What makes Comedians Giving Lectures stand out from other comedy shows?
I think we introduce an audience to comedians they won't have seen before, unless they're avid Edinburgh goers. There's something with TV where it's really difficult to take a risk on new people and if you haven't seen them in a similar type of show, you don't know if they're going to flourish. Whereas, because they're performing by themselves on Comedians Giving Lectures, you absolutely know that they can do the job, you know they can write silly or clever comedy, you know that they can do it.
It's a really good platform for finding out about new comics, which I think lots of audiences are always looking for. Like 'who should we go and see on tour', 'who should we go and see if we go to a festival' and I think Comedians Giving Lectures has got a much wider range of comics than a lot of other shows and a lot of other stand up shows.
Which comedian surprised you in Series 3?
Elf Lyons really surprised me. I would have absolutely sworn that you couldn't make economics uncomfortably sexy, but she can!
What do you love about this series?
I really love comedy, obviously, and I really love comedians being brave and trying something new. What I get as a host, because I see them backstage, is to see the nerves and the apprehension. There's lots of wondering about how it's going to go and what it's going to be like.
Lots and lots of lecturers think that it's going to be very dry. When you've written something yourself you forget what's funny and, because we had a massive live audience after a year and a half of covid restrictions, the minute the comics got that massive first laugh or round of applause they then warmed up and you could see that they were really enjoying themselves. And that's such a fun thing to be a part of, because essentially it's a new material night of people trying stuff for the very first time and they don't know where the laughs are going to be and those laughs are always the best ones. You just really appreciate them.
Do you listen to any Ted Talks that inspire you?
Oh yes, absolutely! I don't know if it's just amongst comics or if it is a workplace thing. We've actually done the title in Comedians Giving Lectures! Ellie Taylor did it in Series 2. It was the one about how body language can make you feel more confident. It was viral Ted Talk and for comics it was really relevant because sometimes we don't use our bodies very much or stage, or we want to be confident but it's a very neck up job sometimes. Then, suddenly, we all went through a phase of doing real monkey like shapes with our arms backstage to make us feel more confident.
There are some really interesting talks on creativity available. Also, Brene Brown's talk on vulnerability is so relevant to creativity and I can't imagine a single person who has to public speak who wouldn't find those ones useful.
Have any of the lectures given ever inspired you to go back and watch the original?
Yes, it tends to be the ones that I haven't heard of. Alex Brooker did one about parenting and I was really interested to find out what the original was about because I absolutely knew it wouldn't have been the same as Alex Brooker's! He got really angry about the dad in Peppa Pig, and I thought 'I can't imagine a Ted expert got that up on screen!'. So sometimes I do actually go 'oh the title is so interesting and sounds so informative, that I do actually want to know about that'.