So since it is our second birthday, we decided to spin the coin for a change. We got in contact with one of our regular readers, Dan from Southampton, to come up with some questions to ask the Editor of our comedy Blog, Holly. Here is what he came up with and here are the answers that Holly gave!
Hello Holly! So, What motivated you to write a blog?
I have been writing for years and years – i cant remember a time when i wasn’t writing! I originally wanted to be a journalist and through college and university I was feaures editor and would always come up with random topics to cover, albums to review or gigs to review. I always wanted to work in music or travel as a journalist and thats how i originally became inspired.
Throughout the years i stopped writing, only ever writing poetry about things that brought feeling.Even though i enjoyed writing poetry, I still felt i was getting ‘itchy’ fingers and needed to write. If i am honest praise really needs to go to a friend of mine called Charlie. He was launching an entertainment blog to go alongside his podcast Playblast Podcast and i volunteered to write. The force of having to write for someone else really kicked back the writing fever in me and the rest is history.
My love for comedy really is thanks to Kenny, Sarah and Dan at ComComedy. When I did a bit of freelance work for them they really opened my eyes to the whole world of stand up and made me fall in love with it even more!
“…The thing I really like about Acaster is he does something that a lot of comedians don’t really do – talk about the random…”- Holly, Editor
Are there any other blogs that inspire you?
I enjoy reading Charlies Mums Blog – A long time ago I used to write for an Entertainment Comedy called Playblast Podcast which eventually became dormant and my friend who was the editor, mum, took it over and started writing regularly. It is a really nice blog to read and has some great reviews of films, books and television shows and really reccomend people give it a read as it’s really in depth and gives honest reviews.
You often run a series of posts on a certain topics. Where do you get the ideas for these?
It really can depend. Some of the feature ideas have come from really random things that have inspired me. They can be really dull reasons for example we did a whole month about Podcast related articles and this was only because I love listening to comedy podcasts and just met Stuart at Improv Podcast London which i interviewed then thought hang on lets make it a whole month theme. I then interviewed Steve From Hoopla and wrote a lot of articles about comedy podcasts that are out there.
Other times, there are really silly reasons. So for example, I am a fan of the band Blink-182 and when they released the music video for “She’s Outta Her Mind” and it was a parody of their music video Whats My Age Again I was starting to question how many parodies / versions of one music video can one band have as they had already done a parody of this in another music video called Man Overboard. I then started reading into all the films that were being changed into Television remakes and that started the creative ideas flowing.
Do you think blogs still have a future in the “modern” internet of social networks?
I think blogs are more relevant now then ever before! In this modern day society, people find a lot of their news and information online, predominantly on Social Media. Its fascinating how many people I know between the ages of 20-35 that rely on Facebook and Twitter for news and do not even look at a news website. Anything that you write on blogs can have an audience reach as long as you optimise it correctly and know what target audience you are aiming for.
When i first started this blog, I knew I wanted to write about comedy and music but wasn’t sure how to get an interest in it. Its’s fascinating when you write certain article and the viewership dramatically goes upwards. It feels awarding especially when a mainstream comedian retweets your work and this has happened a quite a few time and it always makes me smile. The more I have gone on writing the more I have branched out to areas such as travel and improv specific articles and its increased readership in a way I never expected which makes them even more fun to write!
“…I owe so much to the Noise Next Door and for that I will forever be grateful…” -Holly, Editor
Do you have all the music from your Forgotten Pop series secretly stashed away in a guilty pleasures library?
Yes I do! Not in a secret little guilty pleasure library no but on Spotify for everyone to listen to and reminisce! If you head over to our Facebook page you can listen to all things Forgetten in a nice little playlist! Enjoy!
Where did you get your love of improv from?
I remember from an early age that I would watch Whose Line Is It Anyway when i would get ready for school. I would have to say that my real love of improv came when I used to do Offline Editing for ComComedy. I would cut interviews with comedians in between footage of their live shows and one of the groups I ended up doing was The Noise Next Door. I just sat there and watched the whole of their 2013 live show and just laughed out loud so much at just how silly it actually was!
I didn’t actually think it was a thing you could train in and it was only when I moved up to Newcastle at the end of 2015 that I realised that you could and so decided to go for it – Initially for a feature for this blog and then I ended up falling in love with it. Nowadays improv is basically like my form of alcohol / drug addiction. I can’t get enough!
Who do you admire in the comedy world?
