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Carl Hutchinson Interview

9 May 2017 | Belphoebe New

Comedian Carl Hutchinson is on a high. He's collected a number of awards since his breakthrough Edinburgh solo show "Acceptable?" won popular and critical acclaim back in 2012. After stints supporting former professional wrestler Mick Foley, and fellow Geordie comedian Chris Ramsey, he’s back touring the UK with his new show "The Fixer" - stopping off at The Bloomsbury Theatre in London on May 18. We caught up with him to discuss his new show, the life of a touring comedian, and how he got into the business.

London Calling: Hey Carl, thanks for speaking to us today! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into standup and what attracted you to it?

Carl Hutchinson: October 24th 2006 - it was that long ago! - Dog & Parrot, Newcastle. I wanted to at least give stand-up a go - at school and sixth form I'd always performed in some sort of capacity, from school plays to opening and closing speeches at various European Youth Parliament debates. So when I completed my first year at Uni without doing any sort of public speaking I was kind of getting the itch again. 
 
I contacted Newcastle University's Drama Society to ask if anyone knew how to get into stand up. A guy called Murray James gave me Chris Martin’s email; he was running a gig at the halls of residence at the time. He politely passed me onto Al Dawes who ran the Open Mic night at the Dog & Parrot. I called Al from my parents’ house phone and wrote the date and location down on the back of a metro ticket and promptly blue tacked it to my obligatory “George Bush Funny Quotes” Uni poster. 
 
It was a month away and it was all I thought about. What would I do or say in 5 minutes? Would I last 5 minutes? Would I get a laugh? WHAT WOULD I TALK ABOUT?! I think I spoke about daytime TV adverts or something. I don't remember much, but I got enough laughs to carry on, and from that day I was hooked. 
 
LC: We're really intrigued by the title of your latest show The Fixer. Are you planning to fix people’s problems and be an agony uncle of sorts?

CH: I get people to tweet in before the show starts with "If you were PM for the day what one law would you introduce?" It's just a fun little way of getting to interact with the crowd without asking the standard, where are you from? What do you do for a living? It's fun to find out a little more about the people in the audience. Depending on how many people get involved the show can be very interactive or not interactive at all. I have my own "laws" as backup. If people don't want to get involved I don't want to force them. 
  
LC: Have you built upon and adapted material from your previous shows? 

CH: Always - unlike bands the crowd doesn’t want to hear your old stuff! It’s great though; it keeps you working and constantly developing new material.
 
LC: Can you describe your own personal style of comedy in three words?
 
CH: No, I can’t.
 
LC: You’ve toured extensively with fellow North East comedian Chris Ramsey. Are you best mates on tour, and how does it feel to be flying the flag for Geordie comedy? 

CH: I’m very proud to be doing my bit for Geordie comedy. We are best mates; we’ve known each other since we were 15. In that regard I’m so lucky that not only do I get to do what I love to do, I get to do it with a mate. We do annoy the hell out of each other though. Try spending all three meals with each other every day, you soon start to get on each other’s nerves. The best thing about that though, is that we were already friends before comedy, so we can just snap and swear at each other without consequence. The only bit of quiet time we get is when we’re on stage away from each other.
 
LC: Are there any little rituals or things you do to get yourself hyped up before going on stage?
 
CH: Ah man, this is embarrassing, I’ll give you the “Me and Ramsey” one first. We do a little double fist-bump and a very light hug/ tap on the back, then we say to each other: “have a good one”. We must have done it one night and now I guess we do it for good luck. Every now and then we forget to do it, but nothing seems to happen as a consequence of that. Me on my own - just a light stretch, then about an hour before the show I’ll make sure my shirt is ironed. If the hotel is close I’ll do it in the room with a beer and a bit of music.
 
LC: Other than comedy your passion is professional wrestling. What draws you to it and what would you say your own wrestling moves are like?

CH: It’s the familiarity of it all. I watched it when I was 6 and didn’t stop. Just like in comedy, you get to be a grown-up kid. Watching wrestling allows me to live life on stage like a kid. I don’t have any wrestling moves; I think I’d go in and just try not to get beat up!
 
LC: Pick one comedian who’s been most influential to you throughout your career - dead or alive!

CH: There’s too many to choose from; I’d have to look at different stages of my life. My first comedian was Lee Evans, then Frank Skinner, then Jerry Seinfeld, and at the moment I’m loving Louie CK & Bill Burr.
 
Carl Hutchinson is on tour with his latest show ‘The Fixer’. He'll be at The Bloomsbury Theatre, Euston on May 18. Tickets are £12.
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