Random 8

The Electric Head

The Electric Head. Image shows left to right: Alan Ronald, Cy Henty. Credit: Rob Brazier

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This week our guests are eclectic duo The Electric Head, who have a residency at a museum, no less.

It's London's Museum of Comedy, once a month, where they'll be doing a completely improvised show called, yes, Improvised Head. Just like a cool jazz duo at the Blue Note (or wherever cool jazz duos have residencies).

So, big question: is improv comedy jazz?

"If Jazz involved more knob gags, a predilection for animal cloning techniques and silly voices then it would definitely be similar to our form of improv comedy," says the Electric Head's Al Ronald.

"We've won awards for our writing, so this is a chance to write a show right in front of the audience's eyes, in real time. Mistakes and all. Which has a similar thrill to jazz musicians putting it all on the line. We know we can play the music, so let's see what happens when we swap instruments!"

And that venue is steeped in comic creativity, says his colleague, Cy Henty.

"In all honesty the Museum of Comedy feels like The Electric Head's superhero base, as not only are we able to sit in the booth The Goons wrote in to have a beer but also perform in a crypt. The staff team are incredible, plus we have a cardboard cut-out of Russ Abbot in our dressing room. You couldn't really ask for more."

What an atmosphere. The Electric Head, your Random 8 await.

The Electric Head. Image shows left to right: Alan Ronald, Cy Henty. Credit: Rob Brazier

What was your career dream, as a kid?

Al: I told my careers officer at school that I wanted to work in comedy, drama, and professional wrestling. They said that was stupid. I have since gone on to have a career in comedy, drama and professional wrestling. I thought of that careers advisor as I scoffed a Nando's with the Heartbreak Kid.

Other than that I dreamt of a career as a member of International Rescue. I have a brother called Gordon, but my dad never bothered to have the other three so that scuppered those plans.

Cy: I wanted to be Poe: a poet and writer, Tellytubby and pilot for the resistance. I was told this was pie in the sky. However I soon realised that's the sun - as that's the ratio of its circumference to its diameter. After that I decided to follow my dreams - but I got stuck down the side of the bed.

When were you most embarrassed?

Cy: It must have been when I awoke to discover a strange man in my bed and then realised it was me.

Al: I once made the ill-fated decision to eat a korma whilst sat on an air-fan exercise bike; it was like a Catherine wheel of spicy Indian food when I lost my grip on the takeaway container. Yes, I was pedalling as I ate.

Also on a job on one of the Harry Potter movies... but I'll save that for a later question.

What's the worst job you've ever had?

Al: I worked in a famous chain of one-pound supermarkets for a few weeks. I went home for lunch one day and The Goonies was on telly, so I never went back. Nobody ever asked where I went.

Also, a job on one of the Harry Potter movies... but I'll save that for a later question.

Cy: I once had a job in a place called 'Zander's oscillating restaurant.' They must have thought I was some kind of miraculous aquatic doctor as they asked me to cure a fish which was obviously dead.

They sacked me after I put on a turkey burlesque act - apparently they wanted chicken strippers.

Who are you most envious of?

Al: People who were cast in some great and lucrative roles in any of the Harry Potter movies.

Cy: As a child I was always envious of Weebles - which were jolly, plastic, egg-shaped people with their arms moulded to their sides. Life was always an obstacle course for me with poor eyesight and co-ordination, but the Weebles, they couldn't fall over, they'd just bob back up again.

Then I was given a Weeble plane for my birthday. I would lay awake at night worrying; how would the Weeble air-hostess point to the exits? How would they strap on the parachutes?! 'Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down' was the USP - but what if 'Weebles die in horrific plane crash?' I would picture their terrified faces as they realised the pilot's got no bloody arms, and they'd roll and wobble around grotesquely as the plane was smashed to pieces on the rocky slopes of Weeble mountain.

The Electric Head

Do you have a signature dance move?

Cy: Mine is the Taramasalata from the 1920's dance craze. As the famous song says 'Everybody's doing the Taramasalata, the dance you can master it's smarter and it's faster. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Feta, you tried the cheeky Tzatziki but now it's getting better. Don't be a social disaster - persona non-grata, take my advice and do the Taramasalata'.

Al: I am well known for skulking off to an abandoned warehouse and performing the entirety of Kevin Bacon's 'angry dance' from Footloose when fully enraged.

What's your favourite building?

Cy: My favourite building is Tesco's in Pitsea. So much so that I wrote a poem about it.
'Tesco's in Pitsea is massive, they say you can see it from space. I met a minotaur whilst searching the freezer aisle for a trolley I'd sadly misplaced.'

Al: I once lived for a week in a Sultan's Massacre House in New Orleans. When walking tours came by every few minutes and took photos we would scream loudly to frighten them off. Also, Paisley Abbey, the only cathedral - to my knowledge - to sport a Xenomorph gargoyle.

Which live event would you most like to have attended?

Cy: Without doubt it would have been the fictional 1885 bicycle race between mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell; HG Wells; Alfred Jarry, inventor of pataphysics; polemicist and playwright George Bernard Shaw; and Albert Hoffman the discoverer of LSD.

This ended in a crash resulting in an intricate jumbled knot of their facial hair that inspired the theory of quantum entanglement.

Al: It would have to be the Glasgow Empire in its heyday. Who wouldn't want to watch Des O'Connor pretend to faint to escape a hostile audience and a burlesque dancer slipping on pelted ice creams?

Which film would you love to have been in (and which part)?

Al: I was lucky enough to be cast in one of the Harry Potter movies.

I excitedly went along to the studios and was given a very nice tour before being asked to strip to the waist and have photos taken of me from every conceivable angle. I was to be reference material for the construction of a fat suit. The magic faded that day.

Other than that, it would have to be Ghostbusters - if only to justify the amount of money I've spent on replica proton packs.

Cy: Jurassic Park, as I once had a dream that I was baked inside a giant cornish pasty and I managed to break through the pastry with my arms and legs to crawl around, got mistaken for a stegosaurus and Spielberg cast me in the film. Oprah Winfrey famously said 'If you can dream it you can do it.' It was after that dream I realised this wasn't always true.

The Electric Head: Improvised Head is at London's Museum of Comedy in March, April, May and June, starting on March 16. museumofcomedy.com

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