that people expect an old style camp show a la Duncan Norvelle or Larry Grayson or have things moved on for the stand up comedian?
Things haven’t moved on all that much. The most popular gay comedians are still the camp types who appear sexless (although, believe me, they’re far from it). There are always some in the audience who are uncomfortable with the idea of a gay comic even talking about it. One audience member recently posted online that because I mentioned being gay it was “tired”. Of course, straight comedians never mention their sexuality, so she’s clearly got a point.
Lots of our readers are about to implode through Olympic overkill and even the men’s diving is getting dull due to lack of the right camera angles. Can you suggest a few of this year’s Fringe acts that might appeal to disaffected gay men and drag us away from the tedium and tempt us to venture to Edinburgh?
I have no interest whatsoever in competitive sports, so I understand where you are coming from. In fact, I mentioned my complete indifference to the Olympics on stage last night and got some very cold looks from the predominately laddish audience. In terms of shows to tempt you, there’s a few that immediately spring to mind. The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle is a brilliant new play by Ross Dungan and is my favourite show of the fringe so far. Jo Caulfield is always worth seeing; she’s one of the best joke writers around. James Acaster is inherently hilarious. David Mills is a gay San Franciscan comic with impeccable timing and razor-sharp material. The brilliant Scott Agnew is doing a show this year about his various experiences in gay saunas over the years. Finally, I’d go for Susan Calman’s show about her civil partnership. I haven’t seen it yet, but Susan’s a superb stand-up.
What’s your favourite fruit?
Passion fruit, star fruit, grapefruit. Any fruit that has the word “fruit” in its name, really. It sounds so wonderfully insecure about its own identity.
Finally, you commented on Twitter that the start of the Olympic opening ceremony was like the longest Hovis ad ever. What did you think of the show?
I thought it was jingoistic nonsense. Nationalism makes no sense to me. The idea of being proud of something as arbitrary as your birthplace strikes me as ridiculous. All those millions spent, and for what? As a prelude to some people running about and playing various games with balls and sticks. They don’t do this kind of thing for backgammon, do they?
Andrew is appearing at Just the Tonic at the Caves till the 26th of August
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Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.