INTERVIEW: Vladimir McTavish | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Ahead of bringing his a preview of his new Edinburgh Fringe show to Newcastle Castle on Saturday 9th June, we caught up with stand-up comic Vladimir McTavish to find out more about his 25 years in the business.

Can you tell us a bit about this new show?
This will be my fifth preview of the show, which I’m taking to Edinburgh in August. It’s great to get the chance to do the show in Newcastle as that is where I started out in comedy in the early nineties.  The show is a mixture of new stand-up material, interspersed with anecdotes of twenty-five years in the business.  When I do the show at the Edinburgh Fringe, I will have a wheel of fortune, on which are marked every year from 1993 to 2018.  I spin the wheel, and according to what year it lands on, I have to do a topical gag from that year.  It was going to be a bit of a hassle bringing the wheel down on the train, so in Newcastle I will have the years printed onto cards, and the audience will pick these at random  Hopefully, no-one picks 2002 because I can’t remember a single topical joke from that year.

With it being about 25 years of stand-up, what have been the highs?
Playing to 2,000 people in Perth, Australia.  Playing the Aspen Comedy Festival in Colorado.  Playing the Tyne Theatre.  Doing my first full weekend at The Comedy Store in London.

And the lows?
Playing my second full weekend at The Comedy Store, when I was booed on at the Saturday late show.

What makes you laugh the most?
I guess I probably laugh most at daft shit.   And I probably laugh more than I should at jokes that are a bit wrong. Without doubt, messing about with my friends and family makes me laugh more than anything I do or see on stage.

What are you enjoying most about the comedy scene at the moment?

It’s very enjoyable to see the progress being made by some of the really exciting comedy talent emerging both in the North East and in Scotland.  Talking of which, it was brilliant to see Lee Ridley winning Britain’s Got Talent.  He’s worked very hard at his craft and is a fantastically funny guy.

How has the comedy world changed over the last 25 years?
It’s definitely a lot bigger than it used to be, and there are a hell of a lot more comedians then there were when I first started.  On the whole, shows are more professionally run nowadays.  Having said that, you can still seek out some utterly shambolic gigs.  That’s part of the fun of it all.

What’s kept you going this long?
I’m tempted to say I’ve kept going so long through lack of any viable alternative career options.  However, to tell the truth, I’ve kept going so long because I love doing stand-up comedy as a job.  I love the lifestyle, and I’ve made some really wonderful people during the last twenty-five years, and got to visit a lot of countries in the world, purely through the ability to talk bollocks to strangers.

What’s next for you?
I’m taking the show up to the Edinburgh Fringe, where I’ll also be hosting a chat show and acting in a play so the ext three months is going to be very busy.   I’m hoping to tour 25 Years Of Stand-Up at the start of next year, and hopefully take it to festivals in Australia in 2019.

And finally, if you could put together a dream bill of any comedians past or present, who would be on it?
Gavin Webster, Bill Bailey, and Frankie Boyle.  Jane McKay as compere.  For the open spot, I’d have a guy called Mudfinger who used to do one of the weirdest acts I’ve seen, not funny just weird.  Do I get to play the gig too ?

Vladimir McTavish is at Newcastle Castle on Saturday 9th June.

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