Interview: Andrew Maxwell

If you look up Comedian’s Comedian in a decent dictionary you will probably see a picture of Andrew Maxwell. The Irish stand-up is one of the finest performers. Quite why he is not a much bigger star is one of life’s great mysteries. Over the years this London-based clown-for-hire has delivered top quality personal shows, top quality political shows, he has compered gigs, MC’d competitions… basically, just stick Maxwell on the stage and you know the audience is going to have a grand old time. He comes to Sheffield off the back of another successful Edinburgh Fringe with his latest show Yo Contraire!, in which he combines his ear for a deliciously funny phrase with insights into the current state of the planet. Never dull, always funny, just get off your collective arses and go and see him at the Leadmill Comedy Festival on the 8th June.

What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies, check for spinach between teeth and check your knickers aren’t sticking out of your skirt)?
I always have one last tinkle then, just as my name is called, have a chuckle to myself about the daftness of it all.

And what irritates you?
I loathe littering. If you’d ruin a hedge with your poxy Coke can, what would you be capable of if the shit really went down?

Good point. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
I’ve been in all sorts of scrapes through the years, but giving your heart to another is the most dangerous thing a man can do. Be brave.

How has the comedy game changed since you first got involved?
The game has just got bigger and bigger. When I started performing comedy I didn’t imagine stand-up would ever become arena-sized all across of Europe. Stand-up is the most stupid thing I’ve actually ever done. No matter how big you get, the whole thing is stoopy.

What is the worse thing about stand-up?
The road is a lonesome place. Full of ennui for even the happiest of men.

We think you are very good at what you do – hence this interview. But what do you think of you?
I only admire a working man. So if, on a monthly basis, I’m providing for my loved ones with coin and care then I’ll enjoy myself.

And what do your loved ones think of your job?
Well my family are amused by me, and glad they’re not me.

How important is luck in terms of career success in comedy – have you had lucky breaks?
Fortune favours the brave; it’s not about the right time, it’s about being the right man when the time comes.

Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories – golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category?
Definitely the third, as golf is a form of self-harm.

Who is your favourite person ever and why? That’s not including family or friends or other comedians?
Don Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi, you’d have to read The Leopard to find out why though…

Catch Andrew Maxwell at The Leadmill on the 8th June as part of The Leadmill Comedy Festival. Tickets are available here.

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