Glasgow Comedy Festival - Fat Tongue
Denying the name Fat Tongue is an assault on a drooling celebrity chef, Sophie Black tells Brian Donaldson why loud laughter is good
Never mind creating characters, pulling off original set-ups and delivering a fine punchline, the toughest thing about being in a sketch show group must be finding a decent name. You can easily picture individuals sitting for hours in a smoke-filled room saying: ‘League of Gentlemen? No, that’s rubbish!’ Or ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Over my dead parrot’s body!’ When it came for Seb Cardinal, Sophie Black and Dustin Demri-Burns to have a sit-down about a moniker, they had a ready-made name in Fat Tongue. ‘We didn’t want to have a title that was one name followed by another one, like Jim and Ben or whatever, we were after something more arresting,’ recalls Sophie Black. ‘The name came from a sketch that Seb once wrote about a DJ who talked as though he had a fat tongue. It had nothing to do with Jamie Oliver as some people have thought it was. It also sounds a bit naughty.’
Naughty but nice could be one way of describing the success to date of the Fat Tongue trio. Having been schooled separately in London, they met at Edinburgh University where their shared love of stage and screen fuelled a desire to make it big in comedy. They earned an if.comeddie Best Newcomer nomination at the Fringe in 2006 and followed that up last August with a show of recurring sketches which sought to give more depth to characters such as ‘Billy Elliot’, a lusty alien, a guilty lion and a brash lawyer-doctor. Keen to prove the reviewer correct who declared that ‘television obviously beckons’, they appeared on BBC3’s Comedy Shuffle with the alien sketch.
Still, all this glory doesn’t mean that they haven’t felt the pain of the silent treatment from an audience. ‘I don’t think you should ever come off stage and say that was a really bad audience,’ reckons Black. ‘It doesn’t seem to make sense that the same people in a room were all in exactly the same mood at exactly the same time. But you do need a big laugher in there, because often you need people to feel comfortable about laughing themselves.’ Fat Tongue are definitely thriving in the comfort zone.
The Stand, Mon 10 Mar, 7.30pm, £6.