The Hot 100 2010 - No. 2: Kevin Bridges
The Scottish comedian's profile skyrocketed this year - interview
A couple of years ago, Kevin Bridges was just another comic hammering away at the circuit and trying to get noticed amid an ever-hectic field of stand-ups. After appearing on that McIntyre thing in the summer of 2009, his profile skyrocketed from being a hit in his homeland to having his name mentioned in households across the UK. Consequently, his debut Fringe run resulted in the sold-out signs being put up outside his venue while the comedy judges gave him a thumbs-up too as he gained an Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nomination. But this year, it has all gone very, very right. The Clydebank laddie played two gigs with a combined attendance of 26,000, released a debut DVD that has outsold Scottish legends Billy Connolly and Frankie Boyle in this year’s Christmas rush and, far more importantly, he’s jumped up ten spots in our Hot 100 poll. Brian Donaldson grabs some words with him.
You had a busy year doing the TV panel shows and having another full August in Edinburgh, but your year probably revolved around that SECC gig in May. Were you filling your breeks at the prospect?
At first I didn’t want to do it because I never thought comedy would work in that kind of arena and I had my eye on playing the King’s Theatre; hopefully that’ll happen soon. But the demand was there to play in front of 10,000 people and I was only 22 when we were making the decision so I thought, well why not. I was young and fearless. And then I spent about nine months worrying about whether comedy can be done in such a massive arena. Doing the Channel 4 comedy gala at the O2 in March in front of 16,000 helped, as I thought doing the SECC will feel like doing the State Bar.
On that show’s DVD, you start with a homage to The Sopranos opening sequence, by driving round the hot spots of Glasgow.
And I don’t even drive, it was just cleverly edited together. It was a nightmare trying to get the music cleared from Alabama 3 and HBO. It turned out we’d needed to have sold about 10million DVDs to have met the cost. And it was good fun filming it as well; we were watching the opening sequence and thinking ‘there’s the Twin Towers; what can we get here that’s like that the World Trade Centre?’ Well, obviously the Forge in Parkhead.
What’s the strangest gig you played in 2010?
The boring bit about going through a relatively successful period is that you don’t do that many mad gigs. When you start you’re doing gigs in call centres and bingo halls and prisons and I miss gigging in pubs like the Tartan Rose in Paisley. For this year, Shetland was pretty surreal, though in a good way, because there’s so much stuff that you need to tailor.
You’re a big football fan and were the sports guy on Channel 4’s Stand Up for the Week: what was your sporting highlight of 2010?
I’m just back from Barcelona for the Real Madrid game, which I saw with my brother and Greg McHugh. I just love seeing good football. It was as though every footballer in the world you wanted to see was on that park. The crowd don’t really sing, because the football is that good; it’s a theatrical thing. In Scotland we have to sing every single minute because the football is so dire.
You can also be seen on DVD in an episode of Greg McHugh’s Gary Tank Commander. How did that come about?
That was filmed in September 2009 after the last night of the Fringe. I remember really looking forward to it as I’d been doing the stand-up all month and I was a bit scunnered with it. I’ve been offered stuff but I don’t have a lot of respect for some of the directors who just think, ‘working class guy from Glasgow, let’s get him into a tracksuit and say the word “dobber”’.
Who would top your personal Hot 100 list?
I met Biffy Clyro in Edinburgh this year. I watched their acoustic set at Princes Street Gardens and that was great. They’ve become a proper big act now.