Interview: Archie Maddocks

archie maddocks interview
As heard on BBC Radio 4’s New Comedy Award and BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Comedy Club, Archie’s natural stage presence, quick wit and confident, cheerful, provocative stand-up comedy has made him one of the most in demand comics on the British and international comedy circuit. Now coming to Edinburgh with his fourth show, he’s not just a talented stand-up but also an emerging screenwriter and playwright with his work being produced at the Bush Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Orange Tree Theatre, Royal Court and the New Light Theatre (New York). Archie was also part of the 2017 BBC Writersroom and took part in Channel 4’s 2018 4Screenwriters programme and is the current BBC writer in residence for radio, and currently has a number of TV and film projects in development with well-respected production companies, so you’re clearly going to being hearing a lot lot more from him in the near future. Here he talks about his latest show, Big Dick Energy, what writing for the theatre allows him to do that stand up doesn’t, his thoughts and feelings about the Edinburgh festival, and how more than anything else in the world he wants an ultra high-speed monorail.

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

Archie: I try to talk about stupid things intelligently, and try to make big concepts sound a dumb as possible. I love a good story and have fun with the characterisations. I like a little bit of edge – a little bit of silliness. Ultimately, I’m funny so come watch, there will be something for everyone.

CTW: And what can you tell us about your Edinburgh show?

Archie: It’s basically existentialism by an idiot. I’m at that stage where I’m questioning my existence and reality and figured it would be a good thing to explore in a show.

CTW: What are your favourite things about the festival?

Archie: I love doing a show every day and getting it better just for when the festival ends, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of my day for the first half of September. I also love only having to think about one thing (the show) – it’s actually quite relaxing at this point since there’s so much going on in “life” at the moment for me.

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

Archie: I don’t like the pressure for what is called a ‘fringe festival’ – it should be a time to experiment and find something along the way rather than arrive with a ready-made show. I also wish people took it less seriously – it’s a fun time to be able to go up for the month and just do a show, and I wish that more people (myself included) remembered that.

CTW: When it comes to stand up, how do you feel you’ve evolved since your first ever gig?

Archie: I’m not afraid of silence anymore. Early on, I would chase the laughs because that’s what a comedian is supposed to make happen, laughter. Now, however, I have more confidence to unpack an idea or theme while people listen. I’ve learned that silence is great because it means that people are engaged. I also have a better sense of what it is I want to say and what is going to be funny, even if the audience disagree.

CTW: You’re also a playwright as well as a stand up, what does writing for the theatre allow you to do that comedy doesn’t?

Archie: It allows me to get out of myself. With stand up, I’m very aware that it’s me up there, that’s the package that people are seeing. Therefore, there are certain things that I can’t say or explore, because it makes no sense coming from myself. However, in theatre, with the myriad of characters available to use, I can explore something in far greater depth. There’s also more collaboration in theatre to make a show happen, and I think all the outside eyes keep the project rounded and interesting in a way that a singular voice never could.

CTW: If in some bizarre twist you could only write either for the theatre or stand up comedy, which would you choose, and why?

Archie: People always ask this – it’s like asking would I rather never be able to stand up or never be able to sit down. I do both, and if I couldn’t do one, I wouldn’t do either. I’d probably go into zoology or something.

CTW: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you since you started performing?

Archie: I used to do a routine about getting stuck in a high chair just because I thought that I could fit into it. A guy from the audience decided to see if he could do it while I was on stage. He got into it, then got stuck, thus proving the routine that I was doing.

CTW: If you could change any element of the stand up scene, what would it be?

Archie: More transparency and less of an obsession with youth. We’ve got into this thing where people want to know what young people think more than old people, which doesn’t make sense to me. I should be varied in order to get a good reflection of society, no?

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

Archie: Ultra-high speed monorails that got you to any destination around the world within an hour or so. Or jet packs. Or instant muscle supplements. I could have said end world hunger but no, fucking monorail is what I want.

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

Archie: Knowing me, and knowing how I love to annoy people – I would probably ask myself “Why are you like this”? And I would answer “I don’t know. But at least I’m not boring”.

Alex Finch. Photograph (c) Tom Leishman.
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Related Links:
Archie Maddocks performs ‘Big Dick Energy’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Just The Tonic (The Mash House) from Thursday 1 st  August – Sunday 25th  August at 4.50pm, for further information and tickets, please click here.
Archie’s Official Site.
You can watch a clip from Archie’s show on NextUp here.

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