As the proud owner of the title of Comedian’s Comedian 2014, an award voted for by comedians themselves, Gavin Webster has had a busy year. And rightly so; this comic is a true grafter with a genuine warmth to his performances. Gavin is currently working on series three of the popular Radio 4 sketch show, The Show What You Wrote, where material is written by the public and performed by comedians. He is also currently gigging across the country with his latest material.
To find out more about Gavin’s comedy, I asked him these seven questions…
1) What is your favourite kind of audience?
The best audiences are the ones that go with all the oohs and aahs along the way, the ones who like all the asides, all the attitude and all the exaggerated mimes and caricatured voices. They realise stand up for the pantomime that it is. The pay off isn’t too important to them. it’s the whole thing, the whole aesthetic, the being in the moment. Does that all sound a bit ponsey? It’s not meant to!
2) Do you consider yourself to be a writer or a performer first?
That’s a difficult one. I’d say writer because if I didn’t think of it and then write it down, how could I possibly talk about it with passion and enthusiasm?!! There are people who can do that on the comedy circuit but they’re not comedians in my view, they’re actors. They’re actors getting into the role of being comedians. It’s like ‘and here’s another thing that pisses off my team of writers!’.
3) Which nation has the best food?
It’s got to be Lebanon.
4) What kind of people do you avoid?
I’m getting worse mixing with people as I get older, it’s like I’ve lost my patience and tolerance glands. There’s a lot of silly billies at the Edinburgh fringe who seem to just surface once a year and talk confidently about what comedy is all about and then you never see them again. They’re probably boring some poor bastard to death as we speak. I don’t like it when people find out what I do and start ‘interviewing’ me. It’s like I’m stuck in some sort of local radio groundhog vortex at times. I always tell barbers that I’ve got a day off today from work.
5) Is there anything that makes you feel hopeless?
Well I suppose there’s the obvious, famine and flood and the fact that people earn shitloads of money in an afternoon in the city yet apparently we, the public, you know the people that get up 5 days a week and work our tits off, should feel responsible when we watch the comic relief programmes like it was mine and your fault that we live in a greedy heartless world. Having said that after the school run I tend to come home, sit down, have a glass of pop and watch Heir Hunters. That doesn’t make me feel hopeless, it makes me feel blessed.
6) What is your best trait?
It’s not modesty and it’s certainly not tidiness or cleanliness. It’s definitely not a penchant for hard work or patience. I’m not very empathetic and I can’t chill out like a Buddhist. I suppose I can keep things light and make jokes and stuff when things are pretty grim. At my mam’s funeral I think I was quite a good host afterwards in the pub. I told a great anecdote (it wasn’t even mine, it was about someone else) and it was very funny but no one laughed. Maybe it was a funny comics story, every comedian including some very well known ones really liked the story, no one in the pub laughed. They weren’t even sure if it was supposed to be funny. They were all my sister’s mates and they must have thought ‘my god and he’s supposed to be a stand up comedian’. Anyway the short answer is I don’t think I have any good traits!
7) What boosts your confidence as a performer?
When I do a theatre show in Newcastle (it’s the only place where I’ve got a proper following) and new people come and think it’s a terrific show and they then instantly become fans and at the same time other people come and don’t like it at all and never want to see my act again. For good measure they tend to reserve some personal abuse on social media. It means that I’m not all things to all men (and women) and that slowly but surely (very slowly, I’ll admit) I’m finding my crowd. Now when I perform at one of my shows on Tyneside, 300 people instantly get into it and another 100 tend to look at them curiously like they’ve stepped into an underground political movement.