Bespectacled John Peel impersonator Robin Ince has been known to tell a story about how his pal Wil Hodgson was verbally abused by some blokes in the street. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carr was one of the experienced comics who offered the mohicaned Chippenham lad some early advice. There might be two comics out there whose acts are less like Hodgson’s than that pair but the search continues. For his part, he is still grateful for Carr’s words of wisdom. ‘He gave me a bit of a pep talk in Brighton,’ recalls Hodgson. ‘I was way too aggressive at the time and moving around too much. I have the wrong build for that really, though someone like Johnny Vegas gets away with it and that’s funny in itself to see that build shifting around.’
Hodgson’s affection for girls’ dolls and his former life as a wrestler has been well documented, though his fate as one of life’s outsiders even stretches into his current career. ‘I’m wondering whether I should really be described as a stand-up comedian. I could go to poetry nights but I’d have a whole set of new problems there. I’d have a mind to call it Spoken Word Performance and I’d certainly never introduce myself to anyone as a comedian.’ Too many conversations with cabbies and their insistence on him being the performing monkey have put paid to that.
Quite probably one of the most heartfelt performers on the circuit, should he be less than completely satisfied with his act, you might feel your pockets heavier on the way out. ‘I always offer a refund if it’s gone tits up. I know when I’m dying on my ass.’ This is far rarer than Wil Hodgson thinks.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 30 Jan.