Interview: Carl Hutchinson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Carl Hutchinson brings his signature brand of comedy to the big screen in That’s The Show. The Jarrow-born comedian asked a film crew from MOTIF Pictures to follow him on his biggest-ever tour last year and then piece together all the hilarious on and off-stage footage to make a feature-length documentary, which will be premiered at Tyneside Cinema on Saturday 11th May.

Ahead of the premiere, we caught up with Carl to find out more…

Where did the idea of doing a docu-film come from and how did you make it a reality?
I’ve always been a big fan of comedy documentaries, there’s something very comforting and familiar about them for me. I’ve got good memories (I swear this is a good memory) of me leaving the Edinburgh festival on a Megabus, 4 beers, a McDonalds and “When Stand Up Stood Out” on the iPad. I think David Cross’ Let America Laugh might be the first comedy documentary I watched. I always thought to myself “I’d love to make something like this if I ever got to tour”.  I guess you can only be a fan of something for so long before you want to have a crack at it yourself. 

It’s something I kind of had a go at for an Edinburgh festival show way back when. Learning The Ropes was a show where I trained to be a wrestler for a year, documenting everything like in a Louis Theroux style and then put it into a live show. But it didn’t really work. For the comedy fans there was too much wrestling and for the wrestling fans there wasn’t enough wrestling. 

But I maintain the idea was decent, I just couldn’t do it all on my own. Years later I asked James Craggs of Motif if it’s something he’d be up for doing. This was my pitch “Fancy making a documentary while I’m on tour? I’ve not got a budget or a plan but we might get something out of it?”. That was it. And that was enough for James to be on board. You’ve got to respect someone like that who just has faith and is willing to give it a go.

When you’re doing a show and you know it’s being recorded, does it add pressure and how do you get around that?
Yeah, it’s hard not to get in your own head sometimes when you’re recording a show. We filmed the last tour at the Tyne Theatre and honestly, I didn’t enjoy either night. Night one I was worried I’d get a ticket so was checking my car while Anthony was on stage, then I learned that someone was blocking me in. So I spent the whole time on stage preoccupied with that. 

Night two I thought I had a follow spot operator and the spotlight was constantly out of place, thus ruining the recording. I’d imagined it and it was all in my head. I’d imagined it five minutes into a 75-minute show. So to cope with it, I just had to pretend it wasn’t happening (and it actually wasn’t) so for the whole show I was on autopilot. I don’t remember a thing about the recording.

What’s your favourite moment that was captured in the film?
It’s when I’m driving to Durham Gala Theatre and I’m caught on camera saying “get out the way to big Biffa fuck”. 

What behind-the-scenes footage that is featured in the film do you think audiences will be most surprised about?
Just from talking to friends and family, a lot of them are fascinated by seeing the backstage area of theatres. And I can promise you, seldom are they glamorous. 

Any other screenings of the doc happening in the North East?
24th May Barnard Castle The Witham 
30th May Northallerton The Forum
31st May Alnwick Playhouse 
1st June Hexham Queens Hall 
22nd June Durham Gala Theatre

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