FEATURE: Getting To Know…Hal Branson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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With hosting duties to come at Mr Shindig’s Comedy Emporium on Friday 27th April and the inaugural Up In Arms Comedy Club at The Brandling Arms in Gosforth, as well as a solo show at The Stand on Sunday 24th June, we thought it well worth catching up with funny man Hal Branson to get to know him a little better.

So, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am Hal. A 39 year old comedian from Heaton. 

What’s the first record you ever bought?
Tempted to lie and say something cool to perpetuate the myth that that’s what I am, but in truth it was The Rise & Fall by Madness. In my defence I was 7 years old and I just liked the song Our House because it played a lot in, well, our house.

What’s your guilty pleasure musically?
Personally I don’t buy into the whole guilty pleasure thing, if you like it don’t be ashamed mate. But I guess you want answers so I’ll say Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder, Live It Up by Mental As Anything and now I think about it, the Wu Tang Clan discography I own, to which I know, (but for obvious reasons can’t sing along to), every lyric.

Favourite film of all time?
It’s a toss up between La Haine, Withnail and I, and The Life Aquatic. I’ll let your readers judge me on that and cast the deciding vote.

Your guilty pleasure film?
Alright then, fine, it’s Over The Top starring Sylvester ‘Sly’ Stallone as tough trucker Lincoln Hawk who is determined to win back his estranged son and triumph at the world arms wrestling championships. A thoroughly enjoyable if completely preposterous narrative.

If you could recommend one TV series to binge watch, what would it be?
Very hard to just say one but currently High Maintenance. If you’d asked me last week I would have said Better Things. And the week before Alan Partridge. Then the Thick Of It.

Your favourite book?
The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell. His name’s Willy!

Who or what makes you laugh the most?
Daniel Kitson and my daughter Juno. Lee Kyle’s a close third.

Who or what makes you sad?
Should probably say the government shouldn’t I? Not going to though, just watch me. Let’s take war, illness and famine as read and I’ll go with washed up celebrities trying to make a comeback. Paul from S Club 7’s recent appearance on Loose Women was a master-class in pathos. Oh and my depression.

If you had super power, what would it be?
Lack of self doubt.

And finally, you get to play a board game with any three famous people from history, who do you choose and what’s the board game?
The Wu Tang Clan, Scrabble.

Hal Branson joins Joby Mageean for Mr Shindig’s Comedy Emporium, Newcastle on Friday 27th April and hosts the new Up In Arms Comedy Club at The Brandling Arms, Gosforth on Sunday 29th April. You can also see Hal perform his solo show MBOLO at The Stand, Newcastle on Sunday 24th June.

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