Alex Horne on high-concept comedy
The comedian talks about his latest show, Seven Years in the Bathroom
With the world of comedy getting ever bigger and broader, the ambition of its exponents is rarely just confined to telling some jokes into a mic while perched on a small stage. Alex Horne has always been a comic who stepped out of the classic format with high-concept shows about Latin (When in Rome), ornithology (Birdwatching) or gambling (Odds), while he has also put a number of his stage ideas into print, bashed around jokes and jazz with the Horne Section and indulged in games-based mayhem with the likes of We Need Answers and Taskmaster.
But of all those comedy-based shenanigans, which gives him most pleasure these days? ‘That’s like asking which of my kids I prefer,’ he says. ‘And I’m OK with that, it’s only natural to have a favourite. For me, it’s the Horne Section. It’s more fun than anything else I’ve ever done including swingball. I get to show off my talented friends (I hate praising them but they really are very good at making noises with their trumpets), I’m allowed to sing (I really can’t sing) and they let me tell three of my best jokes per show.’
In his current touring show, Seven Years in the Bathroom, Horne calculates just how much of our lives we spend on activities such as housework, bathing and eating. Given this show might be as far as you could possibly get from attending an hour with Jerry Sadowitz or Frankie Boyle, could this mean we’re living through the most diverse era yet for stand-up comedy? ‘People currently seem to like going to stand-up nights and don’t mind taking a punt on someone proposing a jazz-comedy hybrid or a show all about Latin. As for jokes running out, I’ve heard there are only a few hundred left. But they should keep us going for a generation or two and after that, well, it’s not really our problem, is it?’
The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 22 May; The Stand, Glasgow, Wed 23 May.