Tom Houghton’s new stand up show ‘Class Half Empty’ will be at the Gilded Balloon Wee Room for the month of August so we caught up with him to talk some more about his debut.
Please tell us about your brand of comedy.
My brand of comedy is up beat, physical, observational and normally ends up going slightly dark by the end. I like to wrap routines up in loads of charm then dip a toe over the too far line. Making routines person is important, I want to do routines now one else would be able to do. Hopefully, first and for most, its funny.
What can audiences expect from your new show?
Hopefully an angle of life that they haven’t heard before. I had an interesting up bringing. Military body guards, kidnap training and I currently live in The Tower of London. It’s all wrapped up in charm and positivity. More than anything Id like to really get who i am across and be funny.
Which comedians have been your biggest influence since you decided this was your path?
There are lots of big names that have influenced me over the years. From the early days of watching “Whose line is it anyway” that lead to my time in “The Noise Next Door”, to my current favourites Bill Burr and Louis CK.
What random things make you laugh in everyday life?
I like people roasting each other. That’s when i know I’ve made a friend, or I fancy a girl. When they are ripping it out of me. I met my friends work colleagues the other day and I was tearing him apart. This guy came up to me and said “you shouldn’t take the mickey out of him like that, he’s your friend’. I said “oh no, that’s exactly why I should”.
Please tell us about your best and worst moment on stage so far
I can tell you the most emotional moment on stage so far as I think is has elements of both. That was undoubtedly the final scene I did with “The Noise Next Door” as part of the group. I played a Leprechaun living in Ireland who had always dreamt of going off to play hopscotch. The whole thing became an allegory of everything I had been going through with the group. It was all done with the best way, everyone ribbing at pout then getting emotional at others. It ended with the hint of a reunion at some point in the future. There were tears. Ill never forget it.
Do you still get nervous when you do a gig?
Absolutely. Going from being in a group to being a solo artist has been a very humbling experience. I have a lot of growing still to do and with every step comes nerves. Nerves ae a good thing though. Harness them right and they can give you that extra bit of performance power.
Why is Edinburgh Fringe Festival such a great platform for comedians?
It’s a month where the entire industry gets condensed into one city. Not only is your show massively important, I have always said the biggest show you ever play is the social side. Networking is paramount is you want to build a career.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
All of my friends. Gareth Waugh is doing his debut and he’s been making me howl in Whatsapp groups for ages. Tom Lucy had a debut too. Lauren Patterson, my little pack lunch buddy, is going to take the place by storm as well, I’m sure of it.
What is your advice to aspiring comedians?
Gig as much as possible. Write what you want. Failure is inevitable and much more important for learning than success. Be kind to other acts. Buy a travel pillow.
What is the oddest heckle you've ever received?
I was doing a routine about not answering the phone to my Mum, then having to listen the mountain of answer phone messages she had left me. Halfway through a middle aged woman shouted “phone your mum Tom, she won’t be around forever”. I think the genuine care with which she delivered it made it impossible for me do anything but agree. The audience and I ended up having a lovely talk about how we all from time to time forget to pay our parents their deserved attention. After the gig there we’re a lot of people making calls outside the building.
What is next for you?
After Edinburgh? I’m going off to host the gig I run in Spain called “Costa del Lol”. Yes, I now, fantastic name eh? Then… well… rehab at my parents house for a bit. That reminds me, I must phone my mother.
Tom Houghton’s debut stand up show ‘Class Half Empty’ will be at the Gilded Balloon Wee Room for the month of August for tickets go to www.edfringe.com