Interview: comedian John Kearns offers Sight Gags for Perverts
A show that's part confessional, part character comedy, but all very, very funny
Sight Gags for Perverts is a very unusual show. John Kearns shambles on stage dressed in scruffy wig and false teeth before launching into a patience-testing song and rambling on about loneliness, failure and Berlin. ‘It's basically me,’ says Kearns in his own persona. ‘I think all stand-up is an exaggeration of the person performing it. This was a way of saying true things by pretending it was someone else saying them.’
The show is part confessional, part character comedy, but all very, very funny. ‘It’s strange how many people came up to me afterwards and said they could relate to it, but quite a lot of people my age are wandering around trying to get some sense of worth and identity. For me I went a weird way about it so a lot of the show was true, unfortunately,' he says with a wry chuckle. It also struck a chord with Edinburgh comedy judges and Kearns picked up the Best Newcomer award last August. ‘As Edinburgh went on, there was a sense of momentum and you just have to turn it up. I crashed when I came back, but when you're on that stage you have to give it both barrels.’
Kearns proves that sometimes the audience have to also put in the effort for the best laughs and parts of Sight Gags are purposefully uncomfortable and increasingly dark. ‘There's that pause where the audience are looking at me, thinking, “how's he going to get out of this?”. But in my head I know. As a performer I don't think there's any greater feeling than that. You can make something as uncomfortable as you want as long as you know where the fire exit is.’
Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow, Sun 16 Mar.