What comedy most inspires you?
Honestly, the most inspiring comedy is the stuff that’s popular but crap; the stuff that makes you think ‘Well even I could do something better that.’ That made me want to do comedy far more than stuff that’s good. But I’m far too polite to say what that inspiring popular crap is.
Which comedian most inspires you?
Again, the comedian that most inspires me is someone popular and crap and I’m too polite to name them. I wonder if you can guess who it is though.
Which comedian scares the shit out of you because you know you'll never be that good?
There are comedians that are better than me but I’m not scared by them. I can just accept that they’re better than me. That’s not going to get me killed.
Why and how did you get into comedy?
I always wanted to do something creative and really, I wanted to be in a band. But I didn’t want the hassle of having to get bandmates to meet up with any regularity. Also, I didn’t want to have to carry a lot of heavy equipment. Who’d be a drummer? It seems like such a pain in the arse. And where do you practice?
If I couldn’t be a professional musician I wanted to be a writer, but I couldn’t get anyone to read anything I’d written. Stand-up seemed like the easiest way to get strangers to hear the ideas I had so I tried that. Once I started performing I enjoyed it and just wanted to keep doing it, even though I was very bad at it. For about six months. And then I absolutely mastered it and have been one of the greatest comedians of my generation ever since.
What drives you to do what you do?
I wouldn’t have said I was particularly attention-seeking before I did stand-up, but once I started I quickly became addicted to getting it. Now attention is all I want and it’s all I ever think about. It’s ruined my life. Follow me on Twitter.
Describe your perfect Tuesday.
I wake up, check my phone and see that I’ve gone viral overnight, have a million new Twitter followers and everybody loves me. I reply to my adoring fans until it’s time for my stand-up gig (there isn’t a pandemic on). It’s a Tuesday so I’m just doing a small gig to about 2,000 people to try out my new material. It all works and everyone there agrees it was the best stand-up that had ever happened. I go home and eat a big bag of crisps.
Describe your worst experience on a coach.
About two years ago I was hung-over on a Megabus, needed to be sick, ran into the toilet and was sick right as I opened the door. My sick missed the toilet and instead went on the floor and all over myself. Luckily, it was all within in the toilet room (or whatever you’d call that bit of a bus) so the other passengers couldn’t see and I was able close the door and clean it all up without anyone saying anything.
Best sofa you’ve ever slept on?
Of all the sofas I’ve slept on, none of them really stick out in my mind. They’ve all been good.
Best piece of advice a comedian ever gave you?
Worst piece of advice a critic ever gave you?
A jaded old man once told me that audiences are thick so you should do ‘jokes about stuff like “Britain’s Got Talent” or “I’m A Celebrity” or whatever’ to get them on side. The ironic thing is he said this in response to me doing a set that included a fairly long routine about ‘Family Fortunes,’ so I guess he found that to be still too alienatingly elitist.
That man was a comedian, though I’ve just reread your question and see you asked for the worst advice I’ve had from a critic.
I’ve not really had any reviews that I thought were particularly mean or unfair. But I did once do a gig that had two reviewers in, meaning I got two reviews of the exact same performance. In that set I did one routine about Jaffa cakes and another routine about yoghurt. I knew myself that they felt a bit similar and really, doing both of them in a ten-minute set was too samey; it should have been one of the other. But they were my best jokes at the time and it was quite a big gig so I wanted to do both anyway. One review said that the Jaffa cakes bit was too long but the yoghurt bit was good. The other review said the yoghurt bit was too long but the Jaffa cake bit was good. I swear that’s true. What can I do with feedback like that?
Tell us a joke.
No, you have to hear me tell it. It’s my accent and facial expression that makes it work. Sorry.
What's the furthest you've travelled for the least amount of money/open spot?
Manchester to Brighton for no money at all. It went so well they booked me for another gig in a town outside Brighton, that was also for no money. I’m pretty sure they knew I lived in Manchester. They did give me a drink and a sandwich though. What a life.
Who are you looking forward to seeing in Edinburgh this year?
This question has aged badly. ☹
On a scale of 1-10 , how hungry are you right now?
Only about 2 or 3. I’m not really hungry, but I could eat some crisps if they were there in front of me.
How has lockdown been for you?
I think I’ve been relatively lucky really. Obviously, we’ve all had our ups and downs with our moods and our existential dread, but overall, I think I’m alright. I’ve been making a lot of videos for Twitter and YouTube and some of them have done quite well, so that’s been nice. I probably wouldn’t have found the time to dub the old J. R. Hartley ‘Yellow Pages’ advert into German if I’d been gigging regularly. And more people have watched my German J. R. Hartley video than would ever come to my Edinburgh show. But I miss actually being in the same room as an audience and, you know, earning money and stuff.
Have you been more or less productive?
Probably less to be honest. I think when you’ve got plenty of free time and no deadlines it’s too easy to think ‘I’ll do it later’ and then you end up sitting around doing nothing the whole day. But at the start of lockdown I did clean my room for the first time in about ten years. And I’ve hoovered at least twice since. So that’s something.
Anything else you'd like to say?
The main thing I’ve been doing during lockdown is making short, stupid videos. I put words to old TV theme tunes or edit myself into adverts or whatever. They’re all funnier than that sounds. People like them, I swear to God. And they’re usually under a minute long so I’m not asking much when I ask you to watch them. I put them on Twitter and I’m obsessed with getting followers there so I’d appreciate it if you could follow me @ThisIsTomLittle. I put them on YouTube too so please do subscribe to my YouTube channel as well. It’s youtube.com/tomlittle. I think if I get enough subscribers I can eventually earn 4p or something. Thanks in advance.
Facebook : www.facebook.com/thisistomlittle