Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Dan Clark: Bringing ‘Clark’s’ back to the capital

By | Published on Tuesday 25 June 2013


London-based comedy aficionados may remember, and indeed miss, Dan Clark’s legendarily good comedy night ‘Clark’s’, which ceased to be a regular feature of the capital’s comedy scene back in 2010.

Well, the great news is that ‘Clark’s’ is back; the downside is that it’s for three nights only. We spoke to the man himself, about why it’s back, why it can’t last forever, and lots of other stuff besides.

CM: It’s been three years since ‘Clark’s’ stopped happening on a regular basis. Why did you stop doing it? Were you just too busy?
DC: The whole thing with ‘Clark’s’, and part of the reason I think it was successful at the time, was that I never put on acts I didn’t like. In fact, I didn’t even put on acts I quite liked. They had to be people I genuinely loved. Or at least thought were doing something interesting. I got to a point where I had run out of acts I felt that way about. The line-ups were starting to repeat themselves. Also, I hated the booking the acts. It felt like I was running a comedy club. Chasing people and agents. So boring. But I couldn’t let someone else do that as the whole thing with ‘Clark’s’ was it was hosted AND curated by ME. It felt personal. And the audience knew it.

CM: It’s back for three nights only – but why now? And are there any plans to revive it in the future?
DC: It was my agent’s idea. I had no plans for live shows or tours this year. He suggested I bring back ‘Clark’s’. Since I did it last (April 2010) there’s a whole wave of new comedians to choose from. It was actually a bit of a task catching up with what’s around.

CM: Can you tell us some of the acts you have lined up? How do you go about choosing them?
DC: As I mentioned before, I only choose people I like. If I’m not into what they do, then as the host it feels like a lie when I introduce them. I’m not a compère; I don’t MC any other comedy nights. With ‘Clark’s’, it’s about me doing my stuff and then saying to my audience “hey, check this act out, I think they’re great!”. At the moment I can confirm the following acts: Ginger & Black, Oyster Eyes, Maeve Higgins, Daniel Simonsen, David Armand, Brett Goldstein and Nick Helm. I have a couple of TV names who will remain surprise guests, and more to confirm. They’re all fantastic.

CM: You’ve graced our TV screens a lot in the last few years. How does telly work compare to live performance?
DC: The short and simply answer is: I love the buzz of stage performance but I prefer the craft, and the lifestyle, of making television. Touring and gigging at night can drive you crazy.

CM: ‘How Not To Live Your Life’ developed a cult following. Did it end before you wanted it to, or had it reached a natural conclusion for you?
DC: Funnily enough, I had already started to think about bringing it to an end. When we finished series 3 I said to my producer “If we get a fourth series I think I might end it there”. He thought I was mad. But I just felt I was ready to move onto something new and different. But then the new BBC controller took over and cancelled loads of comedies, including ours.

It’s like when you’re in a relationship and you’ve been thinking of ending it, and then suddenly your girlfriend dumps YOU. Even though you were already thinking about ending it, it still hurts. Fortunately he gave us the Christmas special to wrap up loose ends to the stories. Having said that, they did zero publicity for it so nobody knew it was on. Which was a real shame because the show had really started to build momentum and by series 3 we were getting large viewing figures.

CM: Do you have any other TV projects in the pipeline?
DC: Tons, but you never know which one is going to make it to the screen. I wrote 4 pilots last year. Two in the US and two in the UK. But none got picked up. Some of them I get why they didn’t happen. Others I’m less understanding. It took “How Not To” a couple of years to get to TV. It’s just the way it goes. I’m also writing film at the moment, which I’m enjoying immensely.

CM: You went to Edinburgh for many years, but it’s been a while since you were there. Do you see yourself returning at any point?
DC: At the moment I can’t see myself doing a full run at the festival. I did it so many times I kind of fell out of love with it. And the Festival is amazing, nothing else like it in the world. But I grew to loathe it. I want to leave it a while so that when I return I remember what I loved about it so much. And believe me, I used to absolutely adore it when I first started going.

CM: You are about to release an album of comedy songs. How did this come about, and is it a one-off or the first of many?
DC: Yes, it’s out on July 1st. I’m incredibly proud of it. I’d always done the occasional comedy song in my stand-up and in my TV shows. It got to the point where I had something like 25 songs, some of which I’d never performed live. So I put together a proper band of brilliant musicians (none of which are comedians or actors). We did a short run of shows last spring. The feedback was so good we just had to record the songs. And it sounds fantastic. We’re a kind of punky, new wave, garage band with songs about Transvestites with Amnesia and Wheat and Dairy intolerance. It’s fun. I would like to do more. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll go electro next time.

Dan Clark brings ‘Clark’s’ to the Soho Theatre from 4 – 6 Jul. For info and tickets see the venue website here

LINKS: | |