Have gags, will travel

Gordon Southern, Chortle | Posted on July 31st, 2007

20 questions with Gordon Southern

OK, so your show’s about travel, let me ask you about your impressions of some of the places you’ve been. Kosovo?
Kosovo was a gig for the UN. They were without government since 1999 (they just got one this year) so peacekeepers were holding the fort as it were. We stayed in a brilliant place called the Hotel Victory, noteworthy for having a scale model of the Statue of Liberty on the top of it for no apparent reason. I loved the smell of Hotel Victory in the morning. Smelled like… napalm.

The pub off the edge of Saudi Arabia. Where wealth dishdash clad Sheiks go to drink. And when it gets to last orders I imaging they look at their Rolexes… Oh no! Look at the time! The wives will kill me!

Where I met my wife. Where I met Chortle editor Steve Bennett in the Outback checking my e-mails of all things. Where I’m a massive star!

Anywhere else?
Why don’t you ask me about Qatar, Doha, Dubai. Oman… all places that I’ve been to, all really handy words in Scrabble were they allowed?

And do you feel any guilt about the environmental damage of any of the flights?
Yes, but I rectified this with my actions… You’ll have to se the show to find out how

How pissed off are you with airport security?
No more pissed off than any other comedian, not pissed off enough to have written any material on this already well exhaustively lampooned subject!

Which one place that you’ve never visited would most like to go to?
North America and Africa are the final continents left on my ‘continents to do a show in’ chart, which is basically just the board game Risk nailed to my study wall but with pictures of me on. There’s been a lot of rain lately and I needed a hobby

You were the voice of the Admiral car insurance parrot. Are you proud of that?
If anything I’m gutted I mentioned it. The beauty of doing a voiceover is that no one knows it was you. However, the actor who plays The Admiral lives in Brighton, and when I’m at the Komedia next I’ll try and get him down and stage a ‘happening’. I also know the actor who is in the adverts, the sister company to Admiral. I don’t know the lady from Diamond insurance (ditto) but she seems very nice.

You married a clown. which is clearly just a set-up for a gag. What’s the punchline?
That our kids turn out ‘funny’?

Apparently you desecrate religious texts – what’s all that about?
Defacing bibles in hotel rooms across the world. I’ve done hundreds, I’m gathering followers. I’m inviting people to do the same and post them on mySpace. Check show for details.

I’ve got a Koran here, can you desecrate this?
No thank you.

How different is an Edinburgh show to playing the circuit?
You can tell stories that are interesting, have a through narrative, use fuller vocabulary, give the event a thoughtful and emotional as well as funny content. For this we will endure financial loss, poor health and potential criticism.What’s you favourite Edinburgh experience?

Last year an event on the Meadows involving drunk European horror clowns and a balloon dog tickled me. Oh… Even better was jumping behind the drum kit at Late And Live and ‘playing’ Tom Stade’s set. In the Nineties I saw Bill Hicks do an hour in a half empty tent which in hindsight was pretty good

And your worst?
The despair of doing plays as a student (again this is the Nineties) and performing to the director, the steward, someone’s mum and a critic and that’s it.

Where’s your favourite place to eat in Edinburgh?
The pasta at Favourit opposite the GB is nice. Otherwise I’d have to say Glasgow.

And to drink
Loft Bar, Gilded Balloon, although now I’m a non-smoker I might get kicked off to make way for puffers.

What one thing could make the Fringe better?
Shorter. Less venues that are clearly never meant to be venues. Air conditioning.

How do you physically get through the month?

What’s your opinion of comedy awards?
Fine. Especially if you win them. I still think word of mouth is a better barometer, and with the internet that is becoming increasingly the case

Apart from your own, what other show(s) would you recommend?
Everyone I play five-a side with! Kitson, Zaltzman, Cochrane, Richardson, Dembina, Dowdeswell… From the antipodes Kim Hope, Daniel Townes and Hannah Gadsby should make a splash.

Gordon Southern: Stamp Stamp is on at the Gilded Balloon at 9pm

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