Random 8

The Thinking Drinkers

The Thinking Drinkers. Image shows left to right: Tom Sandham, Ben McFarland

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate.

This week we're starting to get vexed about Valentine's Day, so have tapped up a couple of Dutch Courage connoisseurs. Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland, aka The Thinking Drinkers, are back on tour with their Pub Quiz: Fancy Another Round, including a date at the Leicester Comedy Festival on February 9: surely the perfect Valentine's date (as the drinks are included).

So do they have any tips on types of tipple to wow the loved ones?

"As everyone knows, alcohol makes people look more pretty and handsome," Ben begins.

"If it's their heart you're after then choose a bottle of Chilean red wine. As Feargal Sharkey will tell you, a good heart is hard to find these days so when you do discover one, look after it. Chilean wine, made with grapes grown in hot yet moist climates, is rich in these things called flavonoids which can help your arteries and reduce the likelihood of a heart attack."


"Or you could have a beer," says Tom. "Beer may be an unlikely aphrodisiac but it's a powerful one - and it's not just the alcohol doing all the work. The hop, which provides the aroma and the bitterness in beer, stimulates sexual thought in men, relaxes women and was first written about by a 12th century German nun who is also credited with the first written description of the female orgasm. True story."

We'll have what they're having. But now, Thinking Drinkers, your Random 8 await:

Image shows from L to R: Tom Sandham, Ben McFarland

What's the weirdest thing in your wardrobe?

Tom: We have a lot of weird costumes in our show, so I don't consider things like Aztec costumes, monkey outfits and gimp suits weird anymore.

Ben: I have an 'abrawdrobe' made up of all the bad sartorial decisions I've made on holiday; ill-fitting Thai fishing trousers; a Bob Marley t-shirt with 'Jimi Hendrix' written underneath; and some army vests.

Which low-key law would you introduce?

Tom: Everyone should have to work in a bar or a restaurant for at least a month. It should be like National Service - to ensure people don't act like bell-ends when they order food or a pint.

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

Tom: Ben. He's fascinating and people should come and see our show just to learn how extraordinary he really is. He won't disappoint. Plus you get five drinks in the show.

We also met John Malkovich in our first Edinburgh Fringe, he was directing the sadly departed Julian Sands in a show, we all shared some cheese while discussing the merits of absinthe. We thought that every Fringe thereafter would deliver similar name-dropping moments, but it hasn't.

Ben: Mongo from Blazing Saddles. We stayed with him whilst writing a book about US craft beer. He used to play for the Detroit Lions before becoming an actor and had some great stories about Hollywood and smashing people's faces in.

Your favourite shop, ever?

Tom: My local pub, the Carpenters Arms in Harpenden. It sells everything I need.

Ben: Decathlon. Love that place. Especially the checkout where you can just lob your stuff in a basket and it adds it all up.

Who are you most envious of?

Tom: Ben, honestly, if you come and see our show, you'll see what I mean. And our agent, he really does seem to make money out of doing nothing. It's a remarkable talent.

The Thinking Drinkers. Credit: Steve Ullathorne

What's your favourite fact?

Tom: I like the fact that the French surgeon Serge Voronoff actually sewed monkey testicles onto French men convincing them it would prolong their lives. It didn't, but it did lead to the creation of the Monkey Gland cocktails, so, you know, swings and roundabouts. And monkey balls.

Ben: Hope you like bee facts. I've got loads of them. A bee's brain is the size of a sesame seed;
bees have five eyes (which see 300 frames a second); when flowers hear a bee's wings (which move at a rate of 230 times a second) they make their nectar sweeter; a third of all food we eat is pollinated by bees; and, best of all, bumblebees' penises explode when they ejaculate.

And when they sting you, their arse falls off. Also, bees won't sting you unless they feel under threat and they'll give you a warning by raising one of their legs. The most dangerous bee in the world? Hepatitis B.

Which place you've visited was the biggest anti-climax?

Tom: There isn't a place on the planet that I've visited with even moderate expectations, this way I'm always pleasantly surprised. Even Northallerton.

Ben: Stamford Bridge. Full of bell-ends. Come on You Rrrrrrrrs!

What's the greatest invention, ever?

Tom: Alcohol. Actually, it's a naturally occurring phenomenon - fruit naturally ferments, and indeed it is this that coaxed the first tree-dwelling apes from the trees to the forest floor, scientists credit it as a catalyst in human evolution. But humans did invent some as well, like vodka. And mezcal. And rum. And beer. Which are all available to enjoy in our current pub quiz show....

Ben: The Martini. It solves all your problems. If only for a little bit.

The Thinking Drinkers Pub Crawl: Fancy Another Round is touring the UK now. Info & tickets

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