Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell

Funny man, Craig Campbell has appeared on Michael Mcintyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Russell Howard’s Good News and Dave’s One Night Stand. He has also recently toured with Frankie Boyle and is quickly becoming a household name.

We caught up with the characteristic gentleman to discuss life in the comedy world and ‘Craig Campbell Live’ show that has exclusively been released on iTunes.

Where did your love for comedy stem from and was it a career you always dreamed of having as a child?

Not as a child, but as a teenager. As soon as I knew I could do it as a career, I was all over it!

What kind of comedian are you?

Storytelling mostly but just trying to be funny all the time is probably the second job at hand, that’s the biggest challenge.

How do you differ from other comedians who are already out there?

I don’t, just my DNA – my DNA structure. It’s the only difference pretty much, for a comedian. I’m often only taking place of myself in space. I tend not to overlap in anyway. I have no 3 dimensional or 4th dimensional properties. I just mentioned this because Star Wars is in the news again and before you know it, people will start to think supernatural things are possible. Maybe! Who knows?

Were you the class clown at school?

Absolutely! (laughs) For sure! I had a lot of friends based on being the funny guy.

What was the first stand up gig that you did and how did it go?

It was a competition between the university and the club I was going to, we were having a comedy-off and it went pretty damn good. I did some jokes about going across the American border and having to eat all the fruit and of course getting diarrhoea so that was fun and then I did some jokes about an incident where some horrible Canadian police got let off charges after shooting someone in the back of the head claiming that they were defending themselves – that it was self-defence. And I did a moonwalk across the stage saying, “He was coming right at me!” (laughs) That got a big laugh. I was always socially relevant, which I claim to be to this day. That was an amazing gig! Not long after that I started working, I was offered working shows pretty quick and then it was just expanding to doing more time; that was really the big difference.  And then travelling, of course, that enabled for me to see most of the United States and all of the UK and many, many parts of the world. I’m a lucky person!

Where did you get your first big break?

I got to open up for Jim Carrey on New Year’s Eve - that was a pretty massive break. I’d done a couple of little TV shows that they’d come to film in Canada from the States, so those were kind of nice breaks at the time, little pre-Michael McIntyre show that they use to do on AE News, that was pretty awesome. It’s one of those weird things with breaks is that when you first start out with comedy, you think there’s going to be a big break and then often you find there’s all sorts of little breaks all the time. (laughs) And trying to focus on one of them being a big break because they all kind of just lead to each other and the first time you get paid to do a show outside of your own country – that’s pretty neat! For the first time, you don’t have to pay for a plane ticket for flying international, that’s a pretty massive break in itself. When you come home from what you think is a holiday and you have money in your pocket for being paid to make people laugh, that’s a pretty massive break as it goes too. It’s pretty exciting! “You want to go to Spain?” “Okay.” “You want to be paid?” “Yeah! Sure, okay.” (laughs) “You want to stay in a nice villa?” “Yeah! That would be really fun!” (laughs) And then it’s all of a sudden it’s happening because you tell jokes. That’s a pretty wicked thing.

What can we expect from one of your live shows?

Lots of pain, suffering, horror; you know, all the things you would never want to happen on a night out. All that kind of stuff! I might inflame a medical condition; a coughing fit, perhaps the inability to stop sneezing. There’s all kind of things to happen to people who come to my shows, I can’t promise all of them will happen to you but most of them might.

What is the key to success?

Keep going! Don’t die, for sure! In all the careers I have known that have ended abruptly, it usually comes down to death.

How did you find working with comedians such as Russell Howard and Michael McIntyre?

It was awesome! They are really, really funny people and usually their audience are in a good mood too because they’re about to see Russell or young, Mr McIntyre so that’s a big thing. The last tour that I did with Frankie Boyle were similar, where people are already having a good time, they’re in a sold out room and they’re about to see their hero so to go up and even be part of that for an evening is pretty awesome.

How do you come up with your jokes and your material for your live stand-up gigs?

I just wander around and hope that really bad stuff happens to me and then I try and remember it. It’s pretty much you hope things that are survivable but not enjoyable will happen to you on a regular basis and then you can tell people about it and hopefully that will evoke enough sympathy from people that they’ll laugh at you or with you. Sometimes you want to get sick and go to the hospital to tell a whole bunch of hospital jokes but you don’t want to die – you go to the hospital and then you get better.

Has a joke ever been received badly by the audience?

Oh yeah, of course! All the time! You don’t have to tell them that it was a joke, right? You just go on to the next thing, that’s a pretty easy thing to do. Unless you say, “Well, that joke didn’t work very well, did it?” And most of the time, people just think it was a sentence.

How come you have decided to release the ‘Craig Campbell Live’ show only on the iTunes store?

Because it’s the future to not to bother needing a bow on a bag and having a box and having the album cover and all that kind of silliness that is really unnecessary these days. All the kids just go home and click a button, “Do you want to buy that?” “Okay.” “Are your credit card details correct?” “Yeah, sure.” “Okay, sent. Done!” “Are you sure you want to buy it?” “Yeah! Okay, download it.” “You are downloading it now… Finished!” Then you just put it in your little 2p sized iPod device and before you know it’s playing in your head and you don’t have to worry about where to put something down or where to throw out all the plastic bits and all the nonsense that comes with it. The future! It’s the future! Maybe someone in space will download it and I’ll be the first ever comedian to be played in space. That’d be great!

What can we expect from the ‘Craig Campbell Live’ show?

I hope a laugh, first and foremost. They’ll have a giggle and after that, maybe pass it on to friends. The best thing besides from comedy itself, is sharing comedy. I often get emails or phone calls from people that have thanked me once again for introducing them to a comedian or taking them to a show, getting them to a festival and having them realise a world where comedy is fun, it’s awesome. It a step into my world and it makes me feel good that I can introduce people to something. I saw a couple of days ago on Facebook someone said, “Oh, I laughed so hard today and it reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve done that” and it seems a shame to me that anybody who would have a long period in their life where they don’t laugh because it feels great. Everybody remembers those points where they couldn’t stop laughing and I forget that that’s a lucky thing in my life because I’m constantly around comedy and people being funny so it’s a real shame that there’s anyone out there that don’t have exposure to that.

What’s the best part about being a comedian?

Being your own boss! Being in charge of you – ordering yourself around, telling yourself what to do. Can I have another piece of cake? Yeah! Okay, go for it! Deciding when you want to be doing things, whether it’s sleeping for a day, performing, what shows you want to do, when you want to do a tour, when you don’t want to do a tour, when you want to go on holiday, deciding all of your own calendar and things happen in the course of your own decision making process. That’s the best thing! Not being told what to do, ever! It’s a pretty amazing part of comedy.

What is on the agenda for you now?

To do as many things with comedy which are also fun on the side so I basically put together tours and snowboarding in the winter. From January 1st until this year 11th April, I basically don’t do a show unless it involves snowboarding. Next year I have a month in Canada, 3 weeks in Norway, a couple of weeks in Switzerland, looking at some shows in New Zealand as well and all of them involve the mountains and all of them involve doing shows with friends and all of them involve snowboarding. It’s a pretty wicked thing!

‘Craig Campbell Live’ is available from the iTunes store now.

By Claire Lancaster