Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Larry Dean: Out Now!

By | Published on Thursday 7 January 2016


Up and coming comedian Larry Dean heads to Soho Theatre next week with the show that garnered him a Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer nomination last summer, and I strongly advise you to see it if you can. I don’t like using the phrase “one to watch”, because it’s such a cliché, but I do believe Dean is headed for big things.
That being the case, I very much wanted to find out more about him before he gets too busy and important to find time to answer my questions. I made sure to do it ahead of his upcoming live dates.

CM: Tell us about the show. Does it have specific themes? What sort of stuff do you talk about?
LD: It’s about me coming out as gay (or as I prefer to call it, as “a Bender”) to my Glaswegian catholic family, and the audience at my first ever gig… who weren’t quite as supportive as I would have liked. But there are other stories in there as well, mainly about bullying, stereotyping, and my brother’s wedding. And also, of course, the independence referendum… difficult to be a Scottish comedian and not mention that!

CM: Did you sit down and write this show? Or did you stick together bits of previously road-tested material…? How do you go about putting together your material generally?
LD: I don’t really sit down and write material, I find it doesn’t work for me as it bores me, and no doubt would result in something that would bore the audience. So I usually just have basic notes and use them as a base to work stuff out when I’m on stage until I can remember it off by heart. The show is a mixture of things I had already done before, and stories I loved telling people, but weren’t suitable for sets in rowdy comedy clubs.

CM: You won Scottish Comedian Of The Year Award in 2013, and gained a nomination for the Edinburgh Comedy Award newcomer prize in 2015. Do you think these honours have had a tangible impact on the progression of your career? How did they make you feel?
LD: Both have been great for putting next to my name on my CV and have helped me get opportunities that I may not have got without them, but it’s difficult to tell, there are so many great acts who don’t get awards or nominations and go on to become huge successes.

The one thing they have been awesome for is my confidence, as that’s something I’ve really struggled with in the past. The Foster’s nomination was something really special though. It was always a thought I had since I started, that if I got nominated for the award at the Fringe and had to for some reason stop doing stand-up one day, I could leave happy knowing I wasn’t completely shit.

CM: The show you are performing at Soho Theatre was your debut hour at the Fringe, and the one that got you the aforementioned Comedy Award nomination. Have you changed or developed it at all, since the summer?
LD: Aye, I have actually. It changed pretty much every day of the Fringe as I was adding jokes or moving material around, which helped keep it fresh. I’ve had a few daydreamed thoughts of “can’t believe I didn’t do it that way” since the Fringe though, so it should be a wee bit fresher for the Soho Theatre.

CM: What attracted you to a comedy career? Did you always want to be a performer?
LD: I used to watch a lot of Billy Connolly as a kid, and I always liked being the funny one in school and in my house. I was always very attention seeking growing up: when I was 8 and on holiday in Tenerife, I grabbed a microphone (and a wig!) and did an Elvis song in front of a restaurant full of people. I still haven’t forgiven my parents for not preventing me from doing that, and for packing my Elvis wig.

CM: What first steps did you take in starting work as a stand up?
LD: Bizarrely, I did a degree in comedy writing and performance at Solent Uni. It’s not running any more (shows how good it was eh?), but it mainly comprised coursework on Shakespeare, media and acting.

There was a bit on stand up, but barely anything. So midway through the second year of the course I started Facebook stalking open mic nights and trying to get any stage time I possibly could, no matter where it was in the UK. So much so, I had to give up drinking to save enough money to pay for all the travel I was doing. The last year and a half of my Uni was definitely a lot less enjoyable without the alcohol, probably why I passed though… just.

CM: Where do you see yourself headed, career-wise? Is it stand-up and live performance that you are interested in, or can you see yourself doing other related work?
LD: I think I will always want to do stand up, but I’ve acted in some short story clips recently and I found that really fun, so would love to do more acting. Also, I’m a big fan of panel shows so would always be up for doing that… or a chat show. To be honest, I would probably do an Elvis impression again if I thought it would get me more attention.

CM: What’s coming up in your immediate future? Are you working on any new stuff?
LD: Aye, I’m working on my next stand up show at the moment. Really enjoying doing new material nights every week and trying to create a show completely from scratch. I’ve got preview shows in the Brighton, Leicester and Glasgow Festivals this year which will be me (hopefully) piecing it all together.

Larry Dean performs ‘Out Now!’ at Soho Theatre from 12-16 Jan. See the venue website here for more information and to book tickets.

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Photo: Steve Ullathorne