Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Gabriel Bisset-Smith: The Most Original And Funny Joke In The Universe

By | Published on Thursday 28 April 2016


As often happens with TW favourites, we first discovered Gabriel Bisset-Smith via the Edinburgh Festival, only it was initially through his double act, Guilt & Shame. And of course, we won’t stop loving him just because he’s in a solo show, not least because of the critical acclaim that’s been heaped on it.
To find out more about ‘Gabriel Bisset-Smith Tells The Most Original And Funny Joke In The Universe’, and about his career in general, I put some questions to him, ahead of his imminent dates at Soho Theatre.

CM: Tell us about the show. Does it have a theme? What sort of material can we expect?
GB-S: The show is about trying to stand out in the internet age. Before the internet, we could all feel fairly arrogant that we were the best at something, but now the world is so connected we suddenly realise that some ten-year-old kid on the other side of the world can do what we can do, only ten times better. Ignorance was bliss. It’s also about the comedy world and trying to create new jokes (you may have got this from the title). But I hope that it resonates on a few more levels too. There’s stuff about conformity, identity, Kanye West and a couple of cat videos sprinkled in for good measure.

CM: What made you give it that really long title?
GB-S: Well, first off, I liked the idea of setting up an insanely bold title. Secondly, it is what I do in the show. And thirdly, as my name is extremely long it was gonna be a pretty hefty title anyway so why not go for it?

CM: For strangers to your work, how would you describe your style of comedy?
GB-S: I like to think of it as dumb/clever. You think that they are just silly jokes randomly thrown together but as the show goes on you realise that they all connect. Like the movie ‘Usual Suspects’. In fact, that’s how I would describe myself. ‘The Usual Suspects’ of comedy.

CM: How different is your solo work from your work as part of double act Guilt & Shame?
GB-S: With Guilt & Shame we were exploring the subjects of sexuality and addiction a lot. As Rob is gay and I’m straight we often wanted to explore what it was like to be a modern man as well. My solo stuff kinda explores the idea of creating art and storytelling as these are more personal things to me. But obvs there’s a lot of crossover so, if you liked Guilt & Shame, I think you’ll like this (plus Rob makes a little guest appearance).

CM: You don’t just do comedy, though, do you? Can you tell us about your play and screen writing stuff?
GB-S: So at the mo I’m writing a couple of movies. All very different stuff. There’s an off the wall dance movie, a dark serial killer one, and sports one. I like to play around with genres and try and put a twist on them.

I’ve also co-written a play with some wonderful writers for Forward Theatre Projects which is going on in Derby in a couple of months. Definitely check it out if you’re in the area.

I have a web series called ‘Political Jobs’ which I’ve just started. You can check it out here.

CM: You said this: “I love challenging how we approach entertainment and also what audiences can get out of it”. Can you expand a bit? How do you approach performance, and what experience are you hoping for, for your audiences?
GB-S: Well, to begin with, there’s the title of my show. It sets up an expectation, and that instantly buys a bit of tension with the audience. What will the joke be? Then, as I said before, I like to take them on a journey with a few twists and turns. I don’t want to give too much away but I hope an audience come in thinking one thing and leave thinking another. I hope to subvert the idea of comedy, and of stand up in particular.

CM: This show was on at last year’s Fringe, wasn’t it? Will it be retired now? What plans do you have for the future, near or far?
GB-S: Yes, this will probably be the last time I do this show. I’ve already begun work on my next one, which I’ll be previewing at Latitude Festival. I’m taking a year off Edinburgh to hone the new show and focus a bit on my other projects. But for anyone up at the Fringe this year go and check out Rob’s (of Guilt & Shame) show ‘Simon Slack: The Fantasist’. Then, even if you liked it, tell him afterwards that you thought my show was better. Oh and also, Rob and I do a Guilt & Shame podcast, you can listen to here.

Gabriel Bisset-Smith performs at Soho Theatre from 29-30 Apr. See this page here for all the details.

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