Random 8

Ian Smith

Ian Smith

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This week that guest is Goole's own Ian Smith, who had a successful time further north in August, and is heading elsewhere early next year. But with what?

"Crushing is my latest solo show which was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award and I'm taking it on tour," he explains. "It's about stress, love and driving a tank over a car with your hairdresser. Three timeless themes."

"My dentist told me I'm grinding my teeth in my sleep due to stress - so I'm even managing to be stressed out during the most peaceful state the body can be in! It's made me have a look at why I'm stressed and what I can do about it. Luckily for the audience, I go about it in the wrong way and it's funny as opposed to in any way educational."

Lesson-free it may be but congratulations are in order for that well-deserved Edinburgh nomination - how did he celebrate; if, in fact, he did?

"Thank you! It was a real dream come true to make it on to the nominations list. I can't really remember what I did. I know I had some drinks - but they make you get up at 10am for a photoshoot the next day, so I couldn't drink too much through a fear of looking terrible in the official photos!

"My family were up at Fringe then as well, so it was nice to see them and to relax a bit. At the end of the Fringe I did my usual tradition of getting battered sausages and chips from City Restaurant and eating them back at my accommodation and then feeling very full. I bought a bottle of tomato sauce for that one meal only. A very Northern way to celebrate."

Ian Smith. Credit: Matt Stronge

It's good to ketchup with the folks. Now, Ian Smith, your Random 8 await.

What was your childhood career dream?

I think, like most children, I had a brief phase of wanting to be an ice cream man. As in, a man who has a van filled with ice cream, with weird drawings on the side and a haunting soundtrack blasting out wherever I go - not someone who made genuinely good ice cream. I didn't know what gelato was when I was young and I think the only flavours I knew were vanilla, mint choc chip and rum and raisin.

Nowadays, the reality of operating an ice cream van is far less appealing - your earnings are dependent on the weather and every now and then someone will shout "paedo" at you for no reason. With stand-up comedy, you can gig whatever the weather and often you get to call someone in the audience a paedo instead.

Ever had a horrendous holiday?

I don't think I've had a horrendous holiday - but I didn't have a good time in Romania when I did a gig there. The hotel we were staying in was very scary and everyone I've shown a picture of it to has gone, "fucking hell!" I also drank vodka at 11am UK time.

Some other highlights of bad incidents during otherwise good holidays include: crashing a husky sled and injuring a man I'd never met in front of his two young daughters; booking a glowworm cave tour and halfway through the day being taken to a farm to watch a boring sheep shearing demonstration that I didn't realise was included in the package; and having a shot of a 70% Slovakian liquor that made me have intense nightmares.

Ian Smith

What's the best thing you ever ate?

The first time I did New Zealand Comedy Festival I went to Mudbrick Vineyard on Waiheke Island with some other comedians and had some slow cooked lamb. It was so good I had to be asked to keep my voice down because I was complimenting it too loudly and disturbing some of the other tables.

Extra one - as it's your debut UK tour - any great British tastes?

There was a shortbread shop in Edinburgh called Pinnies and Poppyseeds and it was absolutely incredible. The shortbread was so good. Served warm. Fresh out the oven. Fresh into my stomach, fresh into my soul, fresh into my heart. It's not there anymore and I always look at whatever shop is in its place with uncontrollable and undeserved disdain. One year it was an ice cream shop and it made me glad I never became an ice cream man.

Which British town should be abolished?

I've Googled "UK smallest town population" and apparently it's Fordwich, with just 381 people - so I'm going to be nice about this and say Fordwich so there will be the least amount of fuss involved in abolishing the town. Basically, if the residents of Fordwich try and stop us abolishing it, we'd be able to deal with them relatively easily.

What's the weirdest thing you ever saw?

I was in a restaurant with my parents and we looked out of the window and two guys were looking in - and they looked EXACTLY like Harry and Marv from Home Alone. Even if it was fancy dress - their faces were exactly the same from the time of the films. Maybe it was a collective hallucination, but we saw it. They tried to come inside but the maƮtre d' had heated up the door handle so it was glowing red and put loads of ball bearings by the entrance.

Any phobias/irrational fears/unlikely dislikes?

When I was young I had a dream where a gang of goblins chased me up the stairs and as I slammed the door to my room one of their heads got stuck in it and it exploded... this resulted in me being a bit paranoid when I was going upstairs or when I had my back turned to a door. I thought the goblins would be chasing me and out for revenge.

(I just want to make it crystal clear, if you're a goblin reading this - you guys came after me, unprovoked, and that head-exploding-in-a-door situation was self defence... but if you don't leave me alone I'll explode all your heads. You hear me? All your heads)

Ian Smith. Credit: Matt Stronge

Is there a book or film that changed your life?

This is a hard question and that's why you get paid the big bucks to ask them... I'd say In Bruges - Martin McDonagh's conversational and violent writing style has influenced me a lot and I've since read all his plays. Also, In Bruges made me want to go to Bruges and it was the first holiday abroad that I paid to go on (as in, first one that wasn't a school trip - I haven't been receiving free holidays all my life like a comedy nepo-baby) and I had a very nice time.

Who's the most interesting person you've ever met?

I did some gigs in Norway and on one of the nights a man in a rhino mask came and asked if he could be added to the bill to do five minutes. Weirdly, the compere said yes. He introduced himself to me by saying, "I've just come in off the street!" and sang a song about his penis being magical.

He also seemed to be a very successful and wealthy businessman who worked in the oil industry. I found the mix of international travelling businessman and surrealist rhino-mask-wearing comedian fascinating and I'd love to know more about his life.

Ian Smith: Crushing is touring the UK from 19th January. Info & tickets

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