There are so many people from the comedy world that I look up to for inspiration and absolutely adore. Its really hard to just choose one so here are just 6 of the comedians I admire:
1) Lee Evans
I find Lee such an inspiration as he does something I love in comedy – use physical humour in his sets. I grew up watching Lee from a young age and even though a lot of stuff I used to watch was his TV shows, I always loved his physicality in the way he performed. I love the way he creates these wacky characters and voices and is someone i try and channel when I do shows.
2) Steve Carrell
Steve Carrell is my hero. I really love watching Steve Carrell in films and shows because he is just so funny. He may play a lot of the similar characters, but you can’t help but really like him and his witty / facial expressions and sometimes wackiness. I like the USA office because he is able to play the crazy to an extent that he can’t in other films. Even when he is playing a more mature character like Dan In Real Life, he really brings out the character and this is why I admire him. Also, I can sit there and watch interview after interview with him on TV and not get bored as I find him such a funny and fascinating person to watch.
3) James Acaster
I would say that in recent years James has jumped up this list in a very dramatic and fast way. When i first saw his shows through ComComedy promos I wasn’t sure about him, but from listening to the Josh Widdecombe Podcast and seeing him live a many number of times my whole perceptions change. The thing I love about James is his comedic timing. He is very good at playing an audience with just his eyes look round in these slow and crazy ways which makes the comedy build even more. The other thing I really like about Acaster is something that a lot of comedians don’t really do – talk about the random.
When it comes to James you can guarantee that that random situations will be really random and thats why i really like him. I try and channel that enthusiasm and angle when I can in Improv. I like trying to come up with things that people don’t expect and hearing the delayed reaction of a laugh when they see what you did and then the laugh heightens you to go further. I feel Acaster has a lot to thank for it that style I try and Channel.
4) Amy Schumer
Whilst many people may not be that keen on Amy Schumer I really like her stand up and there are so many reasons why. The one thing that I do really like is the way that she flips the role of a female in comedy. The way that the woman comes across as empowered and also in some ways just like a man and I feel this is a great fact to take away. One thing I feel I take away from Amy is to play the role of the female in a different way. In many scenes you get type cast as the wife, the girlfriend etc but i really like it when i can mix a scene up.
I did a scene once with a guy that I met at a Saturday drop in and haven’t seen since because I haven’t had a chance to go back to the weekend drop in. We had to do the same scene three different times with three different emotions attached. We were given the emotion of romance and I did an “Amy” and spun it on its head. I took the lead and became the dominant lead in the scene. This created humour to the audience and we got a lot of laughs. When we came out of the scene the guy told me he felt a little flustered which in some ways I took as a compliment because he didn’t expect a female to be that way in a scene.
5) Steve Martin
The one thing I love about Steve Martin is his character work. I have taken a lot of influence from him over the years and recently have spent a lot of time watching him in past SNL snippets. Yet again, he is fantastic comedian and really knows how to work an audience and I find him inspiring because he can change personalities really well in a scene and he knows how to interact with an audience in his sets as well which is really vital in improv.
6) The Noise Next Door (The Original Line up)
No matter where my improv takes me, The Noise Next Door will always be one of my favourite improv groups for so many reasons. They introduced me into the world of improv yet again and I still remember how much my ribs hurt the first time i saw them live. I have seen them quite a lot live and when I have seen them I have learnt so much about what to do as an improviser. I learnt all about character, dealing with a really random suggestion and how to get through the laughter and carry on. Tom opened my eyes to the world of musical improv – i never knew this existed and seeing him perform music as part of the show again opened my eyes to a new world and has made me eager to bring my guitar / keyboard on stage in the future. I owe so much to the Noise Next Door and for that I will forever be grateful.
“Its fascinating how many people I know between the ages of 20-35 that rely on Facebook and Twitter for news…” – Holly, Editor
You’ve recently done a feature on your school diaries. Did that all really happen?
Yes it all happened! Everything was 100% true.
Would you recommend young people to keep a diary?
I think its a good way of letting emotions out. I wrote nearly every day when I was a kid and its weird but kinda fun to look back. Not at all the “teenage emotions” but more at the stupid things they made you do in school like mock weddings or painting a children’s toy car.
Do you have a favourite post from the blog?
Off the top of my head I like the improv diaries as they are fun to write, the first James Acaster article we wrote as he retweeted it got retweeted a lot and features about certain topics.