Friday, October 19

Interview: Phil Jerrod

- December 18, 2017


Hello Phil. You’ve got a really good delivery, quite similar to Nick Helm in that you compel people to look at you.
Thank you.

Is that something that you’ve worked on?
Thank you very much. I’ve gone through stages. So when I first started I had a couple of very specific ideas about what to do. One was that the absolute worst thing that could happen was if people thought it was just ‘fine’. I either wanted it to be amazing or properly awful. I wanted that. And also there’s lots and lots of middle class white men, and there’s a part of you that has just got to be bigger and huger and a larger presence than everybody else – otherwise you’re just going to be like everybody else.

How would you describe your comedy to someone who hadn’t seen you?
Christ knows! So I started that way, and I started being sort of huge. And then after a while it becomes a schtick being huge and shouting and all the rest of it, and you want some nuance to come into it. It becomes slower and a little bit more conversational. Because that sort of big rangy sort of character – for a start I used to get criticised for it being a character and that used to annoy me, because it’s not a character it’s an extension of me. But it needs to have more facets to it. I’ve tried to make it a more nuanced sort of thing on stage. So it’s not the same. I used to literally walk into the audience and literally scream into people’s faces. I don’t do that quite as much anymore. Sorry what did you ask me?

So you don’t scream into people’s faces but you’ve kept that compulsion, the audience feels that direction…
I want them to, yeah. Oh that’s right, yeah – I wanted it to be like Freddie Mercury. I wanted it to be a show, a razzmatazz, like a big great thing.
And then I had to do things like tour support and MCing and various other things where actually it’s not appropriate in some way.

I wanted it to be like Freddie Mercury. I wanted it to be a show

Who were you supporting?
Well I’ve supported a few, but for a year it was Rom (Romesh Ranganathan).
Yeah, he got an award for the hardest working comedian that year, and I’d been on all the same gigs as him. That’s fair (giggles).

Have you got any beard grooming tips?
No! I hate beards now. I hate them, I hate people who have them. The whole beard phenomena is utterly unacceptable. I absolutely despise it.

Does that mean you’re the only one allowed to have a beard?
It’s not that I’m the only one allowed to have a beard, but I grew a beard in 2001. And it was exceedingly unpopular for a long time, and I put up with pedophile jokes and sex offence stuff and ‘tramp’ jokes – I put up with all of that stuff and I lived through those dark days of having a beard, right? And then, five years ago it becomes cool and sexy and everybody has a beard.

So you’re saying that beards are like band t-shirts?
Yeah – you’ve got to have been there! You’ve got to have been there through the dark days.
Say Fleetwood Mac, right? Fleetwood Mac are now really cool. Everyone’s like; “Fleetwood Mac’s really cool”. And in the 70s Fleetwood Mac were cool. But there was this period, in the 90s, when Fleetwood Mac were the most uncool thing you could like – it was a joke if you liked Fleetwood Mac. You would get people who would be burning your house down because you were so uncool to like Fleetwood Mac. If you were a Fleetwood Mac fan during those days and you doggedly stuck to Fleetwood Mac you’d feel really slighted now when someone went; “Have you ever heard of Fleetwood Mac?” Yes I have! And it’s a bit like that with a beard.

So… any grooming tips?
I don’t groom it, I dye it – because it was going white. You can’t have a bright white beard at 37. That is unacceptable. My beard-growing tips for all men is – ‘shave off your beads, you fair-weather beard bastards’.

Phil Jerrod headlines The Night Before NYE, Latest Music Bar, Saturday 30 Dec 2017, £5. Phil Jerrod & Phil Lucas’ podcast Ultimate Scrutiny can by found online

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