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Ahead of his appearance at Lancaster Arts, SCAN’s Kyle McKenzie caught up with Kieran Hodgson about his comedic style and which Spice Girl he affiliates with…
What was your influence for basing the material on your current tour around Britain’s relationship to Europe?
I think it sprang from many sources. Firstly, I’d been doing these shows about my formative experiences for a while and had begun to run out of autobiographical content. So I felt a need to expand the scope of stuff I was talking about beyond me learning to swim, etc. Secondly, I love to write shows about my hobbies and weird interests, and this time it was the turn of my interest in History. In particular, I relished the challenge of talking about the History of Britain in the 70s, a crazy time where extremely posh people talked, and the National Union of Mineworkers walked (out on strike, frequently). And finally, there was the 2016 Referendum and the 1975 Referendum, these terrific milestones in our European relationship, with the latter offering a chance to understand the former. So those three coalesced into this show, a humble entry into the boutique ‘One-Man Character Comedy History Storytelling Hour’ genre.
If you could sum up what kind of comedian you are in a sentence or two, what would you say?
I like to do silly voices and tell long stories, so I started just doing characters before ending up with shows that linked them together. I love doing comedy about things most people would not consider remotely funny.
What do you remember, if anything, about the first stand-up comedy set you performed to an audience?
Well for me there were a couple of rites of passage. The first was doing character things for the first time, which mainly dates back to 1999 when I performed this routine of ‘The Six O’Clock News’ at the school talent show. They were all in there – Blair, Hague, an inaccurate Charles Kennedy, Moira Stuart. It was a roaring success, and I assumed that I would be snapped up for telly immediately. Fifteen years later I did my first bit of stand-up as myself in a room above a pub to an audience of six, so the dream was going well. I came on as a character, then just said ‘Hi, I’m Kieran’ and off we went – it was like jumping out of a plane, but adding that element of reality and truth to what I was doing was the best decision I’ve made, comedy-wise.
Which one of the Spice Girls would you say is the most like yourself?
Posh. Aloof, mysterious, and prone to walking around shops talking about myself and not buying anything (admittedly I don’t own these shops).
Who is the best smelling comedian you know? (Not including yourself)
It would probably have to be Mae Martin, who has a crippling obsession with washing her hands and face and a fantastic routine about it. The upside is I’m sure she smells fresh as a daisy all day long.
What is your best party trick?
I always wanted it to be that I had learned Tom Lehrer’s ‘The Elements Song’ off by heart, but after holding it readiness for years, waiting for my big chat show moment, I saw Daniel Radcliffe doing the same thing on Jonathan Ross, and the wind went right out of my sails.
Was the dress white and gold or blue and black?
I’m such an old man that I’ve just had to look that up, and it seems that now re-coloured versions are looking like both, so I’ve no clue. Curse you, internet! I’m given to sitting on the fence about things so, to my eyes, it looks like a pale blue and gold affair. Is that allowed?
How would you recommend getting hold of tickets to your shows, particularly your upcoming appearance on 8th March here in Lancaster?
Oh well, without doubt, you should go on the internet and head to showandtelluk.com. They have all the dates and will be delighted to attend to all your ticket-buying needs. Plus, Lancaster is top of the list so it just couldn’t be easier!