Terry Alderton: Voices, silliness and pratting around
By Caro Moses | Published on Tuesday 28 June 2011
2010 ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award winner Terry Alderton is a real favourite with our reviewers, but we’re not the only ones that like him, judging by all the work he gets.
He’s been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award, he’s done lots of presenting and acting on the telly, and you might recently have seen him on Michael McIntyre’s ‘Comedy Roadshow’. We caught up with the man himself to ask a few pertinent questions about life, the universe, and his new Edinburgh show. Well, okay, maybe not the universe.
CM: How did you decide to become a comedian?
TA: My Mother loved/loves showbiz. She always got excited about TV shows like the Royal Variety. This of course drew me in, and I found I particularly liked the impressionists. My Dad, who loved/loves comedy – Spike Milligan, Dave Allen, Dick Emery at the time – also had a love for Shirley Bassey. Reflecting on it, I suspect how I on perform on stage is a combination of all this. The accents and characters, the surreal and the ‘show’!
CM: Have you always been able to “do voices”? Were you the class turn when you were at school?
TA: Yes. I was something of a cry-baby at school, and took a little stick in the very early days for not being very good at reading and writing. This, I think, led me to the silliness, stupid voices and pratting around. I would attack the situation, thus taking control. Being able to impersonate was a key move.
CM: How do shows in small venues in Edinburgh compare to doing a set for something like Michael McIntyre’s ‘Comedy Roadshow?
TA: I won’t lie to you, I love the big rooms: the bigger the playground, the bigger and deeper my performances become. That said, I’m not sure I’d be interested in the stadium gigs, but we’ll see. One thing I will say, though, is that every gig is a cup final, every one of them means something to me, so on the day, size doesn’t matter.
CM: You’ve hosted your own radio show. How does this compare to appearing on stage?
TA: It doesn’t really; for me they are so different. Playing host to a mic in an empty studio, with the silent responses of a text or an email, is never going to be the same as a live audience sitting right there! I’ve loved doing radio, but for truly connecting with other human beings, live comedy is an unbeatable genre.
CM: You’ve also acted in a number of films and TV programmes. Can you see yourself ever concentrating on acting rather than comedy? Are there other avenues you’d like to explore?
TA: For years I wanted to act, I wanted the big Hollywood break! It’s only recently that I realised that this is my downfall and that I should concentrate at what I’m good at and enjoy: Stand Up. So in answer to the question, I’m not chasing it any more, and if the dream part comes my way then so be it. As for other avenues, I’m happy doing the comedy and that keeps me away from my precious family enough!
CM: What keeps you coming back to Edinburgh?
TA: It’s the home of all comedy festivals, and to not be a part of that as a comic would be a crime.
CM: You’ve performed at comedy festivals all around the world. Which one is your favourite?
TA: Without a doubt NZ in New Zealand! I love playing that festival. The whole mood of the comics is different, they don’t turn into ****s because there is no pressure. People just let you do your thing.
CM: What can we expect from your 2011 show?
TA: More of my twisted logic. The Voices will be with me (they always are), and there is more complexity in my routines. I’m enjoying building conundrums at the moment and pushing things as far as I can mentally. In October last year I listened to Steve Martin’s ‘Born Standing Up’. As I listened, I uncovered Four Comedy Secrets. I don’t think he intentionally put them there, but they are there nonetheless, and are very simple. This has had a profound effect and added an astounding twist in my performance and comedic thought process.
CM: What are you looking forward to this year in Edinburgh?
TA: The End! Being able to relax, assuming that it’s all gone well!
Terry Alderton performed at the Pleasance Courtyard during Fringe 2011.