Families have always been fertile fodder for comedy shows: eccentric parents, annoying kids, plus all that mother-in-law and her-indoors stuff from the 'good' old days, when off-colour gags were shared around like venereal diseases. Ray Bradshaw's material might be a bit trickier to nick, though, as he's got quite the distinctive niche.
The Scottish comic - who's won a bunch of awards this year - is currently touring the show Deaf Comedy Fam. It's largely about his parents, who are both deaf, and is both spoken and signed by Bradshaw, sign language being his first language. Yep, pretty rare.
And if you've ever seen a show that's signed, at a festival perhaps, you'll know that it can add a whole extra level of joke potential - some of those signs are pretty good visual gags already. You may never go back to regular gigs again.
It was a sold-out gong show in Liverpool called Rawhide Raw. You had to do eight minutes to survive and I ran out of steam massively after about five and got gonged off about seven minutes in. Afterwards someone came up to me and said they ran gigs and handed me their business card. He worked for John West Salmon, so it was just a John West Salmon business card and like that I was hooked on comedy.
Favourite show, ever?
When I was 18, I worked in the bar of the Kings Theatre in Glasgow to raise money to go to Uni. At the same time, I went to my first comedy gig to see Frankie Boyle. Last year I was a guest at Frankie Boyle and Friends at the King's Theatre, so it kind of felt like everything had gone full circle.
RAF Leeming. I was onstage after five hours of a free bar and they could not have cared less. Before me was a poker table where they were given free chips but could win proper money, so for them I was just a massive hindrance. I still swear at the road sign for it anytime I drive by.
The weirdest live experience?
There's been a few of these. I did a gig in Australia next to Australia's oldest tree that the audience could only reach by mini railway. That was a hard one to explain to people. I also did a gig in a shopping centre in Glasgow where I got heckled by the security guard from the shop next door. I've never wanted to steal something more in my life.
Who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?
There are a few but in comedy I think it's much more supportive so easier to remember the good people than the bad. It's more agents and TV people that you meet and make you realise that you're so glad you work in just telling jokes rather than the business side of it. If you're reading this then I don't hate you. But the person next to you; what a dick they are.
Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?
I did this bit where I thought you should legally be forced to sleep in the same bed as someone you are randomly allocated to aged 18, and when you get married you and your partner get a double bed each as a reward for getting married. People hated it and I think it's probably cos it's a bit shit.
Sign language can be brilliantly creative - do you have any favourite words/phrases to sign, on a comedy tip?
There are some sentences in my show that I really enjoy signing as they flow really well together. Mainly when talking about how I used to tell my brother he was adopted. The word disappointed is great to sign and you properly thrust your fingers into your throat and its very visual.
Sign language can be different in different areas though. In Australia the sign for Coca Cola is the British sign for sex which confused me the first time I met a deaf person and they offered me a drink - I just thought they were very forward!
The most memorable review, heckle or post-gig reaction?
During Edinburgh I had a few emotional deaf people wait for me after the show and thank me for making an accessible show that they could come to any day of the week not just a random Monday or Thursday when the show was interpreted. That was really nice.
I did a Radio 4 recording where someone kept heckling me in sign language really subtly, which was genius as I was the only one who could see it and notice it and it ruined my entire gig. I wasn't even annoyed, just impressed at the level of shithousery.
How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?
I'm quite happy with the way it's going just now. If you'd told me five years ago that I'd be on my first solo UK tour and selling out theatres in places like Ipswich where I'd never actually been before I would've bitten your hand off. Hopefully in the next five years I'll have cracked the code of how not to get fatter when on tour and then I'll be really happy.