Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Garrett Millerick: The Devil’s Advocate

By | Published on Thursday 23 November 2017

Like so many of the stand-ups we love, we first found out about Garrett Millerick up at the Edinburgh Festival, where his shows have made true fans out of many members of our team. Don’t bother looking for a negative review on our site, because you will not find one.

He shortly begins a run of his latest show, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’, at London’s 2Northdown: so I thought it was about time we had a chat, to find out more about this show, yes, but also about his career thus far, and what we can expect from him in the future.

CM: Firstly, can you please tell us what ‘Devil’s Advocate’ is all about? What themes do you cover in the show?
GM: The discrepancy between what I thought being an adult would be like and what it’s actually like. I’m thirty four and I’ve never felt more like a child. I’m not sure if that’s just me or everyone else. Everyone seems pretty angry all the time, like they’ve just been told off like a kid, so I don’t think it is just me. Why are we all so miffed at the moment? A comedy show seemed as good a way as any to explore that. The show seems to strike a chord with people and we can all collectively have some fun and let off some steam for an hour. Don’t come looking for answers, it’s a comedy show not a rally. I’m the band on the Titanic, not the guy you ask for directions to the lifeboats.

CM: Secondly, can you give people who’ve never seen you perform before an idea of what kind of performance to expect?
GM: I’ve been described as ‘full on’ or like a ‘caged lion’. I don’t really know about that but my new fit bit tells me that my resting heart rate goes from 68 to 115 and stays there for the duration of the show. Imagine Brian Blessed doing a ninety minute Dave Allen routine but he has to get through it in an hour. A heavy metal version of ‘Jackanory’. You’ll get your money’s worth.

CM: “I have become what I once feared most, I have become Jeremy Clarkson,” runs the blurb of your show. What is your problem with Jeremy Clarkson?
GM: The show loosely follows the structure of ‘Apocalypse Now’. Clarkson is sort of my Kurtz on my journey through the suburbs of England. I don’t have a problem with Jeremy Clarkson. The show doesn’t pass judgement on Clarkson. It’s about me understanding why people love him and why others hate him. I don’t think comedy is at it’s best when it’s passing judgement. It doesn’t really matter what side of the fence you sit on with Clarkson, you’ll find something to laugh at.

CM: This show went down well in Edinburgh in 2017 didn’t it? Have you made any changes to it in the intervening weeks?
GM: Yeah, the show was really good fun in Edinburgh. It was the first year I had people who had seen me before coming back to see me, and I had people come and see the show and then come back to see it again with friends. That was nice. I had a routine about having an apple watch but I took the watch back because it kept crashing. I replaced it with a fit-bit. So that’s been a tricky re-write.

CM: Can we talk a bit about the past, now? How did you end up performing comedy? Was this what you were always planning to do?
GM: No. I wanted to be David Lean, but sadly the position had already been filled.

CM: Who or what inspired you to take up this career?
GM: Lots of people and things. The inciting incident for doing stand up comedy was reading Stewart Lee’s book. I had just broken up with my fiancée and everything I had been working on collapsed at the same time. So I didn’t have much going for me.

I was attempting to be a film-maker. The tricky thing with film is that you have to mobilise a large number of resources to make one, after years spent trying to do that I was quite removed from any notion of an audience.

There was a piece in the book where Lee discussed his frustrations with directing and the appeal of stand up. He said something like (I’d look this up but I haven’t got time as I’m just out the door to do a gig) with stand up it’s just you and a microphone and the possibilities are infinite. And it occurred to me that giving that a bash might at the very least remind me of the what the relationship with an audience should be.

He was right and I came to enjoy writing and performing stand up a lot more than writing proposals and funding applications.

CM: So you write and direct as well as doing stand up. Can you tell us a bit about that other stuff?
GM: I’ve got a sitcom I’m working on called ‘Do Gooders’, I’m fairly occupied writing and researching that. It’s about mid-level charity workers trying to save the world, and the trials and tribulations they come up against. My wife and some good friends work in the charity sector, and it’s a really interesting and funny world. Hat Trick are producing it and we’ve just made a pilot with Jack Dee and Meera Syal that will be coming out shortly.

I’m working on a play that I’ll hopefully do next year too. I enjoy working on different things. At the end of the day it’s just a different set of tools for achieving the same thing.

CM: Which of these elements of your work do you like best?
GM: I really enjoy live comedy. Doing solo shows is great but when you’re on a really good bill, it’s like a team sport, everyone has their part to play and all the stars align and you’re part of a brilliant collective experience.

CM: Is there anything else you’d like to do that you haven’t yet done? Any grand ambitions for the future?
GM: I’d like to make a comedy feature film. That’s definitely on the bucket list.

CM: What’s coming up next for you?
GM: I’ve got to finish decorating the living room.

Garrett Millerick performs ‘The Devil’s Advocate at 2Northdown from 28 Nov-3 Dec. See this link here to select a date and book a ticket.

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Photo: Mark Dawson