Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Abi Tedder, Harry Michell and Joe Barnes: Minor Delays

By | Published on Wednesday 2 March 2016


Sketch comedy up-and-comers Minor Delays head to Soho Theatre this week with the show that won them a large handful of four and five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer. The multi-talented trio, who do loads of other things as well (acting, directing, writing, film making), were also finalists in 2015s London Sketchfest competition.
I really wanted to find out more about this clever and accomplished bunch, so I spoke to Abi Tedder, Harry Michell and Joe Barnes, ahead of their upcoming performances.

CM: Tell us about the show you are performing at Soho Theatre in March. Does it have a specific theme or is it an unconnected series of sketches…?
MD: We’re performing the show we first did last summer – but with some new sketches thrown into the mix too. A lot of our show looks at those awkward moments that define our day to day life.

CM: So it is the same show you did in Edinburgh in 2015? That got lots of good reviews, didn’t it?
MD: That’s the one! We were absolutely blown away by the nice things people said about the show. It was the culmination of two years worth of work so it’s an odd feeling now it’s finally coming to an end.

CM: How would you explain your style of comedy to the uninitiated?
MD: It’s fast, understated and stripped back. We sit on three chairs and face the audience for the whole show; not a prop or a costume change in sight!

CM: What inspires your comedy? Would you cite any particular influences?
MD: We love people like Caroline Aherne, Armando Iannucci, Human Remains, Paul Whitehouse and League of Gentlemen. A lot of our material is inspired by playwrights like Pinter or Mamet. They all have a keen sense of the mundane, depressing and amusing cocktail that we aim for.

CM: What brought you three together as a troupe? How did you meet? Do you all get on really well all of the time?
MD: We’d all moved in similar circles for some time but Harry and Abi met at University and then both met Joe at the Fringe. We do all get on and have even been on holiday together. Back in summer 2014 we went to Somerset and Abi nearly died from hay-fever. We have never been on holiday together since.

CM: What made you all become performers?
MD: We’ve all been interested in the world of comedy and acting from a young age. For Joe it was growing up watching ‘Blackadder’ and ‘Dad’s Army’ on repeat, Abi grew up listening to Tom Lehrer on repeat and obsessing over Julie Walters. Harry didn’t really want to do it but was literally no good at anything else.

CM: What do you each do when you are not appearing as Minor Delays?
MD: Joe occasionally acts in things and is in a double act called Goodbear, Harry just directed his first feature film, ‘Chubby Funny’, which comes out this year. Abi acts too, and also, sensibly, has a proper job running a nightclub at the LSE.

CM: Can you tell us one really interesting fact or anecdote about each of you?
MD: Joe used to work as a story-teller for the Roald Dahl Museum. Form an orderly queue, ladies. Abi’s party trick is imitating a creepy baby’s laugh – it’s uncanny. She can play the clarinet – the coolest instrument of them all. Harry’s just discovered egg as a viable foodstuff.

CM: Where do you see yourselves ten years down the line?
MD: We’ll either all be living the dream, working as actors/comedians/writers/directors or will be three very jaded/cynical/bitter people wondering where the hell did it all go wrong…

CM: What’s coming up next?
MD: We’ve got Brighton Fringe coming up in May and then are taking some time off. But don’t worry, we shall be back!

Minor Delays are on at Soho Theatre from 7-9 Mar, see the venue website here for more info and to book your tickets.