Interview: Robin Morgan

robin morgan interview

Robin Morgan’s clearly a multi-talented comedian as he not only performs stand up but has written for The Mash Report and Have I Got News For You, also writes sitcoms, and is a warm up artist for shows like Celebability, Blind Date and The Graham Norton Show. I’ve yet to see him live but plan to remedy that very soon as the clips on Youtube show just how fantastically funny he is, and he’s received a lot of praise elsewhere with The Sunday Times giving him a four star review, while Broadway Baby said he’s “A phenomenal comic – utterly hilarious” and Three Weeks called him “Wonderfully cheeky and engaging”. Here he talks about his new show What A Man, What A Man, What A Man, What A Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now), what it’s like writing for The Mash Report, The News Quiz and The Now Show, the sitcoms he’s written, and the time Tom Hanks was responsible for changing his working hours.

Comedy To Watch: How would you describe yourself to someone who wasn’t previously aware of your good self?

Robin: I am a male comedian from Cardiff who is a cheeky chappy on stage AND OFF IT.

CTW: What can you tell us about your new show What A Man, What A Man, What A Man, What A Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now)?

Robin: It’s a love letter to my Dad and my son. And it’s exploring what makes a good male role model. It’s got a very long title and can only apologise you’ve had to type it out to ask that question (assuming you didn’t copy and paste it, which is also fine).

CTW: You’re back at Edinburgh this year, what’s your favourite thing about the festival?

Robin: The ability to take a punt on something. It’s exciting. You’ll see so many shows, good and bad. People will ask you: “have you seen anything good?” and you’ll say “yeah”. And then they’ll ask “have you seen something rubbish?” and you’ll be like “YEAH!” and proceed to talk about that all festival. What a dream.

CTW: And are there any aspects you don’t like?

Robin: It’s expensive, for audiences and performers alike. But everyone’s in the same boat (unless you’re rich and you own a boat, then you’re in a different boat). But it’s better not to focus on the money side of it. I’m on the Laughing Horse Free Festival which helps.

CTW: You’ve written for The Mash Report and Have I Got News For You, can you tell us a little about how the shows are written and put together?

Robin: I’ve written on Mash more, so let’s go for that one: I write with Rachel Parris on a topic that she and the producers have chatted about, together we work out an angle and opinion of what she’s going to say, gag it up, then a bunch of other talented people make additions and edits and it’s recorded the next day. There are so many moving parts to that show – it’s genuinely been a career highlight to be involved. It’s a huge team effort.

CTW: And is the process any different when it comes to radio comedy like The News Quiz and The Now Show?

Robin: It is – but even those shows are different to each other, when it comes to writing. I think every show has its own unique way of working. News Quiz is a couple of days with a team of people that changes every week, and you’re just writing for the chair’s script (miss you Miles!) and the Now Show – there’s a similarly sized team, but you’re writing sketches, monologues, lots of stuff. I love them both.

CTW: You also wrote and starred in the BBC Radio Wales sitcom Relocation, as well as Home, a second sitcom pilot for the station, can you tell us about them? And do you have further plans when it comes to sitcoms?

Robin: I did! Home was loosely based on my grandmother, set in a care home in Cardiff. We did one pilot of that.

Relocation is about a London couple who get placed into witness protection in the Welsh valleys. We’ve done a four-episode series and fingers crossed it’s coming back for a second. The cast is brilliant, we’ve got Steve Speirs, Helen Monks and many other talented folk.

I’ve got a few sitcoms in various stages of development, so would definitely love to do more of that in the future.

CTW: And you’re also the warm up comedian for The Graham Norton Show, what’s it like doing that? How does it compare to normal stand up gigs? And do you have a favourite moment from your time doing it?

Robin: That’s a dream job. It’s so much fun. Your job is to get the audience excited. And they’re already excited – they’re at the Graham Norton Show, they’re going to be metres away from Will Smith. The team working on that show are amazing. It’s consistently brilliant, the guests are always amazing, Graham is an incredible to watch.

It’s different from a normal gig because they’re not there to see you. Just chat to the audience – it’s a chat show so I try and do more chat than jokes. But it’s always great.
Favourite moment, not sure. You normally do 10 minutes up top then introduce Graham. First time I did it, I had to do 30. Came off and was told: “Sorry about that, Tom Hanks was running a bit late.” That’s quite a good excuse to hear. Actual Tom Hanks, changing my working hours.

CTW: What’s been the highlight of your career?

Robin: It changes so often. Having my name read out on Radio 4 for the first time was really cool. As is doing warm-up for Norton. Relocation getting a series commission was great. I think writing on Mash is definitely up there – I was such a fan of the show before I wrote on it, and working with Rachel is a dream, and the audience reach of her clips is so massive, and the stuff she talks about is so important – it’s hard not to regard that as a highlight.

CTW: If money were no object, what would you like to create?

Robin: A film based on a children’s book I wrote which can span into a theme park so I can finally live my life like I’m playing Rollercoaster Tycoon.

CTW: What one piece of underrated comedy do you wish more people knew about?

Robin: It’s absolutely not underrated, but Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was what I told everyone about when I was a teenager. I stumbled across it late on a Thursday night and couldn’t really describe it to anyone in school the next day. I’m sure everyone’s seen it, but if you haven’t, oh boy.

CTW: And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?

Robin: I would ask: “And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?” And the answer would be: “And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?” [repeat then fade to black]

Alex Finch. Photograph (c) Matt Stronge.
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Related Links:
You can buy tickets for Robin’s Edinburgh show here.
Robin’s Official Site, where you can find info on his Edinburgh previews.
You can see Robin do 10 minutes at The Comedy Store here.
Robin on Twitter.

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