Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Ali Brice: I Tried To Be Funny, But You Weren’t Looking

By | Published on Friday 23 June 2023

It’s always lovely to see shows that got a great reception in Edinburgh headed to London venues, and this week it’s the turn of the excellent Ali Brice, who brings his 2022 Fringe success ‘I Tried To Be Funny, But You Weren’t Looking’ to Soho Theatre shortly. 

It’s a comedy performance, but one with serious and personal themes, and I was really interested to know – among other things – what made Ali want to create a stand-up show on this subject. 

I spoke to him to find out more. 

CM: Can you start by telling us about ‘I Tried To Be Funny, But You Weren’t Looking’? What is the show about? 
AB: It’s about my journey with therapy. Why I went and how it helped. It’s a serious show, with a very silly heart. Just like me.

CM: What made you decide to create a set about this? Why did you think it would work? 
AB: When I started therapy, I didn’t tell anyone. I felt shame and felt like a failure. But then therapy started working and I realised how brilliant it was. It completely changed my outlook on life. The shame completely vanished.

I set out to write a show for a younger version of me. Had that Ali seen this show, I’d like to think he would have felt empowered to make some different decisions. I believe I have succeeded.

Quite a few people have come up to me after the show to share their experiences, to thank me for sharing mine and to say they have felt the same way. One person told me they started therapy because of my show. That’s enough for me.

CM: What’s it like talking about such personal stuff in public? 
AB: Initially it was very daunting. I worried I was exploiting myself and people would see it as insincere.

However, once I started telling the story – and telling it honestly – and figured out how to make it funny, it became easier. Useful, even.

I found getting it out there allowed me to really explore how I felt about it. They say comedy is like therapy sometimes. This show has absolutely been that for me. In a good way!

CM: How would you describe your performance style? 
AB: Silly, heartfelt and sincere. Also, slightly unhinged.

CM: You’ve already taken this show to Edinburgh. How did that go from your perspective? 
AB: I had the best Edinburgh ever. Packed houses every day. Good reviews. I didn’t lose any money. I got nominated for Best Show in the Comedians’ Choice Award. I had a great time.

My ultimate goal for last Edinburgh was for the show to transfer to the Soho Theatre. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time. And I’m happy to say that is happening. A dream come true. So, it really was the best Edinburgh ever.

CM: What future plans do you have for this show? 
AB: I am performing it in Estonia in December and then I think it might be put to bed. Time to move one and start the next show!

I have never performed a show for so long or in so many places. It’s been great. I worked really, really hard on it. The hardest I’ve ever worked on a show, and it paid off. Got to work harder on the next one and work out what the next goal is! Onwards!

CM: Can we go back a bit, now, and talk about how you got into this business? What made you want to work in comedy? 
AB: I was never into music, or sports, or anything like that. Then one day my Dad was watching ‘Harry Enfield And Chums’ and I was transfixed. I loved watching someone make people laugh.

Then I discovered stand-up comedy and was absolutely hooked. I was fascinated. I couldn’t get enough of it. Then I started making people laugh at school and, well, the rest is history. I was always going to do it at some point. And I love it to this day. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.

CM: What have been the highlights of your career thus far? 
AB: Gigging with heroes. I’ve been on the bill with Harry Hill, who was my first proper stand-up hero. Through comedy I have got into acting which has taken me all over the world.

This will sound trite, but it’s true. The biggest highlight is being part of the Weirdos Comedy Collective, which is a group of like-minded funny idiots that get together every so often – when summoned by Chief Weirdo Alan Larter – and put on ridiculous pantomimes.

Comedy is often quite competitive, but that group are so supportive. It’s wonderful.

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future?
AB: I would like to take my next show on a small tour of the UK. And also, be the next man on the moon.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
AB: I’m going to do Soho and then have a rest. A nice holiday with my girlfriend. We’re going to get a dog. I look forward to that.

Ali Brice performs ‘I Tried To Be Funny, But You Weren’t Looking’ at Soho Theatre on 3 and 4 Jul at Soho Theatre. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.

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