Glenn Moore: ‘If I went to Mars, I’d take a GameBoy, a pair of jeans and unlimited fajitas’

Billie Manning

In 2013, Glenn Moore made a misjudged application to the Mars One initiative, aspiring to be one of the first civilians on the pioneering space trip to colonise Mars. He still hasn’t got the call, but now the Comedy Award Nominee, writer and stand-up is taking his his third show, Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, How Do You Like It, How Do You Like It, to almost the same scintillating heights at Soho Theatre after a sold-out, critically-acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe. We met with Glenn to chat comedy, politics, 70s disco and, of course, what items he’d bring to Mars ahead of the show’s opening next week.

London Calling: Love the title of the new show. Are you often deeply inspired by 70s disco song titles?
Glenn Moore: Not necessarily, although having said that my last show was called The Very Best of Belinda Carlisle, so there’s a theme of strong singers from the 70s and 80s that I appear to be influenced by. But I have to admit, none of the show content is influenced by that song, or indeed any 70s musicians at all.
LC: What’s your experience of being a Glenn?
GM: Do you know what, it wasn’t until I was about 12 that I realised that I hadn’t actually met any other Glenns. I love the name, I’ve been told it’s an ugly name, it’s a blunt name, that there’s just something about it, that it’s not the most attractive name. But I like it, because nobody else is called it.
LC: So if the show isn’t about 70s tunes, what can we expect from it?
GM: The show is about how five years ago, I applied to the first civilian mission to Mars, because they were letting anyone apply for it – I mean literally, anyone, as long as you were over the age of 18. So I decided to give it a go just as a joke, but then I got a bit worried that if I got it, there’d be no way of turning it down, and I’d have to actually go. So the show’s based on that, but I don’t get into the nitty gritty of how you’d live on Mars, I’m afraid, or how you’d even apply, because I am not qualified to tell people that. Style-wise, I’ve always really liked to write one-liners, but about one topic and string them all together, and Mars is the topic I chose this year.
LC: If you did go to Mars, and you could only take 3 objects with you to remind you of your life on Earth, what would you take?
GM: This is really tricky! I would take a really old-school GameBoy with Pokémon on, because I was never allowed it as a kid, so what a great opportunity. I know it took all the kids at my school months to finish and they never seemed to get bored of it, so definitely that. I would take a regular pair of jeans, which I wouldn’t be able to wear under a space suit, obviously, but I could just look at them, and they would remind me of what clothes are like. And alongside that, I would take the ability to make unlimited fajitas, because that would be very exciting. If Neil Armstrong had brought fajitas onto the moon, we would probably talk about that more than him saying ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’, because the most iconic moment was actually a man eating fajitas on the moon. We would probably still be talking about it.
LC: Do you think comedy is an effective way to talk about politics?
GM: It is, I think in the same way that TV shows like Newsround are a really good way of getting kids into current affairs, because of the simplicity of it, and because it’s fun and digestible. I am a little hesitant about how powerful comedy can be in changing the world but in terms of actually getting people engaged in the first place, it works.
Having said that, Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette is prompting a huge cultural shift. And Nanette ties in a lot to the Me Too movement, which Bill Cosby has been a huge figure in. And a it was a comedy set that Hannibal Buress did which went viral and meant a lot of people started talking about [the accusations against Cosby] and became aware of it who weren’t before.
LC: Do you think there are any subjects you can’t touch with comedy?
GM: It depends on a few factors: who’s telling the joke, where they’re telling the joke and who the audience is. There are jokes that comedians will make around their friends because that is a space where nothing really matters and they know none of their friends will be offended by it, and they know that their friends know they don’t mean the joke they’re telling. But if you say it to an audience, who don’t know you, you come across as an unpleasant individual, you run the risk of offending someone in the audience who has been affected by something quite major, and you run the risk of people taking the joke at face value, either by being offended by it, or worse, being accepting of it and agreeing with what you’re saying. There is a very real responsibility there.
LC: Where is your favourite place to see comedy in London?
GM: I would have to say Old Rope, because it’s at the Phoenix in Oxford Circus so it’s really dead central and it’s somewhere where, when I was relatively new, you were guaranteed that a major comedian would be there every Monday trying out new material, so even when I was relatively new it meant I got to gig with people like Milton Jones. So definitely there.
Glenn Glenn Glenn, How Do You Like It, How Do You Like It is at Soho Theatre 19 – 24 November.

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