This week we are heading up to Newcastle for our show of the week that is not only musical but there are pirates involved! Jollyboat are currently on tour across the UK and at their show at The Bridge Hotel they are joined by the short form troupe Spotaneaous Wrecks as well for a special one night extravaganza called Wreck The Boat! I caught up with Tommy and Ed from Jollyboat to find out what they have in store for audiences this Saturday.
Hello Tommy! Tell us about Jollyboat who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
Hello, I’m Tommy, this is my brother Ed. Together as Jollyboat we write and perform upbeat comedy songs about intensely nerdy topics and pirates.
Tell us a little bit about the show that is happening in Newcastle?
It’s part of our first national tour, and also the first time we’ve performed in the North-East! We met improv group the Spontaneous Wrecks at Edinburgh Fringe about 3 years ago, and we’ve become firm friends since. We’re extremely excited to be doing a show together.
What sort of style of show can people expect?
Above all, fun! We try to make all our shows feel like a party, like a room of friends you haven’t met yet. Ed brings ridiculous amounts of enthusiasm and friendliness to the stage, while Tommy writes intricate lyrics and fast-paced clever jokes. Above all, you won’t have seen anything like us before, we’re a pretty unique act.
You’re currently on tour – what have been some of the highlights so far?
In Edinburgh we turned up at a pirate colouring day at Waterstones with 20 (adult) fans in full pirate costume. The staff loved it, and we all got sweeties and stickers. In Birmingham we got to take part in an on-stage version of 80s kids’ show Knightmare. In Liverpool we organised a full-day Jollyboat Fan Convention (JollyCon) with 2 stages of weird fringe-y shows, a room of boardgames, and a finale show headlined by a Jollyboat tribute act (MerryFerry)
How did the concept of your show come about?
It very much evolved. We’ve always loved comedy songs (and in fact our dad wrote one about us when we were kids), and the pirate thing was inspired by The Secret of Monkey Island, a comedy pirate-themed video game from 1990. We’ve been performing as Jollyboat since 2010, but “found our voice” 3 years ago when we started writing very niche songs about geeky things we love. That helped us find our fanbase, who are now very involved in what we do.
Do you have to do any rituals or routines you do before a show?
Ooh, good question! We write the setlist on our hands in a shared code. Other than that, get into a good mood, and check everything’s prepped. Oh! And sacrifice a chicken to the gods of chaos, but I guess everyone does that.
What’s the highlights of some of your previous shows that you have performed?
2 years ago in Bristol, we spawned a catchphrase “all hail the mighty torso” in an improv show we do, and now when we return to Bristol, people STILL shout that at us. That’s fun.
Some acts have already tried it and done shows in the environment but Do You think virtual reality has a space to be used in comedy and what other modern technologies do you think could alter the way we interact and watch live show comedy?
Because we perform at tech events, it’s been suggested a lot! We like to experiment — we were the first musical comedy act to add a projector for visuals, using self-coded software so we’re not limited to what Powerpoint can do (or the platforms it runs on!). That’s becoming an increasingly big part of the show. When Augmented Reality catches on, that’ll be awesome for high-end shows with the budget to implement it, but it can also be useful to be robust and have fall-backs for if/when things don’t work.
What have been some of the most unique and different comedy sets you have seen this year and why?
Another great question! We’ve actually been collecting them for JollyCon!
– Pico the Puppet is a foul-mouthed sponge who hosts a cabaret of other puppets and occasional human performers.
– Dr Magnethands is a tabletop roleplaying game about superheroes designed by Grant Howitt. He’s adapted Dr Magnethands to work on stage as a panel show, and we love that it’s come from non-performance roots. It particularly speaks to us, because our improv show Adventuring Party also started life as a tabletop game and evolved from there.
– Vendetta Vain’s “Dirty Laundry” burlesque act. It gets so horrifically graphic by the end, it’s fun watching the audience’s faces.
– Finally, it’s a bit of a cop-out, but our tribute act MerryFerry. We had no idea what to expect when we saw (and supported) them at the Fringe, but they play all our songs while also deconstructing them and taking the piss out of us. We absolutely love it, and it was understandably a big hit with our fans too.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
The best place is our Facebook Group, the Jollyboat Crew. It’s taken on a life of its own and is the funniest and most supportive group of pun-sharing nerds you’ll ever see.
What are some of the shows that you guys have coming up for the rest of the year?
After JollyCon and the rest of the tour, our big thing will be Edinburgh Fringe. We’re taking 2 shows up, and it’s a lot of work, but insanely rewarding.
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
It’s f***ing brilliant 🙂
If you could buy any type of food (right now) what would you buy?
Unusual seafood. Maybe octopus. You’ve made me hungry now.
What is one of the things you would put on your “bucket” list?
American musical comedian Jonathan Coulton (best known for the Portal credits songs) organises a 2-week cruise with a tonne of our heroes. We wanna do that.
Who do you admire the most and why?
Each other – it’s not easy running a business and sharing a spotlight with your brother! 😀
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Tommy: Android Monkey Wizard
Ed: Adventuring Viking Bard
When I dance, I look like…?
AMAZING. Possibly not as amazing as I look in my head.
What is your favorite T.V. channel?
When were these questions written, the 90s? Rick and Morty is my (I think I can speak for us both and say our!) favourite show.
If you could get a yacht what would you call it?
Well… the Jollyboat ofc. From then on our tours would be exclusively at seaside towns.
What TV sitcom family would you be a member of?
Too Many Cooks
Pirate party bags, sweets and charm bracelets for attendees at JollyCon.
If you could win any award what would it be, why?
Best answer to this question.