Caro Meets Comedy Interview

William Andrews: Willy

By | Published on Friday 5 April 2019

It’s quite a while since we last saw William Andrews perform comedy up at the Edinburgh Festival (though we’ve noticed him on telly, and that video about child-in-nettles that was a bit viral), and were really pleased to see him return this summer with ‘Willy’.

This Week he performs that show to London audiences at the Soho Theatre. To find out more about it, and why he’s been away so song, I arranged a quick chat.

CM: Let’s start with the show: what is ‘Willy’ all about?
WA: It’s a self portrait but that seems unhelpfully non specific. On the face of it, it’s jokes about a man and his kid and his dog, but it’s really about how we see meaning in strange places. The dog and the kid stuff is just my way of sneaking my highfalutin ideas past the guard.

CM: What made you want to base a show on these subjects?
WA: When I write, it kind of comes out of the fog asking to be put down on paper, so it’s a compulsion to some extent. My friend described it more like watching a dog walk round around its bed until it finally decides to settle. She also said it’s like driving behind a removal lorry and it shedding its load on the motorway. I prefer her descriptions to mine.

CM: How much of what you talk about in the show is based on real life stuff?
WA: It’s all real, even the fake stuff.

CM: You took the show to Edinburgh last summer, how did that run go?
WA: It was intense, and very different. This time I had my kid with me – which I can recommend actually. I’m not offering you take my son to the fringe, (he’d like it, but I’d miss him, and my wife would be cross) . But if you have kids, take them. It’s a leveller.

CM: Prior to that Fringe run, I think it might be almost a decade since we last saw you do stand up..? Why has it been so long?
WA: To be frank stand-up is brutal – not by design, (it doesn’t mean to be) it just is. It can be thankless and grinding with peaks of sheer joy. I loved the good bits but wanted to do more acting so focused on that.

CM: If you were asked to make a choice between acting and stand up, what would win? Or is that too difficult?
WA: I couldn’t choose really, because it varies so much, suffice it to say when stand-up goes well it’s like flying. (Like flying an on-fire helicopter made of sour milk and shame)*

*not really**


CM: How did you end up in this career? Did you always want to be a performer?
WA: No – I’m an introvert, but like a lot of introverts, stage time is a codified version of being social. It’s a context that give you control. Sounds weird but it’s true for a lot of acts. Brave on stage, wall-flowers at a wedding

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future? Will there be another big gap before your next stand up show..?
WA: Who knows. I’m tentatively going back to club work – which is a different proposition to one-hour shows. I’m writing and working with new talent again which makes me super happy – that’s where I started – developing ideas for screen. My big hope is to help propel a new act into the limelight; I will be the old man waving gormlessly in the background.

William Andrews performs ‘Willy’ at Soho Theatre from 10-13 Apr. See this page here for more detail and to book.