Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Max and Ivan: The End

By | Published on Thursday 5 May 2016


You Londoners are a very lucky bunch because this month and next in our fair capital city, the very funny and talented duo Max and Ivan perform their latest critically acclaimed show ‘The End’.
As per their typical output, it’s a multi-character play with a big theme – the comical depiction of a small town and its eccentric characters, all on the brink of extinction. I asked some questions, about the show, and other stuff, ahead of their imminent dates.

CM: Tell us about ‘The End’ – what’s the premise of the show?
M&I: It’s a multi-character, apocalyptic sketchtravaganza (word we just made up incorporating both ‘sketch-comedy’ and ‘extravaganza’). We play every single inhabitant of a doomed town. How? Come see…

CM: How many characters do you each play?
M&I: We each play six billion characters*, using no props or costume – just our EXTRAORDINARY ACTING POWERZ.

CM: What made you choose this particular, apocalyptic theme?
M&I: The notion of creating an entire town came first – the challenge seemed exciting. Then we thought we’d destroy it, too, just to make the show even more agonisingly difficult to create. Well worth it, though…

CM: What would you call your type of performance? Is it comedy theatre, or are you doing an extended sketch? Do you regard yourselves as actors or comedians?
M&I: A very, very good question. We think we’re probably character comedians, if such a category exists, except we play multiple characters, so I suppose we’re multi-character comedians (such a category clearly doesn’t exist). We’ve also been known to use the functional but hugely non-catchy term ‘narrative-sketch-comedy’. Pfffft, who knows. We’re comic actors, right? And writers, obviously. Oh, I give up.

CM: How did you two meet? What made you want to work together?
M&I: We met at good ol’ university, graduating seconds after the recession annihilated the UK’s entire ‘Arts’ sector in one fell swoop. Despite this, and the horror of our parents, we decided to become professional comedians anyway.

CM: What made you want to be performers in the first place?
M&I: What’s not to love about the precarious high-wire emotional, logistical, and financial balancing act that is the life of a performer? Showbiz, baby!

CM: What difference did the Comedy Award nomination and panel prize make to your careers?
M&I: It meant the wreaths on our show posters no longer had to reference Ivan’s ten metre swimming certificate and Max’s Rotary Club Public Speaking Prize (a good thing, as Ivan’s swimming certificate is a crude forgery).

CM: You do a Radio 4 show. Can you tell us a bit about that?
M&I: Sure can! ‘The Casebook of Max & Ivan’ is our Radio 4 sitcom that details our prior careers as private detectives (sure). Every episode covers a different case (and features a sweeeeet guest star) and it’s coming BACK at the end of the year for a Halloween special. Watch (listen) this (to your) space (radio, at Halloween)!

CM: What do you do when you are not working on comedy shows? Do you have other strings to your bows?
M&I: Just the usual. Pro-wrestling for Max, immersive game-design for Ivan. #noactuallifeskills

CM: What’s next for you both, separately or together?
M&I: Separately, I reckon. Oh, right, I see what you mean – we will simply continue to blossom, push the boundaries of narrative-sketch-theatrocomic-actoring, and produce shows of ever-increasing quality that simply deliver 60 minutes of brilliant fun and profoundly change the world.

*Rounding up

Max and Ivan perform ‘The End’ at ArtsDepot on 7 May, and then at Soho Theatre from 20-25 June. Click this link here for the ArtsDepot page and this one here for the Soho Theatre page.

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Photo: Dan Burn