Interview: Paul Foot13 April 2016
This is your sixth time in Melbourne (fourth festival show) – what do you think of it?
Well, it’s a wonderful place. When I came here five years ago, I fell in love with it – both the country of Australia and Melbourne – and I’ve been coming ever since. Sometimes more than once a year. And I think that the people here have taken to me, so that’s lovely.
What can you tell us about the show?
This year I’m doing a show that contains some of my best humour from previous shows. That way, people who haven’t seen any of my work can get a taste of it, I suppose, and my connoisseurs can see some of their favourite bits.
Is doing a ‘best of’ show now a sign that you’re moving on to newer things?
Yeah, well it’s because, basically, I had my most recent show last year and my next show is in development – I’m on sort of a two year cycle – but I thought I would come down to Melbourne anyway for the festival. It’s a chance to catch up with my connoisseurs, as well as hopefully meet some new people.
So you don’t have fans but I’ve been told you have ‘connoisseurs’ who you’ve mentioned. Is it true you do secret shows for your connoisseurs?
At the moment only in London, but yes, that’s right. I just organise a place and do stuff for a couple of hours but that’s not the only thing I do with them. They can bow – if they meet me in the street – and that’s anywhere in the world. That way I know they’re a connoisseur, you know. I’ve been known to knight people in the street, even though I don’t have the authority or legal right to do that.
Do you think anyone is suspicious of you knighting people?
There is a monarch that could get very angry about that, but she’s 10,000 miles away so I don’t have to worry.
So are you here for the festival or in hiding?
I am here for the festival, but also in hiding from the monarch of Australia.
How did you get interested in comedy?
When I was a student, people said that I was very funny, so I gave it a go. And I loved it so much that I decided – on the spur of the moment – that it would be my career. But I’ve always done my own thing. People say my comedy is unusual, but it’s never planned to be that way. I write comedy that’s obvious to me.
Having said that though, you’ve worked with a variety of other comedians – Noel Fielding directed your show Ash in the Attic. Do you feel collaboration and communication between comedians is an important thing?
Oh, it’s great fun. I love doing stuff with Noel and others, you know, improvising, bouncing off other people and having a laugh. It’s great practice. But I think nothing is more exciting than when you’re doing it all on your own, because then, in that moment, it’s all down to me. You are the only one in that space. Stand up is probably the most exposed of the art forms. It’s very exciting.
An Evening with Mr Paul Foot is running at the Melbourne Town Hall until 17 April.