Interview: Comedian Chris Ramsey's Offermation
The genial Geordie discusses offensiveness and award nominations
During Chris Ramsey’s stand-up appearance on Russell Howard’s Good News from 2010, there’s a moment when the camera cuts to a shot of happy, laughing people. In among them is one seemingly less than amused woman who appears to have taken offence at the phrase ‘dilapidated woman’. Context aside, it seems unlikely that Ramsey would ever go out of his way to offend anyone, given that he is yet another in a long line of ‘genial Geordie’ comics as inhabited by the likes of Ross Noble, Gavin Webster and Jason Cook.
‘If I can gauge that someone has been offended I will address it, though probably without apologising,’ Ramsey notes. ‘But as I’m seen as this happy-go-lucky comic with all my smiling and carrying-on and this accent, I can probably get away with anything. As long as you get the tone right and make sure it’s funny then it’s all fine. But I don’t think I’m the guy that people go up to angrily at the end of a gig.’
Certainly, in the last two Edinburgh Fringes, Ramsey has tended to have people streaming out of his gigs with a warm, fuzzy feeling. His touring show, Offermation, was also a hit with the Edinburgh Comedy Award judges and earned him a shortlist nomination. ‘Just before I went up, someone said to me that I might be in with a chance of a nomination and I thought “oh shut up, I don’t need that; that’s awful”. I didn’t really see myself as a critically-acclaimed comic who gets nominated for that award but now I can go away and work in an office for the rest of my life and no one can take that away from me. That box is ticked. I could present T4 forever and still be “Chris Ramsey, award-nominated stand-up comedian”.’
Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 3 Feb; University of St Andrews Students Association, Thu 23 Feb.