Although he first tried stand-up as a 17-year-old in Newcastle, Zimbabwe-born Will Andrews established his comedic reputation in Scotland. Performing live as his alter-ego Tony Carter, a dole-sponging Geordie on a government retraining scheme, he quickly progressed to developing other new talent for The Comedy Unit, writing, producing, directing and eventually winning a Scottish Bafta with the Channel 4 sketch show Blowout. Decamping to London seemed inevitable for his television career, yet initially, he found the stand-up circuit ‘a nightmare’ there.
‘You’re supported so well by The Stand, it’s the best gig in the country as far as I can tell,’ he explains. ‘But you’re raised in isolation, so when you go to London they say “Tony who?” And you have to go back to doing five minutes in a pub in the back end of nowhere. In some ways that’s good, though, because it makes you rethink what you’re up to.’
Andrews will return to The Stand this August for his first dramatic role, in an Edinburgh Fringe revival of Gregory Burke’s Gagarin Way alongside fellow comics Phil Nichol, Jim Muir and Bruce Morton. Notwithstanding the adoption of a Dunfermline accent, he’s relishing the challenge of reinterpreting such an acclaimed work. At the same time, he’ll be following his well-received forays into live sketch as part of the Ugly Kid troupe and with Greg McHugh for a new show entitled Nitwit. It’s a one-man show in which Andrews interacts with ‘a sort of box on sticks. With a screen for a face, on wheels. Tied to the ceiling by cables. It talks to me and I talk back.’ So won’t this sticky back plastic Frankenstein’s sidekick reflect badly on McHugh if the reviews are better? ‘I certainly hope so,’ Andrews chuckles.
The Stand, Glasgow, Thu 18–Sun 21 Jun