Martin Walker became Broadway Baby’s Stand-Up Comedy editor in March 2014. By the end of July he had interviewed over four hundred and fifty comedians online, on Skype and on the phone. This August he’s taking a break from quizzing comics, to concentrate on reviewing shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Pete Shaw turns the tables on Martin and asks the questions.
For me stand-up is the purest, most direct form of art there is. Just one person and a microphone. Let’s hear what they have to say.
How did you get into reviewing?
“I came up to Edinburgh for the Fringe and stayed. I was in my early twenties and out of work so I couldn’t afford to go and see very much. Eventually I met the editor of ScotsGay Magazine and asked him if I could review some shows, which enabled me to see them for free.
“Obviously I’m still doing that now, only for Broadway Baby.”
You’re the Stand-Up Comedy Editor. Why stand-up?
“For me stand-up is the purest, most direct form of art there is. Just one person and a microphone. Let’s hear what they have to say.”
Do you have any working comedy experience?
“I directed a sketch show called Straight Shooters at the Canal Café Theatre. It featured comedians Andrew Doyle and Charlie Ross – both of whom I’m still friends with. I also co-wrote and directed a cabaret/theatre piece called This Year’s Thing which marked the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the death of Judy Garland. It sold out its three night run at the Pleasance. I’ve done lots of off-stage jobs in various roles. I’ve also tried a bit of acting but I’m hopeless. I’m comfortable in front of an audience, it’s just I can never remember the lines.”
What advice would you give your seventeen year old self?
“I’d say, ‘it gets better. Much, much better.’”
If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“Oh yes, the Stewart Lee/Michael McIntyre question. Actually I think the Alternative Comedy Experience is the best thing on TV, which should tell you a fair bit about the comedians I like.
“I’d leave ACE as it is, only I’d put it on BBC1 at 9 o’clock on a Friday night.
“I’d then produce a live satirical show, similar to Ten O’clock Live, only with funny people in it.
“I’d have Josie Long, Susan Calman, Paul Sinha and Boothby Graffoe in the studio.
“In the field I’d have Jo Caulfield reporting from the stand-up comedy circuit, Bridget Christie reporting on the media and press, Mark Thomas reporting from the political frontline and Sean Hughes reporting from his front room.
“Barry Cryer would be the Programme Consultant. Chris - no not that one - Evans from Go Faster Stripe would direct it.
“Let’s get this made.”