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Costas Lukaris

photo credit - Lorna Pritchard

What comedy most inspires you?

I try and look outside the world of comedy for inspiration, like literature, music, TV, or even just everyday conversations, on the notion that if you're only influenced by other comedy, it makes your own stuff derivative and facile; being inspired by more obscure topics gives you more originality. It doesn't always work, mind. The other day I was doing some research for a bit about Einstein and the theory of relativity, but I couldn't understand a word of it. So I just ripped off a load of jokes from Jim Davidson instead.

Which comedian most inspires you?

See above (not Jim Davidson, I was just being hilarious when I mentioned him just now). Despite what I just said about not liking comedy, I'm going to contradict myself and say my all-time comedy hero is definitely Rik Mayall. He was never not funny. I'm still discovering old clips of him on YouTube that I never saw before, and every one is a gem.

Which comedian scares the shit out of you because you know you'll never be that good

Don't you hate it when comedians answer this question by naming one of their mates you've never heard of? That's how you know you're interviewing an idiot. Anyway, to answer your question, I would say John Collins, a mate of mine from Swansea. He can literally make you laugh till you ache, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

Why and how did you get into comedy?

I'd always wanted to do comedy. After far too long in denial, I signed up for a comedy workshop in 2013. It was really stressful and put me off doing stand-up again for two years. But I started hanging out at gigs, meeting local comedians like the wonderful Chris Chopping and the extraordinary James Dunn, and helping out at the Cardiff Comedy Festival and Welsh Unsigned Standup Awards. In 2015, I entered the WUSA. I was woefully underprepared: I knocked together an act based on a crappy old horror story I wrote, and fully expected to crash and burn in the try-out. To my astonishment, I got to the semi-final, which was enough to convince me that maybe I could give comedy a go after all. Five years and a few hundred gigs later, the world ended.

What drives you to do what you do?

Knowing how much I'm annoying my family.

Describe your perfect Tuesday.

Eat, sleep, shit. Actually, Tuesday is Radio Times day. Although my dad is currently threatening to cancel our subscription, which makes about as much sense as the US cutting ties with the World Health Organisation during a pandemic.

Describe your worst experience on a coach.

When I was a kid, my parents used to drag me on the Greek Orthodox Women's Institute coach trips, which is not as exciting as it sounds. We'd go to quite interesting places, like Alton Towers, Stratford-upon-Avon or Longleat, but we'd skip all the cool stuff and head straight for the coffee shop, sit there with the old biddies for five hours then go home. I never did see Shakespeare's house.

Best sofa you've ever slept on?

I'm getting too old and fat for sofas. At my time of life I need to sleep on a proper bed, with an ergonomically-designed pillow for my adenoids.

Best piece of advice a comedian ever gave you?

There's a big difference between being a stand-up comedian, and just being a nasty bastard on a stage. This lesson should be taught at every single comedy course.

Worst piece of advice a critic ever gave you?

At one of my first gigs, a reporter told me, 'You have a very bright future ahead of you.'

It was a lovely compliment, but now I'm living in a dystopian nightmare of plague, fire and flood, ruled by incompetent fascist windbags. So that was a bit short-sighted.

Tell us a joke.

I don't think this is the time or the place, do you? I am trying to be inciteful and informative, thank you very much.

What's the furthest you've travelled for the least amount of money/open spot?

Despite never wanting to spend more than twenty quid on travel expenses, I still managed to travel far and wide, even as far as Kent, Shropshire or Cheshire. Then I'd skip the gig and head straight for the coffee shop. Force of habit.

Who were you looking forward to seeing in Edinburgh/Mach this year?

Well, that ship has sailed.

On a scale of 1-10 , how hungry are you right now?

I'm all right for food, thanks. I've got a lovely tray of bloater paste sandwiches in front of me.

How has lockdown been for you?

I've been in lockdown for six months with my elderly parents, and we've been having such a laugh. I haven't laughed so much since I saw When The Wind Blows.

In all seriousness, I haven't had it as bad as a lot of people, but it's been horrifying watching the news every day. Not just the sheer numbers of people dying, but the ineffectual and uncaring responses from many world leaders, including Britain. As I write this, Biden has just been voted in as president and there's word of a vaccine, so hopefully we're going to turn a corner. About time we had some good news.

Have you been more or less productive?

Less, I'm sorry to say. I think there's an expectation that you're supposed to write a brilliant novel or movie script while in lockdown, but I haven't done a sod of work. They say that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in lockdown for the Plague. What an absolute tosser.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Only how much I'm missing live stand-up comedy right now. But I swear, I'd trade it all in for my own quiz show.

Buffalo Comedy 20/3/2020

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