Rhod Gilbert

Rhod Gilbert

Rhod Gilbert returns this week with the DVD release of Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience series 1&2, the show that sees the funny man take on a whole host of everyday jobs.

I caught up with Rhod to talk about the DVD release, what we can expect for a third series as well as getting back on the road.

- Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience series 1 & 2 is heading to DVD so for anyone who missed it when it was on TV can you tell me a little bit about the show?

I go off and I try people’s job for a couple of days and we see how it goes and that’s it, it’s as simple a format as that (laughs).

It’s sort of born of the idea that whenever I go to the pub or to a dinner party people come up to me and say ‘I could never do your job’ and I always think a. you could and b. I couldn’t do your job.

Then I thought why not try that as a TV programme as it’s just really simple, it’s not world toughest jobs or anything like that, it’s about going out there meeting normal people and having a bit of fun.

We find some characters along the way and hopefully show a snippet of other people’s lives in an entertaining way.

- You are best known for your stand-up so where did the idea for the show come from and what made you really want to step into the world of TV.

I don’t think I really did want to step in the world of TV if I’m being honest someone just said ‘do you want to step into the world of TV?’ and I was like ‘ok I will give that a go’.

I never had any massive burning ambition to be on the box in everyone’s front rooms at peak time on Saturday night never remotely in my life.

Saying that I never had any ambition to be a stand up comedian that was thrust upon me by somebody else - so like most things I stumble into them and TV would be the same. 

- The first two series sees you take on a whole host of jobs such as hairdressing, my favourite was the butler, did you have one that was your favourite or one that you didn’t like?

To be honest, and this will sound like a plug for the third series but it’s not, the ones that I have loved and hated the most are coming up in this next series.

The one that I hated the most was the drag artist as I have never been so out of my comfort zone in my life, both physically and emotionally; physically they waxed the hell out of me and emotionally I never felt to vulnerable on a stage in a pair of knickers, suspenders and singing Big Spender by Shirley Bassey.

The one that I fell head over heels in love with was teaching and I would possibly give all this up and go and be a teacher. 

- You have finished filming the third series so how as it gone?

Well I think although you never know, it’s all in the edit. We get about thirty six hours of footage in three days and then we have to edit it down to twenty eight or twenty nine minutes so that is that is a really really important part.

The guys that we have got doing it down in Wales are great and when I have finished doing my interviews today I am going to be editing the police episode that I have just done and then tomorrow I will be doing a bit more on drag and writing the commentaries over them.

So you don’t really know until you have got the full episode and I think that we have got four really good episodes that we are happy with but you never know until they are out there.  

- How much do you enjoy the stepping behind the element of the series with all the editing that you do for the show?

I am a bit of a control freak I think but I do enjoy as editing is really fun. It is where you build the story because you have got all this footage and you just go ’right how can we tell a story out of this?’

So you can move scenes around and drop things in, you can make anyone appear anything in editing; I can every character appear like Attila the Hun or Mother Theresa.

So it’s fun to build this jigsaw in the edit by moving scenes around, you can do anything that you want and tell a story in a hundred different ways but you have got to find the right way to find that story.

- You are three series in and you have tried a whole host of jobs so is there anything in particular that you would really love to have a go at?

I don’t know really because I didn’t think that I would like teaching to be honest, all of my family are teachers and I am the only one that hasn’t tried it, and I was left wondering ‘why haven’t I done it?’ I just loved it.

So until I get in there and do them I get in there and do them… I don’t have any burning ambition to go and be submariner or anything and often the ones that are funniest and work the best are the one that I wasn’t looking forward to or where I am totally out of my comfort zone.

The drag one, although it was horrific, will be an entertaining episode because I am on the back foot, I have no burning ambition to do any of them but I am open to anything.

- You said that you had not real ambition to move into TV so how have you found the move onto the box as we are seeing you on the box more and more now with various different things?

I think the variety is really nice. At the moment I am really enjoying being on tour and for the last three months I have been working on the Work Experience series which I have enjoyed but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time.

So it’s nice to be able to mix it all up and I have done a variety of stuff on TV from panel shows to more documentary projects such as Work Experience, going to Nepal with Greg in dangerous Roads was a real highlight.

So I really the variety of it all by TV can be very very stressful just because as a stand-up I write, edit, produce, direct I do everything, when I walk on stage every single aspect of it is done by me, but when you work in TV it’s not.

When you are use to having complete control it is really hard to give up control of things to other people so it can be very stressful for a stand-up working in television, you are getting paid just to go on a road trip with your mate.

Having said that things like Dangerous Roads where you just go off with your best mate and have fun in a foreign country and an interesting environment is just awesome. 

- You are also back on tour so how excited are you about getting back on the road and in front of a live audience?

Absolutely loving it!! As I said TV can be very stressful because there are a load of other people involved but stand-up is what I do it’s my bread and butter I get out there and it’s live just me and an audience I get out there it’s done and dusted and it’s gone.

It’s just refreshing to be out there in a live environment I guess, I love touring I absolutely love it. 

- You are well known for you slightly flamboyant tour title and this time around it’s The Man With The Flaming Battenberg Tattoo so what was the thinking behind this one?

Well I have got a flaming Battenberg tattoo on my back and that came about in the second series of Work Experience when I had to be a tattoo artist and they pretty much forced to have a tattoo before I was allowed to tattoo anyone.

They were like ‘you should have a tattoo before you tattoo anyone so you know what it’s like’ and I was like ‘I don’t want a tattoo’ and they were ‘oh go on’ and I was like ‘I don’t want one’ so we argued like that for about three hours and then in the end I went ‘ok I will have one’.

And to prove my point at how pointless tattoos are I had the world’s most pointless tattoo deliberately, in my head I won that argument but everyone else just wandered off thinking ‘he’s a bit weird’. Sp now I have a Battenberg on my back but I do have a show out of it so all is not lost.

- You are touring all over the UK so how do the audiences differ from city to city? Is there an extra buzz when you get on the stage in the Welsh venues?

I don’t know if they do differ, if you blindfolded me and lead me on stage without talking to the audience I wouldn’t have a clue where I was, unless I recognise the venue. So I could be in Scotland or Cornwall I wouldn’t have a clue, it’s only when you talk to the audience and you pick up the accent.

I find that all the shows that I do are a good laugh in every area. In Wales they can sometimes be more pumped up and that is sometimes awesome but I remember being on stage in Swansea once and I was on stage for forty five minutes before I got a single word out that I had intended to say because I was dealing with hecklers for forty five minutes, at one point I thought I was going to have to abandon the show, but it went well in the end.

- Your Live shows and DVDs are hugely popular you are having great success on TV and in radio so what else is on the horizon?

Well a bit more of the same I hope as I am enjoying what I am doing and I see no point in changing that. I would like to keep adding new and varied things I guess.

Lloyd Greg and myself, they were on Ask Rhod Gilbert, we are starting a podcast and I am really looking forward to that because we have control of that so that will be lovely.

Greg Davies and I are hoping to land some kind of adventure comedy along the line of Dangerous Roads a sort of spin off of that. And when I eventually slow down I might return to the idea of writing a sit-com, which I sort of started years ago.

Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience Series 1 and 2 is available on DVD now.

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

Click to buy: Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience Series 1 & 2 DVD

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