One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate.
This week we welcome a sketch duo performing at the Leicester Comedy Festival this weekend, who've already made a splash at January's Gala Preview - De Montfort Hall's famous stage genuinely needed a good mop during the interval. It's Grubby Little Mitts, AKA Rosie Nicholls and Sullivan Brown. So, was that a good gala for the grubbies?
"I loved the gala show, the other acts were amazing, it was the biggest audience I've ever performed to, and we had so much fun," says Brown. Nicholls concurs:
"Often it's challenging to be the only sketch act on the bill, but the audience were very warm due to the hosting and the other comics all being extremely funny!"
And they're all appearing at Leicester too. GLM's show, Trying Time, is a workout of new stuff, which should be interesting. Their sketch schtick "is all about relationships between two people," says Nicholls, "spouses, strangers, siblings, colleagues, friends, lovers, enemies - everything we create has an uncanny valley aspect to it, and we try to pull the rug out from under the audience as many times as we can in every sketch we write. Writing and performing with Sullivan is a complete joy and we have so much more to come!"
Sullivan continues the wetness theme. "We want to push the boat out this year. We're going to be touring the UK in March/April and we want this year's Fringe to be a big one. I'm very excited to see what new places we can go that we haven't dared go to before."
But will they be invited back, after moistening more stages? Best see them this time, just in case. Meanwhile, Grubby Little Mitts, your Random 8 await.
Who was your childhood hero?
Sullivan: There was one man who captured my heart more than anyone else, and that was Gianfranco Zola. He was magic on the ball, lightning quick and very, very small for a professional footballer.
In the comedy world, however, it would've been Robin Williams, as that man exuded wit and madness in equal measure.
Rosie: I couldn't remember so I asked my (real) sister Bee for a prompt, and thankfully she reminded me: it was her. I think because she is older and commands respect from me, so being a hero comes naturally to her. She's very pretty and she is a good artist as well (Slade 2024).
Secondly I think it's Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove. She has perfect comic timing and enviable cheekbones as well as a unique sense of style and political manoeuvring. The drama, the command of a sidekick, the secret lab - there is much to admire.
Which film would you love to have been in, and which part?
Rosie: I do a really good 'deep voice', so I could have been Galadriel in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Cate [Blanchett] is good but in addition to the voice I think I would have brought a flirtatious/slutty/fourth-wave-feminist edge to the role which was seriously lacking in the trilogy but is definitely in the books.
Sullivan: I would've loved to have been in The Muppets Christmas Carol; it looks like the most fun you can possibly have while making a film and you get to work with the Muppets. Also, I am obsessed with Christmas, so it's the dream. As to who I would play, I'd happily take the role of the nephew as I couldn't bring myself to replace Michael Caine in his best-ever role.
What's the best thing you ever bought a ticket for?
Sullivan: It might well be the 2006 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United. The tension was so high, and even though everyone at home said it was a boring game, in the stadium you would never believe it. When it comes to the arts though it'd have to be The Encounter by Simon McBurney. I've never been transported into another world like that in my whole life and it changed everything for me artistically.
Rosie: I can't choose between Girl From The North Country with Shirley Henderson, Sheila Atim and Ciaran Hinds (spine tingling); The Inheritance (life changing); Sweeney Todd with Imelda Staunton (changed the course of my career aspirations); The Ferryman (I have never stopped thinking about this production). I wish I could see any of those again for the first time.
Which place you've visited was the biggest anti-climax?
Rosie: At twenty-one I travelled by train from Florence to Ferrara for the internationally famous busking festival and missed it by a day. Everything was closed and there was simply nothing else to do. It was rubbish.
Sullivan: Paris. I professed my love to a friend there while on holiday and she rejected me. And the whole place has the faint smell of wee.
What's your favourite phrase or expression?
Rosie: "Invent nothing, deny nothing, accept everything and get on with it" (David Mamet).
Sullivan: "Comparison is the thief of joy" (Theodore Roosevelt - probably).
When were you most embarrassed?
Rosie: I absolutely hate introducing people and will do anything I can to avoid saying their names to each other in case I, (a) have forgotten them, (b) pronounce them wrong, or (c) accidentally dribble while talking. If we're friends or strangers, it's your responsibility to introduce yourself to the people around you and that includes me, repeatedly, even if we've known each other for years. I refuse to be in a position where I forget someone's name to their face ever again (sorry Joe Hampson) (I think that's who I'm talking about?).
Sullivan: Probably the time I pissed myself walking back home from an Edinburgh night out. I wasn't even that drunk! I had to run back home with my trousers covered in wee and sneakily wash them at four in the morning once I got back. It inspired a sketch we did in [tour show] Hello, Hi which ended up being our finale.
Your most catastrophic haircut?
Rosie: In 2010 I got trapped in an underground salon in New York with a load of Bulgarian hairdressers who didn't speak any English. Separated from my group, I had to let them cut and bleach my hair in a sort of fluffy blonde mullet and also pay them $100 dollars in order to let me leave the premises. I was seventeen.
Sullivan: I once had the bright idea to cut my own hair, and it went remarkably well, but I never got that magic back and each time I'd cut it again, it'd get worse and worse and worse. By the end, it was like someone had just pulled random bits of hair out of my head.
What's the weirdest thing you ever saw?
Sullivan: I once saw a show which had five actors (three men and two women), all in their underwear, who, for a full hour, screamed horrible, nonsensical things at the audience and simulated having sex with one another on stage.
At one point the action stopped and one of the women went into a still quite bad, but at least quiet, monologue about walking through a field in a dream. Unfortunately, this was interrupted by one of the other actors shouting "Your dreams make my blood cry!" and the screaming continued.
Rosie: In Brick Lane with my mum and sister, lunchtime, broad daylight weekday, we saw a woman having a horse-like piss under a spotlight in an alleyway. We didn't mean to, but we all locked eyes with her, and the relief on this woman's face has never left my mind. We ran away, but we never forgot.