Stuart Goldsmith's top ten moments from his Comedian's Comedian podcast
Josie Long, Shappi Khorsandi and Bill Burr are among his favourite interviewees
Not only is Stuart Goldsmith a highly accomplished stand-up, he's a damn fine interviewer. His Comedian's Comedian podcast is a must-hear for anyone interested in the nitty-gritty of stand-up as an artform. Here, he picks ten of his favourite moments from those recordings.
Tony Law (episode 186)
Since Tony Law's first appearance on the podcast, he has confronted his alcohol and drug dependency and started to rebuild himself. Listening to one of comedy's wildest, most surreal artists manage to turn his life around in the face of a career which rewarded him for his excesses is truly electrifying. You can probably hear me punching the air throughout the recording.
Josie Long (episode 92)
'No one ever says, "guess who I invited on the expedition? This bitter, shrivelled-up old husk".' Josie is like a Japanese anime house-spirit of sparkling positivity.
John Robins (episode 181)
John said, 'I always see myself as having been bullied at school, but my worst fear is that there are people thinking, "no, you were a dick to me actually".' I find his honesty and willingness to put his ego on the line incredibly exciting. I also think there are probably very many comedians who could make the same point but wouldn't dream of doing so.
Russell Howard (episode 170)
Describing the moment he walks offstage after a show at Wembley Arena, Russell checks that everything was OK rather than celebrating. For someone whose comic persona is absolutely welded to optimism and happiness, his answer to the question, 'are you happy?' was a frank 'no'.
Gary Delaney (episode 67)
Gary got his teeth into how hard work is more important than talent, and said that he'd started with so many other people more talented than him who'd fallen by the wayside. He went on to describe his writing process in such depth it was like an exploded diagram: at the live recording you could hear the audience all scrabbling for their own notebooks.
Mike Gunn (episode 21)
I won't spoil Mike's 'photocopier' anecdote by revealing the ending but it's my favourite true story from all the interviews, and involves an ex-junkie weeping in a children's classroom.
Shappi Khorsandi (episode 171)
Shappi was amazingly candid about her struggles with an eating disorder and how stand-up was her 'second chance at the playground', but my favourite moment is when she talks about the snobbery which critics and comics have about the club circuit.
Sara Pascoe (episode 11)
Sara talked about how if you examine anything closely enough you can find the funny. She also relates some advice from Tim Key about there coming a point where over half your audience are there specifically to see you. I'm pleased to be undergoing that moment right now, so it's especially exciting.
Bill Burr (episode 176)
I really enjoyed an invigorating argument that Bill and I had about the nature of 'male privilege'. A clip from that episode has gone viral in certain online misogyny-based communities, but they clipped out the bit where Bill called them all 'cringeworthy'. I was trying to make the point that 'privilege' in the context of 'social privilege' doesn't mean having an easy life, it just means not being subject to certain systematic oppressions as well. His recent Conan appearance suggests he's coming round, but I'm sure it's nothing to do with me.
Ronny Chieng (episode 151)
Ronny is now a Daily Show correspondent and sells out 1000-seater festival venues, but despite his huge talent and onstage fury he's amazingly humble. He said he wanted his 'comedy gravestone' to read, 'he tried his best; he did OK; he did well more times than he sucked and that's more than what most of us can ask for.'
Stuart Goldsmith: Compared to What, The Stand, Glasgow, Mon 13 Mar; see comedianscomedian.com for all 194 podcasts to date.