Comedian Craig Campbell on being the wild man of Canadian comedy
Canadian stand-up on his love of Scotland, his 'promised land', and the prominence of chicken suits in UK comedy
Describing himself as ‘looking good in the wind’, Craig Campbell has no truck with anyone having a dig at his image. For one thing, the wild man of Canadian comedy is, and always has been, a man at ease wearing shorts. ‘I was a bit of a giantkiller regards bullies at home,’ he notes of his Calgary upbringing. ‘I always had the secret power of being a psycho. I had several bullying incidents but they tended to end pretty horribly for the bully and people then just quit bothering me about shorts or anything else.’
A word to the wise for the would-be heckler there. Chances are that Campbell’s experience (he’s been doing this stand-up lark since the mid-90s) is enough to repel any loose-tongued miscreant in his crowd, but he feels such a bond with Scottish audiences that, chances are, nothing untoward is likely to occur here. ‘I’m certainly of the Scottish stock,’ he growls proudly. ‘My grandfather was from Edinburgh and grandmother from Bridge of Weir. My mum went to Greenock Academy and came over when she was 17 and had wonderful stories of the homeland. Growing up, Scotland was the promised land for me and so it’s such a special thing to be able to perform in the country of my ancestry.’
His love of Scotland broadens out to an appreciation of the UK and, in particular, its positive attitude to stand-up comedy. ‘You’re not too judgemental about where the comedy comes from. When I left North America, the comedy uniform there was the Seinfeld jacket and trainers but in the UK you had people dressed in a strange head-dress or a chicken suit. All the audience cared about was whether it was a funny chicken or not.'
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Sat 30 Jun.