Random 8

Benjamin Alborough

Benjamin Alborough

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This week we're looking ahead to All Hallow's Eve. And All Hallow's Eve Eve. And Eve Eve Eve.

Yes, the Blazin' Squad of leftfield comedy, Weirdos, are back with an ambitious three-night spooktacle, Murder at the True Crime Convention, at London's Museum of Comedy over the Halloween weekend. And right in among the vast cast is Benjamin Alborough, who when not performing can usually be found making proper theatre happen. Not that we're saying Weirdos isn't. So what possessed him to join this self-explanatory collective?

"In 2015, drunk on amateur student theatre, I stumbled into a Leicester art gallery repurposed as a venue and watched an extremely hairy man do a one-man musical called Gary Lineker and the Crisp Factory. That man? Albert Einstein. Three years later an unrelated comedian called Adam Larter asked if I wanted to join Weirdos. With Albert Einstein long dead, I naturally accepted."

Naturally. Now, fully indoctrinated, Alborough is all about their DIY prop-happy quasi-chaos.

Weirdos Comedy Presents... Murder at the True Crime Convention

"The Weirdos hold a special place in my heart because when I first entered into the world of comedy they stood totally apart from everything else I'd ever seen, with absolutely no sense of dismissive superiority. The creative experimentality and the collectivist ethos - warmly encouraged and freely given - keeps everyone on their toes and is so exciting to be part of. It is my greatest privilege to call them friends."

But what else will he be up to, once that third show concludes, the clocks go back and the year ends?

"As 2021 winds to a close I think it's good to reflect on the year I've just had: six months of sleeping-in followed by a month of panicked busibodying and then five months of overcommitment to projects. I'm going to take out a solo show next year about Monopoly. My play Cream Tea and Incest may go out again. I might double down on figuring out how the M&Ms store continues to turn a profit. Who knows! Life is a tapestry."

Tricks, treats, and lots more besides. But now, Ben Alborough, your Random 8 await.

Who is - or was - your most interesting relative?

When my grandmother was my age she got really into researching family trees and as such I can trace my ancestors on both sides right back to the 16th century.

I can now confirm with 100% certainty that all of them were agricultural peasants called either William, Richard or John.

Is there a book or film that changed your life?

RedLetterMedia's Plinkett Reviews were probably formative in the way I look at anything scripted. I'm not sure if those count as films though and I refuse to be the first person in a Random 8 to mention anime so my answer is probably the delirium-inducing 1941 comedy Hellzapoppin'.

I do not know how to describe that film - it's an absolute mess but also one of the funniest, most chaotic things I've ever seen. Distilled Weirdos energy, but 80 years ago. And to think I only discovered it last year! Thank you, pandemic.

Who are you most envious of?

I think, on balance, I am most envious of the incredibly wealthy and powerful. It's all well and good to desire the career of another comic (who probably wants someone else's career themselves) but having basically unlimited resources to do literally whatever I want might really help my circuit presence.

Your most interesting injury?

When I was a boy I ran into a wall, mainly to see what would happen. What happened is that I went to hospital with a fractured skull. Lesson? Never ask questions.

Ever met a surprisingly great or awful celebrity?

The barriers of celebrity come crashing down the minute you start getting involved in the arts; I have some old friends who are massive fans of specific people in this Halloween show. In my day job I work with people who were household names when I was growing up. What I'm trying to say is the most awful celebrity I've ever met was Joz Norris.

What's the weirdest thing in your wardrobe?

I don't have enough storage space in my rented house so my wardrobe is also home to my films, books etc. The answer, then, to this question is the DVD for Lawrence Kasanoff's insidiously evil magnum opus Foodfight! which I have seen three times.

I also have the PS2 game Animal Soccer World, which features some collected shitty minigames preceded by 30 minutes of plagiarised Disney characters all voiced by one bored Indonesian dude.

Your most horrific holiday?

This is going to be controversial; I hate holidays. I love days off but going 300 miles away to sit in the sun fills me with dread. My family went to Montpelier in 2012 and I spent most of that holiday inside watching That Mitchell And Webb Look and was mocked for it. Why would I not want to do the things abroad that I'd want to do at home? Jokes on them 'cos they ended up joining me.

When were you most embarrassed?

If I'm honest I tend to find day to day embarrassment really funny. But during a secondary school ceremony when I was about 14 I decided it'd be really cool if I did a little skip as I walked across the stage to collect a certificate: I tripped and slammed my face onto the plywood floor. Picked myself up too quickly and missed grabbing the diploma. Walked off stage and straight out of the venue. Got a Pizza Express. Great day.

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