Why comedian Tom Deacon doesn't want you to laugh at his comedy
Stand-up is also a DJ with fixture on Radio 1
A comedian not wanting an audience to laugh might seem the very opposite of the intended goal, but sometimes there could be an honourable reason for it. In Tom Deacon’s case, hearing a particularly prominent guffaw can only spoil it for the rest of us. ‘It becomes an issue if everyone in the audience stops laughing because of that one laugh being so annoying, til you get to the point where you say, “you know what, I love the fact that you’re laughing but could you not?”’
Mind you, some people in the stand-up/DJ’s life might be getting out the pot to go alongside the kettle when hearing him declare that problem. “I’ve got quite an annoying laugh myself; it’s quite loud. When I find something funny and no one else is laughing, it makes me go for it even more. My girlfriend finds it very awkward that I have to laugh louder than anyone in order to say, “look, I’m finding this funny’.”
Paying punters have been laughing loudly, annoyingly or normally at Deacon since he won the Chortle Student Award in 2007. From then, he’s gigged relentlessly, appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Comedy Zone in 2008 and doing his debut solo hour a year later. Taking time off in 2010 to concentrate more on his broadcasting career (the Exeter Uni graduate presented BBC Switch’s 5:19 Show and is now a Sunday night fixture on Radio 1), he will be back this summer for a second Fringe hour.
Looking back, he has mixed emotions on his status as an award-winner. ‘I was able to get plenty of ten-minute slots and it got me two grand, which has gone now, but it definitely gave me a springboard. You know it was sponsored by Revels but I didn’t get any. Not even a single bag. And I haven’t bought a packet since: send me what I’m owed or forget it. Only in the cinema, if someone goes “d’you want a Revel?” will I have one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on a rant here, but maybe it’s time they at least came up with a new flavour.’
Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 9 Feb